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SANS Releases Results of Ninth Log Management Survey

Majority Collect Logs, Inability to Distinguish Suspicious Behavior, Categorization and Normalization Needed, Automation and Integration Key

  • Bethesda, MD
  • September 25, 2014

Organizations are collecting more logs from more sources, yet these same organizations are lacking the visibility they need to stop advanced threats and follow up as they need to on events, according to SANS' most recent survey on log management practices. In the survey sponsored by VMWare, 97% of respondents collect logs for a variety of reasons, but visibility into systems remains a problem.

"More organizations than ever before are collecting logs, and they are collecting them from more types of devices," says SANS Analyst Jerry Shenk and author of the results paper. "But, they often have trouble discerning between normal activity and indicators of compromise." Although 85% of respondents say they collect logs to detect and track suspicious behavior, 27% point to the inability to distinguish between normal and suspicious traffic as a top challenge.

According to Shenk, "Big data--a lot of data in an unstructured format--is a problem for log management. Logging devices send the data in different formats, so that leaves the onus on the log analysis software to handle the normalization." Categorization and normalization, cited by 14% as key challenges, would definitely help organizations understand their environments and the logs they are collecting. "If data isn't normalized, it can't be properly correlated so that related events are linked to show what really happened."

Because of the increased volume of logs collected, automation and integration of log management becomes vital to providing appropriate alerts in a timely manner. The vast majority of responding organizations (86%) have either partially or fully automated their log management activities.

The survey identifies strengths and weaknesses in log management systems and practices, and provides advice for improving visibility across systems with proper log collection, normalization and analysis. Full results will be shared during an October 6, 2014, webcast at 1 PM EDT. Register to attend the complimentary webcast at www.sans.org/info/167857. Those who register for the webcast will also receive access to the published results paper developed by SANS Analyst and log management expert, Jerry Shenk.

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Oct 6: Key findings on progress orgs have made in implementing log analysis software. bit.ly/LogMgtSurv-Results #LogManagement

How to derive the most from your logs? Results of SANS Log Mgmt Survey webcast on 10/6 bit.ly/LogMgtSurv-Results #LogManagement

Log management comes of age: SANS survey results presented in Oct. 6 webcast 1 PM EDT bit.ly/LogMgtSurv-Results #LogManagement

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The SANS Institute was established in 1989 as a cooperative research and education organization. SANS is the most trusted and, by far, the largest provider of cyber security training and certification to professionals at governments and commercial institutions world-wide. Renowned SANS instructors teach over 50 different courses at more than 200 live cyber security training events as well as online. GIAC, an affiliate of the SANS Institute, validates employee qualifications via 30 hands-on, technical certifications in information security. The SANS Technology Institute, a regionally accredited independent subsidiary, offers master's degrees in cyber security. SANS offers a myriad of free resources to the InfoSec community including consensus projects, research reports, and newsletters; it also operates the Internet's early warning system--the Internet Storm Center. At the heart of SANS are the many security practitioners, representing varied global organizations from corporations to universities, working together to help the entire information security community. (https://www.sans.org)