What is Real-time Log Monitoring?

Learning objectives

• Explore the uses for real-time log monitoring.

• Understand the benefits of using real-time log monitoring.

• Learn the industries that can best benefit from real-time log monitoring.

Logs are a component in good network monitoring, but reviewing events that happened days ago isn’t much benefit when systems fail from administrators being unaware of ongoing issues. Real-time log monitoring enhances essential monitoring by giving administrators information about the environment that’s happening right now, which means that they know about any problems occurring at the moment. The advantage is that administrators can react faster and reduce the risk of critical downtime.

Why is Real-Time Log Monitoring Used?

Log monitoring is beneficial for numerous reasons across most industries. It’s mainly known for tracking and monitoring cybersecurity events so that analysts can respond quickly to possible vulnerabilities and exploits. Still,  it also sees use in other industries for quick response and information.


Banking and Financial Services

Financial services benefit from real-time logging and monitoring to detect anomalies across ATMs, electronic banking, online banking, and teller activities. This information can give analysts an overview of transactions and any issues affecting financial systems, including online applications. A real-time monitoring service will tell analysts if machines have potential hardware issues or online banking applications are throwing errors.

Threat actors target financial institutions for their sensitive data and possible payout from exploiting vulnerabilities. Real-time log monitoring provides analysts with the information necessary to respond to potential attacks and stop them before they become a critical data breach that affects customer financial accounts.


Manufacturing

Manufacturers benefit from IoT and real-time log monitoring to support machinery across several factories and warehouses. For large manufacturers, warehouses and factories may span several countries, all requiring simultaneous tracking. Machinery can work like IoT devices to or connect to other IoT devices to then connect to the cloud. Log data can then be sent to the cloud, where real-time dashboards provide information to analysts.

If any machinery is experiencing failures, the issues can be logged and then sent to monitoring tools. By monitoring the logs, analysts can detect problems and request to have the machines repaired or to have any failing parts replaced. The benefit is that manufacturers know when machines are having trouble before they completely fail and cause production delays.


Software Development

After the software releases to production, developers don’t know if users experience errors without monitoring their applications. With real-time monitoring, developers receive information about applications such as timeouts, errors, or other crashes that affect the user experience. Errors such as these can negatively impact the user experience but with real-time log monitoring, developers can immediately react to remediate the issue as quickly as possible.

Real-time log monitoring also tells developers when applications cannot handle the current user load and time out from resource exhaustion, informing them that additional resources may be needed to support the number of concurrent users.


Cybersecurity Monitoring

One of the most common uses for real-time log monitoring is cybersecurity. It only takes a few seconds for an attacker to exploit a vulnerability, and with the right strategy, these attackers can persist on the network for months without detection. A real-time log monitoring tool can detect scans and other exploit attempts to let analysts know that the environment is experiencing an ongoing attack.

Should an attacker successfully exploit a vulnerability, real-time log monitoring tells analysts that there has been a data breach. Analysts can then contain the threat, determine where the vulnerability is, and then assess the extent of the data breach.

What are The Benefits of Real-Time Log Monitoring?

In every industry, the benefit for organizations is the immediate and sometimes proactive approach to remediating issues. Even if analysts and administrators do not catch problems before they cause downtime, they can still respond to incidents immediately. With standard reporting, anyone involved with remediation responded only after customer reports or someone made them aware of the issue. When organizations lose thousands of dollars an hour from downtime, this faster reaction to critical issues saves money.

Another benefit is it helps organizations stay compliant with various regulatory requirements. Systems that go out of compliance can be immediately detected, and real-time log monitoring can detect sensitive data disclosed to the public or vulnerability to exploits.

Every system used to store and protect sensitive data should have real-time log monitoring to better defend it against sophisticated threats. Firewalls, servers, applications, databases, APIs, and other critical components should send log data to real-time monitoring dashboards to keep all necessary administrators, analysts, and reviewers up-to-date on the latest activity. The dashboards that provide information about system activity must also support real-time output so that people responsible for responding to incidents can understand the data.

If your organization must be compliant, monitoring might be a component of compliance regulations. These dashboards and systems will make administrators more proactive in maintaining infrastructure, reducing downtime, and catching cyberattacks before a successful data breach.


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