The Importance of Log Management - Guide & Best Practices

The Importance of Log Management – Guide & Best Practices

by Joe Howell on May 24, 2021

What Is Log Management?

Log management encompasses the processes of managing this trove of computer-generated event log data, including:

  • Collection
  • Aggregation
  • Analysis
  • Storing & Archiving

Collection

There are two ways that IT teams typically approach event log management. Using a log management tool, you can filter and discard events you don’t need, only gathering relevant information – eliminating noise and redundancy at the point of ingestion. This makes it easier to find what you need quickly, and also helps to maximize the performance of the log management system tool itself.

Conversely, you can also collect every generated event and allow your log management tools to sort, filter and search the data. This can increase storage costs due to the size of the data, potentially impact system performance, and increase noise – but will allow you to analyze all of your log data, instead of a subset.

Aggregation

Your log management system will also simplify the collection of log data by aggregating all of your logs from various sources into one place. A log management system is also important in this step because it can normalize data into a consistent format and output to make log analysis easier, or even possible at all.

Analysis

While you may need to retain log data to comply with industry regulations, perhaps the biggest benefit of a log management system is the ability to search, sort, and analyze data. By utilizing saved searches, filters, and complex queries, you can surface irregularities and instantly drill down to the underlying data.

With a centralized approach, you can more quickly search across all your log data to discover patterns that might otherwise be impossible to recognize if logs only exist on isolated systems

Storage & Archiving

Your log management system also plays an important role in storing and archiving your data. For long-term trending and analysis, it’s important to implement a log management tool that can store and archive your data for a time period that meets your compliance and analytical needs. Though log rotation rules are often defined on a per-app, service, or component basis, it’s important to capture and send logs to an external backend or log management tool as well. 

Without log management, even if you know something isn’t working properly within your systems, finding the log event to diagnose the problem can be challenging. When there’s an incident, you can’t afford to waste time trying to manually sift through log data on disparate systems.

Lastly, aside from the sheer volume of data that is produced every day, much of the data is created as an audit trail and not produced in a human-readable format. Converting the data can be costly, time-expensive, and stressful under a looming deadline.

Why Is Log Management Important?

Log management plays a significant role in maintaining a healthy, efficient, and secure infrastructure. It helps system administrators, developers, and IT security teams.

System Administrators

System Administrators need to ensure systems are working optimally. Log management tools provide a baseline of how systems function normally and can flag anomalies when they arise. This allows sysadmins to quickly see irregularities that need investigation.

Log management tools also allow system admins to create their own rules and triggers for generating alerts based on activity, patterns, and thresholds.

Developers

Developers also benefit from log management to monitor for errors and streamline their development process. By aggregating data — and converting it from unstructured data into a searchable format — developers can more quickly identify problems and debug software.

IT Security Teams

Cyber threats continue to escalate. The FBI reports a more than 300% increase in threat complaints within the past year and estimates are that cybercrime cost more than $1 trillion in 2020. With more employees than ever working from home and using Wi-Fi resources, security has become increasingly complex as well.

Log management tools allow security teams to more quickly identify suspicious activity. These tools monitor systems 24/7, so potential breaches and dangers can trigger alerts. When an authorized action occurs, this allows security teams to take immediate action to mitigate the threat or stop its spread.

Using Log Management Tools

Three of the most important things you need log management tools for will be investigating incidents, proactive alerting, and aggregation.

Log Aggregation

With 72% of companies reporting hybrid or private cloud strategies and 58% of all workloads existing in private or hybrid cloud, managing all of the log information is a challenge of its own. Mixing proprietary software and hardware with open source log management only accentuates the complexity.

Between on-prem and off-premises data centers, in-house servers, legacy applications, and cloud platforms, maintaining an on-premises log solution can also be costly.

The solution is to efficiently and automatically aggregate logs from hybrid-cloud environments, containerized environments, and microservice architectures into one log platform at scale. observIQ has a robust API for integrations outside of log agents and can help solve for common technologies like Windows events, database,s and Kubernetes.

Proactive Alerting

Customized real-time alerts let you react quickly. This is helpful for both security threats and system performance issues.

With observIQ, you can set alert definitions, customize conditions that trigger alerts, and set warning levels for different events. You can also define notification channels, such as e-mail, Slack or Pagerduty to incorporate observIQ into your existing workflow.

Incident Investigation

When you experience instability or suffer an outage, you must be able to quickly assess the situation, identify the source, and take remedial action. Tracing an incident in your logs can be a painfully slow and tedious problem — especially when time is of the essence.

With observIQ Cloud, your logs are parsed automatically and enriched to provide the necessary context to filter, search, and visualize events quickly and easily. You can also tag logs with custom labels to specify the data center, region, or environment for complete traceability. This allows you to identify the root cause of issues fast and reduce your MTTR.

Next-Generation Log Management and Observability Solutions

observIQ builds next-generation observability solutions for ITOps and DevOps teams. Our solutions are built by engineers for engineers to accelerate, simplify, and enhance observability across today’s hybrid environments.

We offer four simple pricing tiers based on ingestion and retention. You can also try observIQ for free with full access to our platform with unlimited users for three-day retention of up to 3 GM per day.

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For support on observIQ Cloud, please contact:

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