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Log Archival

What is log archival and why is it important to your business?

Feb 10, 2022 6 min read

What is log archival?

Every device in the network produces a substantial amount of log data. Log data contains critical information about all the activities that happen in a network. Storing all this data and managing them is a challenge for organizations. So these log files are compressed and stored away in a less efficient storage medium and can't be readily retrieved. These are called inactive log files.

Log archival is the process of storing all these inactive log files efficiently by compressing, archiving and indexing the zipped files for retention and future usage.

The log files are transferred to another place from the current log path or the mirror log path during log archiving. This frees up the space required to store the current logs while enabling you to store the archived logs indefinitely. The probability of accidentally deleting the archived files is less as they are not accessed regularly by employees.

Storing a large amount of data will help in audit and regulatory requirements, when there's an enquiry into a cyber attack, and to ensure business continuity. However, the resources required to store and maintain the log files tend to get expensive, outweighing the mentioned benefits.

This is where you will have to strike a balance between the security and the storage needs of the organization.

Archiving logs and maintaining them helps you in effective risk management, improving security, and preventing data loss by restoring archived logs.

Building a Log Archive/ Factors to consider

Building and maintaining a log archive requires considerable storage space as even a simple network architecture generates a lot of log data in no time. So, it is vital to consider these questions before you start the archival process.

  • How much log data can I store?
  • How should I organize them?
  • How often would I need the archived log data and how quickly do I have to retrieve it?

What should you store in your log archives?

Logs that hold information about the security and performance of the network should be prioritized for storing. Here are some of the important log events you need to store:

  • Log events that are necessary to comply with regulatory requirements
  • Administrator activity
  • User actions like logins and commands
  • Errors, exceptions, and warnings

Why should you archive logs?

  • Complying with Regulations

    Regulators across the globe have mandated the preservation of log data for at least a year — for example the HIPAA compliance requires organizations to store logs up to 6 years, the SOX regulation requires organizations to store audit logs for 7 years, and so on. Some countries also have significant data protection laws that levy huge fines on organizations for breaches concerning customers' data protection.

  • Preventing data loss

    The archived log files are stored in a separate location, securing them from any data loss. Since archived files are rarely accessed and protected with secure paswords, the chances of accidentally deleting the data are significantly less.

  • Reduction in costs

    Active logs are stored on a costly storage medium like SSDs that are made for better performance i.e speed and availability. Archived log files are not frequently used, so they can be compressed and stored in a cost effective and storage efficient system resulting in considerable savings for the organization.

  • Increased security

    Archived log data helps improve the security of your network. In the event of a cyber attack, you can retrieve and restore the log data from archives to perform forensic analysis. Forensic analysis is done to establish the evidence of an attack, data recovery, and to find the vulnerabilities that allowed the attack to take place. By performing forensic analysis on archived logs you can pin point exactly when and how the cyber attack happened.

Using a trusted log archiving tool like EventLog Analyzer you can automatically archive all event logs and syslogs collected from Windows, Unix or Linux systems, network devices, databases, applications, servers etc., on the EventLog Analyzer server itself. You can also encrypt your log files, time stamp them, and produce detailed reports on archived logs.

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