Activity logging tracks and records activity throughout a network to document and assess risk. This security method is often underused due to high volume traffic moving through a network. When utilized, it can help thwart cyberattacks before they happen.
Cybercrime is on the rise. Annual damage from cyberattacks is set to hit $6 trillion in 2021. (This is twice the amount of annual damage from cybercrime recorded in 2016). But since attacks aren’t always the result of an elaborate scheme, it’s important for IT teams to cover all their bases. System failures and issues with usernames cause up to 63% of all network intrusions. Activity logs can detect and prevent such simple intrusions.
Activity logging is a vital component of comprehensive cybersecurity
Holes in your network may leave information open to employees or network visitors who should not have permission to access that data. Activity logging can detect these holes before an unauthorized user spreads your valuable information.
As activities are logged, the data is archived and stored for future purposes. But since these records are just as useful to cyberattackers as they are to your IT team, it’s crucial to store logs in a highly secure environment.
In the event of a cyberattack, activity logs and audits can easily be pulled for reference. Archived logs can help security professionals discover where the breach began, what information was previously collected to conduct the attack, and where to find the attackers as they move through your network.
How is activity logging useful in the event of an attack?
If a cyberattack occurs, activity logs provide a roadmap to the origin of the attack and what networks were directly involved. Each log can provide further details about where the cyberattackers may be going next, how to prevent further attacks and what can be done to secure your system after the threat has been eliminated.
Activity logs serve more purposes than prevention alone. They are often required by regulatory agencies, which may have different standards for activity logging, as well as for how archives should be used in audits and other assessments.
Best practices for activity logging
The sheer volume of every activity conducted on a network deters many businesses and organizations from fully auditing and logging activities and events. But when a business’ system, data and reputation is at stake, properly logging activity is vital.
And while activity logging is often considered a tedious and exhausting task, even the smallest details can provide a solid foundation for your most important data. Here are a few things you should keep in mind as you prepare your activity logging strategy.
Best practices dictate that a proper activity log should include the following data and events:
- Date and time of the event
- User ID used to complete the event
- Programs and commands used to complete the event
- Result of the events, and any errors or failures, etc.
- System anomalies
Every company’s operating system should have an individual activity log specific to its activities and events. If your business is currently auditing data through activity logging, check in to ensure that your actions are compliant with relevant regulatory agencies. As cyberattackers become more dangerous and data becomes more accessible, the requirements for auditing may change.
Businesses that do not have a current log of network activities should take the steps to start activity logging immediately. The more data you archive, the more information you will be able to access if a potential risk or attack appears on your radar.
Get in touch with our cybersecurity specialists today to learn more about logging your network activity and keeping your company compliant.