Security information and event management (SIEM) and log management software in general are essential for most modern businesses with an IT department and that need to maintain a constant online presence with optimal security.

Your online marketing efforts, websites, and internal networks will disappoint if you don’t monitor them with log management and protect them with SIEM systems so they won’t experience frequent nor extended downtime.

Thus, it makes sense to not only invest in a SIEM / log management tool but to take the time to investigate what might be the best log analysis tools on today’s market. First, it is necessary to have a basic understanding of what log management tools do and why they are so vital for both efficiency and security.

Why Is Log Data So Critical?

Virtually every IT device (and even “virtual devices”) now generate log data of some sort, and this information is vital for IT security and monitoring. It gives you a big picture of “network health” and also valuable insights into trends, problems, weaknesses, and potential improvements that could be made.

However, “raw log data” spread out among various different devices and software vendors, differing formatting, is cumbersome to collect and analyze in a timely manner. Events and threats can happen quickly, and therefore, a centralized log management tool helps to make all log data “visible” at the critical point in time.

Automation Is Key

As a business owner, you don’t have time to fetch log data from numerous locations nor do you want to tie up IT staff on such a project and pay way more than you should have to for less than acceptably productive IT services. SIEM / log management tools are the answer.[

They can automate the process, which saves you time and money. They can identify hack jobs and attempted ones. These tools also track user activity, enable automated compliance reporting, and let you know when devices aren’t properly configured.

Then, after your event log management tool has automatically collected and helpfully arranged the relevant data, you simply browse through it. There are even features of such tools that will browse for you, in the sense that they select out irregularities in the log reports.

Real Time Analysis

After the fact analysis of what caused a disruptive IT event is only part of the package you get with log management software. The best software, at least, also provides for monitoring and analyzing data logs in real time.

A real time log stream, with helpful charts and graphs, puts the current situation in front of you in a highly visible way. That puts you in the driver seat, ready to respond at a moment’s notice when things are only beginning to show signs of trouble – which means you can often prevent a major problem from occurring.

Log Data Storage

Another key feature of log managing tools is their ability to store log data for future reference. Some tools, for example, store it automatically to SQL databases for 7 days. But, you can also customize your data storage preferences, and if necessary, add more storage space.

When a problem event occurs, you may sometimes need to investigate the log data history to help detect any trends or clues you may have missed when it was in real time. In this way, the storage capability complements the real-time features.

Of course, there are many other important aspects of SIEM and log management tools to be aware of, but the above are some of the most critical. The main points should be clear: log management software equips IT workers with information and tools that they couldn’t function nearly as efficiently without.