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The Importance of Log Collection to your Managed Security Service

Log data plays a pivotal role in upholding the security, integrity, and availability of IT systems, making logs an indispensable element of an organization's overall security and operational strategy. At MPGSOC, logs are the backbone of our security monitoring and our first line of protection and defense of your attack surface. By analyzing logs, MPGSOC gains insight into potentially malicious behavior, tracks patterns of unauthorized access, and responds to security breaches proactively. Additionally, logs serve as valuable forensic evidence for incident response and compliance purposes, aiding in the continuous improvement of your security posture.

What is a Log?

Logs are a digital record of events occurring within an IT environment. These events can include records of security and system-related activities, user actions, errors, warnings, performance indicators as well as other types of information relevant to the log’s source. Logs are generated and stored by nearly every component of an organization’s technology environment, for example, the network and systems infrastructure, workstation and server operating systems, applications, and security controls, such as proxy servers and firewalls. They provide a chronological record of events, enabling security analysts to reconstruct the sequence of activities leading to an alert and determine the root cause of a security incident. This information is critical for understanding the extent of an incident and implementing effective counter measures to prevent future occurrences. Logs provide valuable context for understanding the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPS) employed by threat actors, and aid MPGSOC in developing, improving, and refining incident response strategies.

What is Log Collection?

Log collection plays a crucial role in the functioning of a SOC. Log collection is the process of aggregating log data into a SIEM (Security Incident and Event Management) platform from various log sources within an organization's computing environment and bringing them together in a central location to enable data analysis, preservation and retention. Log collection supports compliance requirements by providing a verifiable audit trail of system and user activities.

Log collection enables a managed SOC to monitor and analyze network and system activities in real-time. This is critical for security monitoring as logs aid in the detection of security incidents for the team to investigate. With the right logs collected, SOC analysts can proactively identify potential security threats and anomalous behavior. When a threat or abnormal behavior is identified, this is when the hunt begins. Analysts rely on the correct logs being collected with our Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) platform to conduct the most comprehensive investigation possible.

The SOC then analyzes the aggregated logs to identify patterns and trends within a security event. In the event of a security breach, logs can be used for forensic analysis to reconstruct the event sequence and identify the incident's root cause. This information is invaluable when SOC analysts are providing analysis to customers. The logs help us tell the story so you can understand the source of the incident uncovered.

Log retention is the storing and maintaining of logs based on regulatory requirements, security best practices, and organizational policies. Proper log retention enables a SOC to track and review historical activities, detect security breaches, and provide customers with compliance with data protection and privacy regulations.

What Logs Do You Need to Collect? How is This Accomplished?

Detailed logs are invaluable for conducting forensic investigations following a security incident. With MPGSOC, log collection begins with good data gathering in our Discovery Workshop. During this workshop MPGSOC engineers will help your organization determine which logs are the most valuable to collect, helping to ensure the quality and relevance of the logs collected.

Priority logs are derived from our professional recommendations, aligning to your business’ most important data and products to protect. Some key logs to collect that our team will recommend are:

  • authentication logs
  • authorization logs
  • system logs
  • application logs
  • network logs
  • security logs
  • endpoint logs
  • database logs
  • cloud service logs
  • operating system logs

While all of our recommendations may not fit your individual business needs, we work with you and your team to customize our recommendations to your organization’s needs.

Once log collection is prioritized, the SOC’s engineering team onboards those key logs. They’re looking out for the future, too. MPGSOC continuously provides guidance and expertise about additional logs to help your organization remain compliant while managing log retention. As your organization grows, so does our team, scaling and adapting your log collection to fit your business needs. Lastly, the engineering team maintains the security and integrity of your log health within our SIEM platform.

Log collection is the critical piece to the puzzle for a SOC to provide the best support and coverage for your organization. By collecting and prioritizing the right logs, organizations can enhance their overall security posture, gain a comprehensive view of your IT environment, improve incident detection and response times, comply with regulations, mitigate the risks posed by potential security threats and vulnerabilities, and maintain the integrity and availability of your systems and data.

Schedule a discovery session today to learn more about how managed SOC services from MPGSOC can be customized for you!

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