Digital Transformation: How to position yourself (future-) proof with efficient Log Management

In contrast to Security Information and Event Management (SIEM), Log Management plays a rather subordinate role in the IT security context. This is not entirely justified, as it offers many advantages that are otherwise associated with the topic of SIEM. A professional log management system ensures the collection, central aggregation, storage and retention of logs. The central storage location enables IT security analysts to access and analyze logs as needed. At the same time, the topic of log management is relevant to a much wider group of people than SIEM, as operational IT can also benefit greatly from a solid log management solution.

Why do you need Log Management?

Log data logs activities and performance of IT systems, applications and users. The sources of log data are diverse, typical are for example:

Server-side operating systems (Windows Server, Linux & UNIXoids).
Endpoint operating systems (Windows & Mac OS X)
Network infrastructure (switches, WLAN APs, routers, firewalls, load balancers)
Security Appliances (Layer 7 Firewalls, IDS, IPS, Spam Filter)
Blackbox & IoT devices (printers, thermal sensors,…)

Even in smaller companies, millions of log data accrue effortlessly – day after day. In addition: Due to the digital transformation, a strong increase of employees in the home office in the course of the Corona pandemic and more and more IoT devices in use, a relevant increase in log data can be recorded in many companies.

In terms of efficient IT security, there is a need for data monitoring as well as the implementation of error and performance analyses, for which the log data is a relevant information basis, but a direct analysis of the logs on the systems is not practical. This is where log management systems come in, helping to collect, store, efficiently search and analyze logged data in a central location.

Log Management in times of Digital Transformation

Digital transformation makes workflows more efficient, supply chains more reliable and administrative processes leaner. In the future, the companies that will succeed in the market will be those that embrace digitization without neglecting their IT security.

  • Companies that do not digitize their business processes will sooner or later no longer be competitive and will disappear from the market.
  • Companies that neglect their IT security during digitization will suffer high losses from successful cyber attacks and also disappear from the market.

We know from the past that there can be no 100% security. Or to put it another way, not every cyber attack can be successfully averted. The further digitization advances, the larger the attack surface for cybercriminals and hostile state actors. We have to get rid of the idea that we can always prevent cyberattacks. It won’t work. The goal must be to both slow down cyberattacks and speed up their detection and mitigation. For IT security teams to have any chance at all of slowing down cyberattacks and speeding up their detection and defense, transparency is imperative.

An important approach that can provide the required transparency in this context is central log management. Along with a functioning asset management, it forms one of the imperative foundations for the effective use of more advanced cyber defense technologies such as SIEM, Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR), Network Detection and Response (NDR) and Security Orchestration Automation and Response (SOAR).

What are the top 5 benefits of centralized Log Management?

There are numerous benefits to centralized log management.

The most important ones from the perspective of our cyber defense expert team are the following:

Traceability: centrally processed log data shows in a very short time where problems exist or systems have failed – saving time and costs significantly.
Visibility: Through structured log management, companies achieve a thorough knowledge of their own IT landscape.
Security: Centralized log management protects against deletion, encryption or manipulation of local log data.
Responsiveness: When a security incident has occurred, a log management solution serves as a valuable basis for a reliable assessment of the incident by IT forensic experts.
Resource commitment: The investment costs and manpower required for implementation and operation are considered manageable.

Is your Log Management set up for compliance?

Of particular relevance is the protection of log data against deletion, encryption or manipulation after a cyber attack has occurred. For this reason, the centralized storage of log data has been included in compliance regulations such as ISO 27001 as a requirement that must be met.

And also the EU-DSGVO, PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) or internal company guidelines provide a legal and regulatory framework for the storage and deletion of log data entries. For companies, strict data protection rules mean that logs, like all personal data, must be encrypted and stored securely. Log management enables the definition of granular policies for handling log data, in terms of, for example, the retention period or the encryption of specific details. Flexible log management solutions ensure perpetual ownership of data, individual storage over different time periods, and protection of sensitive personal data – all with the option to search the data for anomalies as needed. Log management lets corporate compliance officers sleep easier and ensures secure data handling in accordance with a company’s compliance policies.

From Log Management to a full-featured SIEM

If you want to develop in the field of cyber security in the long term or even plan to build a company-wide CDC / SOC, it’s a good idea to start with a Log Management solution and later expand it to a full-fledged SIEM solution.

Log Management provides a comprehensive view into a company’s IT architectures. A SIEM is designed to generate alerts on existing IT security issues. Therefore, only in combination of SIEM and a centralized log management, IT security gets the required functionality to detect, analyze and visualize threat scenarios. The centralized collection of log information from all systems used in the company makes it possible to visualize the form of a threat in detail – and to initiate appropriate countermeasures in good time.

The planning security gained by implementing a log management solution should also be emphasized. After all, the costs of a SIEM implementation ultimately also depend on the volume of event logs recorded, which is already known to the operator of a log management solution.

More information in our TechTalk article: What is Log Management?

What can we do for your IT Security?

At SECUINFRA, IT Security is based on the PPT Framework: “People, Processes & Technology”. In concrete terms, this means that our IT security solutions not only consist of powerful technologies, but also the associated processes and the competence of our experts ensure your reliable cyber defense. After all, the best technological solution is of little use if those responsible in a company do not know how to use it. So we are also there for you when it comes to planning, implementing and using a log management solution. Whether our cyber defense experts take over only a part of the tasks or carry out the log management as a complete service is best discussed in a personal meeting.

Feel free to contact us and let our cyber defense experts advise you competently and without obligation!

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SECUINFRA SIEM Experts Team • Autor

Managed SIEM and Co-Managed SIEM experts

The SECUINFRA SIEM Experts Team is specialized in the areas of "Managed SIEM" and "Co-Managed SIEM". The team not only performs the classic operational SOC activities such as analyzing and evaluating SIEM alerts or threat hunting, but also designs, implements and operates the SIEM environments.

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Ramon Weil • Autor

Founder & CEO

Ramon Weil is founder and managing director of SECUINFRA GmbH. Since 2010, he has developed SECUINFRA into one of the leading companies in the field of detection, analysis and defense against cyber attacks in Germany.

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