Ask any IT professional why logging is necessary and you'll likely get a one- or two-line answer. In fact, there are multiple reasons for maintaining a tight, efficient log management process with Papertrail. The typical system creates millions of pieces of data every day, and there's no way to keep your eyes on all of it without a robust, capable event logging program. Indeed, the sheer volume of items can be overwhelming for even the most talented system administrator. Add to that the idea that there are equally compelling and complex tasks associated with the reams of logged information at your disposal.
Tech supervisors need every bit of information they can get their hands on in order to build accurate forecasts, find relevant trends within the system, prevent future problems, boost the security function and obey compliance laws. Here's a quick overview that answers the question about why logging is so essential.
Often lost in the pressing rush to collect, aggregate, store and analyze files is the need to make informed forecasts from insights gained along the way. In fact, forecasting could be considered the final result of the entire log collection process. Managers glean volumes of relevant facts from a well analyzed set of log files. And it's not just about the health of the computer infrastructure. Analysis often yields up nuggets of knowledge about where bottlenecks are in the human administration structure, how IT personnel can be better allocated based on work flow, and more.
Log files are extremely talented at revealing trends. Equipped with these sorts of insights, upper level corporate leaders make decisions about whether to replace a computer, for example, or decide if more funds should be allocated to IT hiring. The possibilities are endless because each set of analytical reports contains uniquely relevant conclusions. Spotting typical trends like the times of day when the servers are busiest, how errors arise, and what causes users to give up after several unsuccessful login attempts might go a long way toward designing solutions.
Logging is at the basis of a company's security environment. Without the unique information that comes out of log file analysis, there would be no way for IT security personnel to pinpoint weak spots in the system, find out about hacking attempts or learn how to prevent recurring errors. Better security might not be the main reason for doing so, but it's right up there at the top of the list.
Most IT workers are serving two masters when it comes to compliance. First, there are company regulations about what to retain and what can be discarded in terms of logged data. Even when all event files are kept at the beginning stages, many are discarded after analysis. Whether and how to store all this data is a decision of company higher ups. But on top of that layer of authority is the legal environment. In industries like health care and banking, for example, organizations have to follow strict rules for compliance. Only a detailed logging system can meet everyone's criteria in this regard.