At first thought it might seem as though analyzing logs is something that only affects the IT portion of your business. However, nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, log analysis affects every aspect of your business. This includes finance, legal, human resources, sales and marketing, security and operations. In fact, with log analysis, you’ll discover issues either before or as they happen and avoid both lost time and unnecessary delays.
There are many benefits to properly analyzing your logs. Your organization can increase revenue, reduce expenses, better manage employees, respond to incidents and even keep yourself out of legal hot water. Read on to learn about the five major business areas impacted by log analysis and why every business needs to analyze its log—and the sooner the better.
Probably the most obvious use of log analysis is in supporting business operations. These functions include the following:
- Detecting critical system errors
- Identifying key trends
- Improving operational efficiency
- Supporting service level agreements (SLA)
- System troubleshooting
Early indication of problems can pinpoint money-wasting processes. It also can mitigate risk in support of business continuity. This will help avoid service disruptions that can lead to unhappy customers and lost sales.
Compliance and Legal
Every organization has internal policies: security policies, employee policies, legal policies, etc. In fact, most organizations have regulations (such as HIPAA and Sarbanes-Oxley) they must adhere to. Often these regulations are imposed by the government. The only feasible way to ensure policies are followed and regulations are met is through log analysis.
Log analysis simplifies compliance. It also supports audit requirements, litigation needs, subpoena requests and forensic investigations. In short, log analysis is the only way to ensure an organization stays out of legal trouble.
Proper Resource Sizing
One of the worst things any company can do is have the wrong amount of resources to support its business operations. From network bandwidth to storage capacity to CPU cycles, businesses have to get these quantities just right. Not enough resources in any area can lead to poor performance, frustrated customers and, eventually, lost sales.
Of course, the easy thing to do is just overspec these resources. However, doing that leads to increased expenses, which adversely impact the bottom line. Using logs to determine proper resource sizing is the only way to ensure you have maximized your profits.
The use of logs can also be used to verify third-party billing. For instance, your company can use your logs to make sure the amount of bandwidth you were charged for by your service provider is actually the amount you used. This, too, can benefit the bottom line.
Sales and Marketing
It may not seem as though log analysis can be used to directly impact sales and marketing, but it certainly can. For starters, log analysis can be used to quantify the effectiveness of a sales campaign. Information such as referring sites, pages accessed and conversion rates all can be used to tweak different aspects of the sales effort.
Log analysis also can be used to optimize website performance in the support of a sales funnel. Information such as customer navigation, traffic loads and conversion errors can be used to improve the sales process. In fact, analyzing logs can be used as a revenue driver in any organization.
One of the most important areas in any business today is security. Logs can be used to both proactively protect an organization, as well as forensically investigate security breaches.
Proactively, logs can be used to accomplish the following:
- Optimize blocking and filtering of incoming traffic
- Maximize email virus protection
- Monitor failed authentication attempts
- Verify configurations in firewalls
After the fact, logs can be used to do the following:
- Assess security policy compliance
- Initiate incident response
- Investigate security breaches
You cannot understand security risks or respond to security incidents without the ability to analyze your logs.
In short, whether you were aware to it or not, log analysis impacts every department in your organization. It directly and indirectly impacts every company’s bottom line by increasing revenue, decreasing expenses and delighting customers.
You now know that log analysis is not just a “back office” IT function. Every department in your company needs to use the intelligence contained in your logs to do their jobs better. It is why every business needs to analyze their logs, and now is the time to start.
About the Author / Ariel Assaraf
Ariel Assaraf is a co-founder and CPO at Coralogix. Previously Ariel was a GL at Verint and a Product manager at an elite Israeli intelligence unit. He is into Software design, UX, growth hacking and basketball. Ariel holds a BEc in Economics and Math from the Open university of Israel. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter