Having an enterprise-wide log policy in your company allows for the reliability and consistency required in the provision of critical data for accurate operations. In addition, the policy is a great return on investment.
Implementing a logging policy involves establishing the rules, communicating them throughout the organization, and enforcing the policy. Below are the steps required for implementing your own logging policy.
Creating a business logging policy requires you to ensure that it contains less material so that it is simple. The best policies in the business world are usually direct, short and even easier to follow. People tend to forget the finer points in a too-complex policy or they may decide to ignore it!
Logging involves sending entries in and out. When sending them in, the policy should define levels of logging and when each level should be used. Once you have defined the log level usage, you can then move on to creating a log data storage policy.
In most cases, businesses want to log just about everything generated in their premises. However, storing everything in sight without proper constraints does come with its own unique set of risks. In fact, storing all log files generated in your business systems means that all disk space available will be eaten up quickly.
Define Access and Notification Policy
Accessing your log data depends on your operational requirements as well as security policies you have established. In terms of notification, you do not want a scenario where too much information creates noise that takes you away from your business activities. Therefore, your notification policy should identify who receives what information; for instance, through a log monitoring software.
Since there is plenty of business-sensitive information in your logs, you need to keep it protected from evil intentions. Unfortunately, many businesses treat their log data as some stuff that is generated by their systems. Instead, consider implementing a strict policy on who has access to the logs – something that’s a requirement for organizations in IT Governance looking to be PCI-DSS compliant.
Communicate the Log Policy
Like logging, getting your employees to pay attention to the policy is a hard task. Notwithstanding, you have to let your employees know about the logging policy for it to be successful.
One way of communicating the policy is by sending out a message that encourages employees to learn more about it. When defined, make sure that you publicize the message frequently. This communication requires that you employ a few creative tactics.
For example, the message sent out may take the form of a listicle that is published on your business’ internal intranet. Perhaps, consider making an announcement through department heads at the beginning of your weekly IT meetings.
After policy definition and communication, you have to enforce it. One way of doing this is by automating as much as possible. At code level, ensure logging is part of the code base and IT tools used in your business.
Another strategy is to have a staff member volunteer to be the Policy Wonk who leads in the enforcement of logging policy is supported in code review. At a departmental level, your Policy Wonk provides with the necessary expertise during the pre-release review.
The Take Away
Implementing an easy to follow and simple logging policy is a critical step towards improving log management in a business. As logging technology changes, so does the scope of logging, making it pertinent for every business to adopt a culture of supporting the logging policy. In addition, the policy should also be flexible enough to support new demands that occur in the future.