Every business professional understands the inherent need for log aggregation. It’s hard to even imagine the vast amounts of data that arise from systems that monitor traffic, ordinary servers, typical workstations, security environments, networks, and more. What complicates the scenario is that these reams of data appear in both unstructured and structured formats, which means they each have their own set of challenges. Aggregating all these files into a central location, breaking them down into their smaller components, and then restructuring them so that they possess a semblance of consistency is the central challenge for IT professionals. But there’s even more to the situation than that. In order to understand why log aggregation tools are so important, it’s necessary to look at several aspects of the process.
Why are Logs So Valuable?
The best log aggregation tools let managers know how strong, or weak, the company’s infrastructure is and whether it performing the way it should. Sometimes, for example, it becomes necessary to gain quick, direct access to specific files in order to address an emergency or system error. With the right tools in place, it’s easy to inspect the appropriate files and begin troubleshooting.
Hand-in-hand with aggregation are analysis and monitoring because those two related functions can’t take place without tools that help managers obtain and review various files from diverse sources. The end result is better security, compliance, investigation capabilities, and more. Indeed, it can be tough to flush out compliance problems and all sorts of data breaches when logged data has not been organized and stored in the right way. That’s just one reason so many companies of all sizes have begun using cloud-based logging systems. Any IT worker who attempts to aggregate files understands the value of having enough storage space, adequate tools, and files that can be accessed with ease.
Where Best Practices Come In
There’s no sense starting from square-one when other IT experts have done a lot of the heavy lifting already. New managers and those unfamiliar with logging in general can turn to log aggregation best practices as a starting point for comprehensive understanding. What tops the list? Number one is replication. It’s essential that every file be duplicated and stored at a secure, central facility that allows for quick access when the need arises.
The next protocol should include a standardized way to transmit all that data to the storage facility. That means using a syslog-like method to get files from point A to point B by way of a logging server. Finally, it’s imperative to select a reliable commercial tool that can handle the unique needs of your organization. If you choose not to work with a commercial solution, an open-source aggregator is an acceptable alternative. Managers need to remember that when they do select tools, even good ones, there’s a lot of variety in terms of monitoring, price, maximum storage capacity, key features, and other relevant attributes. Most professionals seek solutions that offer excellent filters, buffers, centralization and collection capabilities. Along with unified structure, aim for things like plug-in architecture that is flexible, low resource requirements, and data loss avoidance.