What if someone tried to hack into your IT systems or made unauthorised changes to your Active Directory Policies? Every day across the world, computer systems are generating and recording logging events at any given time. Log data or files contain a great deal of information that can be used to reduce the exposure of an organisation to malware, intruders, data loss and avoidable legal liabilities.
Not all logging code is created equal. Log files come in various formats, from different sources, and in huge volumes, and most organisations do not have the right mechanisms or strategies to effectively monitor and ensure the security of their logs. Your logging monitoring strategy can either cause problems or make everything easier.
The following are some of the best practices to consider in application logging:
Consolidate All Log Records Centrally
Automatically, Syslog and Windows files are decentralised with each system or network recording its event log activity. For more security and ease in monitoring, administrators must find a way to merge these records into a central data storage point. Centralising logs increases their search speed and thus helps you troubleshoot issues faster.
Additionally, the right and powerful tools are needed to analyse the logs effectively as going through them manually can be cumbersome. One can make use of free Syslog manager tools to consolidate log records centrally. Having data at a central database ensures you don’t have to worry about access and storage issues that could potentially crash your servers.
Log files can be rotated once they get to a particular limit. Without interference, log records will keep growing, and without a clear way to differentiate between the most important logs and those that don’t necessarily impact application performance, you could experience problems. Tools like the Unix logrotate utility can truncate your logs as they become old, freeing up space. Your current log records retain the filename, and the old file is renamed with a number attached at the end.
When Unix Logrotate amends a file, the new file contains a new inode, which can tamper with the Rsyslog potential to track the new file. You can prevent this issue by having an additional copytruncate framework to your logrotate cron job. This variable copies the old log file data to a new file and curtails these contents from the existing data.
Event Monitoring and Real-Time Notifications
When particular events occur on a network, an EventLog analyser can respond in several ways.
Most organisations have an IT environment that is heterogeneous, with a complex mix of devices and operating systems. While your operational environment may lean more towards windows, you may want to consider choosing other options.
Businesses looking for to gain a competitive advantage in the world of analytics need to understand how to use capabilities like Syslog as its essential for running switches, routers, as well as LINUX and UNIX systems. At a minimum, all monitored events should be traced back to their point of origin. The total number of logging events configured will determine the bandwidth used during a single polling cycle, facilitating real-time alerts whenever required.
Use a Framework for Application Logging
Logging frameworks tackle the standard parts of application logging for you. They also generally avail to you ready-made options for the logging medium. All you have to do is to include a logging package to the source of your application log code, and then begin making calls to an API. All of the requirements of file or database drivers are useful in the event when a troubleshooting program crashes.
Logging framework helps in standardisation as you specialise in writing software for your problem domain other than in writing joggers. You will find it easier if you rely on reliable application logging solutions other than reinventing.
Maintain Logging Principles
As a practice, logging is quite essential, but the execution of any code is secondary as compared to the code fulfilling its primary purpose. You can live with missing a log entry, but you can lose a customer if you don’t ship them products after billing them. It’s essential to ensure that logging logic doesn’t interfere with the critical activities of your various applications.
To meet deadlines, the normal flow and sequence must be followed and thus logging should not have an impact on your application. The critical path method breaks the project into a series of tasks and calculates the estimated time to complete each work. Many projects have one critical path although some have several. A logging framework helps in implementation of the critical path but will not entirely prevent you from self-destructing.
The world of application development and monitoring has made great strides and has solved many problems. Whether you’re at the development phase of an application or are already monitoring logs of an existing business application, embracing these logging best practices is the way to go to ensure reliable and seamless app availability and speed.