Through centralized log management, organizations can consolidate all log data into one central, data highway and directs logs wherever they need to go
The digital transformation wasn’t gradual. It came crashing into industries worldwide in response to safety restrictions around the pandemic.
Nearly a third of Americans are working remotely in light of the pandemic—drastically increasing the external users—with no signs that employees will be returning to the office full-time post-COVID-19. A recent PwC survey found that 83% of employees want to work remotely at least once a week and that 55% of employers anticipate their employees will do so even after the pandemic.
Companies have implemented new and creative solutions to deal with the spike in remote access: VPNs and SSL connections through web applications, to name a few. However, many of these solutions were only a bandage that won’t suffice for long term remote access.
There is one thing amid all these changes that can become an increasingly large problem if left unaddressed: logs. Logs are collections of data that continue to be collected whether users are in the office or in their living room. Without centralized log management, this data can put organizations at a critical security risk. As the digital transformation takes industries by storm, it’s important for organizations to remember the importance of managing logs.
Today’s Log Landscape
When a company’s remote workforce jumps from 50 to 5,000 in a matter of weeks, things change. Compared to in the office, logs at these companies have jumped by 10,000%. Remote work generates logs on security access points, remote access, server logs, terminal services and application logging—all of which are fed into an organization’s security information and event management solution (SIEM).
This jump is creating and revealing more blind spots to companies, which proves how difficult it is for administrators to increase the rates for their security monitoring tools to reach that level without drastically upping their company’s budget for its SIEM. Even Microsoft and network providers are running into issues with so many changes happening at the same time. Additionally, companies have to worry about privacy laws, making sure all personal data is encrypted and secured.
Centralized Log Management
Organizations should implement centralized log management (CLM) to consolidate all log data into one central, data highway that collects all logs and directs them wherever they need to go. CLM solutions reduce SIEM costs once SIEMs are no longer effective log management tools.
Dropping all logs into a SIEM spikes costs, so oftentimes only a portion is collected, which creates fragmented or incomplete pictures and impacts security monitoring and incident response. CLMs lift the burden of having to hire staff, provide training and support for SIEMs. CLMs also reduce the costs organizations would incur with their SIEM providers, as well as the risk of endangering the SIEM infrastructure by storing unmanaged logs.
Fragmented data collection can become a unified data collection with a data highway. Organizations can now filter unruly data and deliver only what you need. This helps overcome the age-old strategy of letting separate teams have their own sources of data, which could instead be directed to the appropriate team via your data highway. The data highway lets you collect once and use it many times, where it’s needed.
Parsing: Cleaning up the Data
Once logged, data needs to be parsed. To prime your data to be parsed for specific items, unnecessary and unwanted information must be filtered out. This diminishes the storage space logs take up and increases the usability of the data.
One example of superfluous information is the timed mark that many applications add into the log of their system to show they are online. Unless a security auditor will need to see this, there is no reason why an organization should be paying to store it in their SIEM. Administrators are even able to filter out all extraneous text and add parsing for specific events. This quickly and easily reduces costs that are likely spiraling out of control during this time.
Parsing, filtering, masking and other transformation techniques in your data highway allow security teams to overcome privacy issues and filter out personal information that shouldn’t be distributed. Resolving this problem could become crucial as more and more personal data is being collected than ever before, and as privacy laws are becoming stricter.
The Data Highway
Build your dream team to utilize your new data highway to its greatest potential. Not everyone reviewing logs will be SIEM experts or as skilled as a Linux or UNIX administrator (or even one at all). Build your team to be able to easily operate your new data highway, because you don’t want it to be gathering dust on the shelf.
With your new data highway, you’ll be able to optimize your SIEM, increase your likelihood of meeting compliance requirements and be able to log from more places with easy searchability. With that encrypted data store, your compliance officer may even be able to sleep at night. Beyond the SIEM, you’ll be able to send your data anywhere: Kafka, MongoDB, any database, big data systems and more. Don’t just optimize your SIEM; build your data highway and collect those logs once, distribute them where they need to go and cut costs with centralized log management.
So, in this crush of new technologies spiraling into the new digital transformation age, don’t forget the importance of managing your logs. IT and security admins shouldn’t be in the position of going to company management to inform them of uncontrolled SIEM costs. They can be managed and reduced without losing their effectiveness by simply feeding to the SIEM only the data that needs to be there.