When we talk about log management and security information and event management (SIEM), we’re talking about cybersecurity. It’s important to note that log management is a subset of SIEM. In any case, both are important to help keep your network and data safe. By having them work together, you can get a clearer picture of your network’s health when you refer to the respective logs.
Now, this article will primarily focus on log management. Since SIEM systems can perform log management functions, you’ll see them discussed here too. But before we begin, I think it’s important to understand what events you need to log in the first place.
What Kind of Events Should You Log?
The purpose of logging is to collect information about your devices, applications, and your system’s performance. However, you may also want to add logging for specific uses, such as tracking a specific metric for improvement.
So what exactly can you log? You can either log all the events in your system, a combination of events, or specific data. It’s important to note that several factors impact the decision on which events you should log. These factors include:
- Size and complexity of a company’s infrastructure
- Resources available for log management
- Compliance and security requirements
SMBs can also have different log management needs and constraints compared to larger businesses. Consider all of these factors the next time you need to decide what to log.
Next, we’ll cover the most important data types you should log.
6 Types of Data You Should Log
Here, we’ll cover the 6 most important types of data you should log and why you should log them. Note that all of these logs can also help your company identify and respond to potential security threats.
1. Perimeter Device Logs
Perimeter device logs are important because they provide information about the activity and performance of perimeter devices, such as firewalls, routers, and intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDS/IPS). These devices are critical in protecting your network and assets from external threats. These logs can alert you about network intrusions, unauthorized access, and malware infections.
2. Windows Event Logs
Windows event logs provide information about the activity and performance of systems running the Windows operating system. These logs can provide information about system errors, security events, and application events. You can then use this information to assess application performance.
3. Endpoint Logs
Endpoint logs give you information about the activity and performance of endpoint devices, such as computers, laptops, and mobile devices. Much like perimeter device logs, these logs can also alert you about malware infections, unauthorized access, and network intrusions.
4. Application Logs
Application logs are important because they provide information about application activity and performance. These logs tell you about application errors, security events, and performance metrics.
5. Proxy Logs
Proxy logs tell you everything you need to know about your proxy servers. You typically use proxy servers as intermediaries between clients and servers. Much like several other types of logs on this list, these logs can also alert you about any security threat.
6. Internet of Things (IoT) Logs
You can use IoT logs to discover everything you need to know regarding your IoT devices. IoT devices are connected devices that can communicate and transmit data over the internet. Specifically, IoT logs can tell you about device errors, security events, and performance metrics.
Now that we’ve covered the most important logs, let’s dive into how they fit in with SIEM.
What Is Log Management?
Log management refers to the process of collecting, storing, and analyzing log data generated by various devices in your company. This log data can provide valuable information on the activity and performance of these devices, systems, and applications. You can also use this information to troubleshoot issues and identify security threats.
Some benefits of log management include reduced indexing, the inclusion of all data sources, highly-performant architecture, and long-term data retention. You can use all these to your advantage to go back and check that things are working as expected. If you discover any anomalies in the data, you’ll need to conduct a closer inspection to confirm if any malicious activity is present. SIEM can help with this, so let’s talk about it next.
What Is SIEM?
SIEM is a security management approach that integrates and analyzies security-related data from various devices, systems, and applications in a company. You can use this data to monitor and analyze security events as well as identify and remedy security issues.
SIEM systems typically include hardware and software components that often use various data sources, such as log files, network traffic data, and system alerts. You can integrate these systems with your other security tools, such as firewalls, IDS/IPS, and vulnerability scanners. By combining the data from all of these sources, you’ll stay ahead of any threat.
In terms of primary features, SIEM systems have data analysis, correlation, and indexing capabilities. They also have selective data sources that allow you to decide exactly which data you want to include in your analysis. SIEM systems can even help you with compliance!
From this information, you can see that SIEM systems are very capable of managing data. The same applies to logs as well, so let’s now go over how SIEM logging works.
How Does SIEM Logging Work?
Because SIEM systems work with data from multiple sources, they have access to a lot of log data. Here’s a closer look at how SIEM logging works:
- Collects log data, often in real-time, from various sources, including servers, applications, and devices
- Stores log data in a centralized repository such as a log management system or database (typically stored in a structured format to facilitate searching and analysis)
- Analyzes log data to identify patterns, trends, and anomalies that may indicate potential issues or security threats (SIEM systems may use various techniques such as machine learning algorithms and rule-based systems for this)
- Compiles log data into a report that provides insights into the activity and performance of systems, devices, and applications
And there you go! It’s a very structured approach when it comes to performing log management, right? One final thing to discuss before wrapping up is using log management and SIEM together. As mentioned earlier, they’re not necessarily competitors. Using them together can bring several benefits, as you’ll see in the next section!
Using Log Management and SIEM Together
You can use log management and SIEM systems to create a powerful cybersecurity force. For instance, you can set up a SIEM system to collect log data from the same sources as your log management system. Two heads are better than one, after all. Based on the patterns and trends they identify in the data, you can set up rules and alerts to notify you of any potential threat.
Let’s say a threat does occur. You’ll then receive an alert from your SIEM system. What do you do next? You’ll use the log data and other security-related data from SIEM to investigate the event and determine an appropriate response. Also, you can use your log management system to analyze the log data in more detail. Using both of these systems will help you zero in on the source of the threat. In turn, this can help you prevent future security threats from occurring again.
Time for a recap!
Using a log management system and a SIEM system together can provide you with a comprehensive view of your security posture in the long run. Both systems have amazing capabilities, as outlined above, and they can help you stay on top of any threat coming your way.
Log management systems can collect, store, and analyze log data. Likewise, you can use SIEM systems to integrate and analyze log data with other security-related data. By combining both sets of capabilities, you’ll have a more complete understanding of your overall cybersecurity. Instead of focusing on one over the other, consider using them both!
Do you have more questions about log management and other related topics? Check out the FAQ and Resources sections below!
What is SIEM?
SIEM stands for Security Information and Event Management. It’s a security management approach that involves integrating and analyzing security data from various sources in an organization. You can use SIEM to monitor and analyze security-related events as well as identify and respond to potential security threats.
What is log management?
Log management is the process of collecting, storing, and analyzing log data generated by various devices, systems, and applications within an organization. Log data can provide valuable information about the activity and performance of these devices, systems, and applications. You can also use log data to troubleshoot issues and identify potential security threats.
How are log management and SIEM related?
Log management and SIEM both involve working with log data. Log management systems typically collect, store, and analyze log data. On the other hand, SIEM systems integrate and analyze log data with other security-related data, such as network traffic data and system alerts. You can combine the capabilities of both types of systems to have a comprehensive understanding of your overall cybersecurity.
How can organizations benefit from using log management and SIEM together?
By using log management and SIEM together, organizations will be ready to handle any potential threats coming their way. Both types of systems offer you a goldmine of information that you can use to proactively anticipate incoming threats. Every organization can make use of this powerful combo.
Are log management and SIEM systems suitable for organizations of all sizes?
Yes, both log management and SIEM systems can be useful for organizations of all sizes. Log management systems can be particularly useful for organizations that generate large volumes of log data. This is because they can provide a centralized view of log data and enable organizations to efficiently filter and analyze it. Similarly, SIEM systems can provide a centralized view of security-related data and enable organizations to identify and respond to security risks.