Centralized Logging in Security Operations center
5
Mar

What Is Centralized Logging and Why Is It Important?


Introduction

In the event of a cybersecurity breach, logs play a crucial role in various activities. For instance, they are used for establishing the point of compromise for tracing back the actions of cyber attackers, regulatory proceedings and further investigations, and so on. These logs assist in understanding any change that might have taken place in a specific system.

Searching, filtering, and sorting log data allows organizations to detect errors, loopholes, or issues that might have occurred. However, scanning the log manually in a distributed environment is a cumbersome task as it requires checking log entries from hundreds and thousands of log files.

This is where centralized logging can help organizations to manage and track different logs seamlessly. In this article, we will discuss centralized logging in SOC along with different solutions for centralized logging that you can apply as a current or aspiring SOC Analyst.

What Is Centralized Logging?

Centralized logging helps in collecting log data from different sources. It also helps in consolidating all log entries into one central location. Therefore, in case of any cybersecurity incidents, this consolidated data then gets presented on a central interface that is user-friendly and accessible.

In other words, the primary goal of centralized log management is to cut short the cumbersome process of going through thousands of local logging files manually, making life much easier for the internal security team to understand the source of incidents during a data breach.

Why You Need Centralized Logging in a SOC

Times have changed ever since the coronavirus outbreak, resulting in overnight digital transformation for most small and large organizations. As a result, more than half of the global workforce is working remotely. Of course, organizations have implemented new solutions to deal with growing remote access. SSL and VPN to name a few. However, these solutions are not capable of doing the job in the long term.

Having said that, there is another problem that requires immediate attention. If left unaddressed, it could result in an increasingly large problem. And that problem lies within the logs. Whether users are working in their living room or office — logs will continue to get collected. Not having a centralized logging system could put organizations at critical risk.

Moreover, with the spike in remote workforces, the number of logs has also increased exponentially. This is because remote work creates logs on remote access, security access points, terminal services, and server logs, all of which are going to the security information and event management (SIEM) solution of the organization. Therefore, creating more blind spots for the security team during the different incidents.

Thus, using a centralized log management system will help in improving the overall visibility of different cybersecurity incidents.

Different Centralized Logging Solutions

Detecting a specific error in local logging files is a cumbersome task without the help of an efficient centralized logging solution. The following are some of the centralized logging solutions that you can make use of.

  1. Graylog

When it comes to efficient centralized logging capabilities, Graylog is a leading name in the industry. The log management tool scans the collected logs for any possible security incidents and vulnerabilities, and provides a notification immediately. Moreover, the tool offers you much-needed flexibility and lets you customize the dashboard, alerts, and more.

  1. Rsyslog

Rsyslog is an acronym for the rocket-fast system for log processing. It takes input from various data sources and transforms it before sending it to different destinations. Using Rsyslog, your organization can deliver one million messages/seconds over local destinations. It also provides support for big data platforms and offers consistent filtering capabilities, among other features.

  1. Logstash

Logstash is another efficient events & logging tool that is capable of collecting large volumes of data from various platforms, allowing you to define your own data pipeline and to make more sense of unstructured logs. Moreover, being an open-source log management tool, you can deploy it as you wish.

  1. Flume

If you are finding it difficult to deal with large data sets, then Flume is one of the best log management tools available. It is a great tool for making sense of large local logging files and determines the root cause of various cybersecurity incidents.

Become an SOC Analyst with CSA Certification

Centralized logging is one of many aspects of cybersecurity that an SOC Analyst has to keep a watch for. To deep-dive into the others, consider enrolling for a certification that will walk you through the various aspects of being an SOC Analyst. EC-Council’s Certified SOC Analyst (CSA) program has been specifically designed for aspiring and current Tier I and Tier II SOC analysts to help them achieve efficiency in performing entry-level and intermediate-level operations. The program covers the fundamental aspect of SOC operations, imparting knowledge about advanced incident detection and incident response.

FAQs

What is a log file?
A log file is a computer-generated file that contains useful information such as activities, usage patterns, operations within an application or server, or another device.
What are centralized logging tools?
Centralized logging tools help in collecting and presenting data in an easy-to-use manner to understand the point of compromise for further investigation.
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