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A simple guide to log searches

Feb 10, 2022 5 min read
  • Log management

What is a log search?

Log searching is the process of searching for specific events from the raw logs generated by network entities. Every day, your network generates a large number of logs. These logs record network activity such as successful or unsuccessful login attempts, files opened, and file modifications. Manually sifting through logs is challenging due to the massive amount of data. As a result, log searching makes it simple for users to write a query or conduct a search.

Types of log searches

Depending on the complexity of the required query, there are two different types of searches:

  • Basic search
  • Advanced search

Basic search

Basic searches allow you to search for anything by simply typing the query into the search box. To make the process simpler, you're actively shown suggestions while typing.

You can use wildcards, phrases, and boolean operators in your search query while utilizing a basic search.

Types of basic searches

  • Boolean search: A boolean search organizes and sifts through your searches using a combination of keywords and the three primary boolean operators (AND, OR, and NOT). It provides more accurate and relevant results, allowing you to skip to the relevant searches while ignoring the irrelevant ones.
  • Syntax: <field name>=<field value> <boolean> <field name>=<field value>
  • Comparison search: A comparison search looks for data by comparing the searches or queries using the comparison operators (=, !=, >, <, >=, and <=).
  • Syntax: <field name> <comparison operator> <field value>
  • Wildcard search: A wildcard character is used in a query to find a certain term when you don't remember how it's spelled. (?) is used for a single character, while (*) is used for multiple characters.
  • Syntax: <field name> = "<partial field value > <wild-card character>
  • Phrase search: Using double quotation marks (" ") around two or more words to generate a search term is known as phrase searching. This search limits the results to those that include the exact phrase.
  • Syntax: <field name> = "<partial field value >"

Advanced search

Like the name suggests, using an advanced search provides search capabilities that are much advanced and sophisticated. However, the usability is just as simple as a basic search. When you attempt to perform a root cause analysis by correlating various events and attributes, an advanced search is used.

Advanced searching allows you to search using many search criterion groups simultaneously. To filter out certain event types, severity, and other attributes, filters can be used in advanced searches.

Why are log searches important?

  • A significant amount of logs are produced daily in a network. These logs record network activity such as successful or unsuccessful login attempts, files opened, and file modifications. Manually sorting through logs is difficult due to the large amount of data; log searches make it simple for users to write in a query or search.
  • Learning and understanding log searches can help with issues that may lead to more important changes, or wider issues regarding an application or the network.
  • They help with forensic analysis by providing an easier way to view details about security incidents.
  • They help with locating logs for events that occurred at a given time or between two timestamps.

In the sections above, we discussed types of log searches and their importance. A log management tool like EventLog Analyzer covers end-to-end log management and can support multiple log searches. With several notable features, like application auditing, security analytics, and log management, it's the solution to all your log management needs. Check out the free,30-day trial of EventLog Analyzer to see all the features in action.

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