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Log analysis is the term used for analysis of computer-generated records for helping organizations, businesses or networks in proactively and reactively mitigating different risks. Most organizations and businesses are required to do data logging and log analysis as part of their security and compliance regulations. Log analysis helps in reducing problem diagnosis, resolution time and in effective management of applications and infrastructure.
Most of the time, the logs used in log analysis are provided by operating systems, applications, network equipment or similar devices. Logs are usually stored in a storage unit such as a hard drive or to an application such as a log collector. In most cases, the log messages are application specific and interpretation of the messages must be taken in the context of the application or the system. Log analysis can provide much-needed support for an existing or new data source. All log analysis tools link themselves to the unstructured data such as system logs, CPU data, configuration files and application logs, and then analyze these logs to provide valuable information. Log analysis components work in tandem to identify root causes from the unstructured data. Regular log analysis helps in reducing and avoiding the different risks associated with the enterprise. It gives the evidence of what occurred, the factors that determined the cause and the impacts. It thus helps in building countermeasures and models to reduce the risks.
There are many uses of log analysis if properly implemented in the concerned environment. It increases security awareness, and rapid detection of failed processes, network outages or protocol failures are possible through log analysis. The analysis of logs helps in determining trends, and the data stored in data archives by the log analysis helps in improving the search functionalities and performance. Another advantage associated with log analysis is in facilitating dynamic data streaming, which is scalable across the different remote sources.
Log analysis is mostly performed due to security or audit compliance, forensics, security incident responses or system troubleshooting.