The Graylog blog

Log Wrangling: Leveraging Logs to Optimize Your System

 

Today, we delve into the art and science of Log Wrangling. This process involves corralling, organizing, and deriving maximum benefits from your logs like handling unpredictable livestock. Why do we do this? Managing logs can be challenging, but we can transform them from a daunting task with the correct approach into a beneficial tool… Graylog.

The Complexity of Logs

 

As eloquently stated by Randy Franklin Smith, managing Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) or even centralized log management is not a walk in the park. He attributed this to the rawness of log data, its cryptic nature, redundancy, poor formatting, and its sheer variance from one source to another. You need comprehensive knowledge of each log source to interpret the enclosed information, which is usually a daunting task.

 

However, if properly wrangled, the information in logs is invaluable despite these complexities.

The Benefit of Parsing and Normalizing Data

 

Parsing is crucial in log wrangling. It simplifies queries and speeds up search operations. A well-parsed log eliminates the hassle of sifting through a jumble of data to locate relevant information. In Graylog, we employ inputs such as Common Event Format (CEF) and Graylog Enhanced Log Format (GELF) to parse logs.

 

Equally important is normalizing data, a process that standardizes data into a consistent format, regardless of its source. This standardization enhances security, reduces cost, simplifies analysis, and improves efficiency. Graylog provides a schema known as the Graylog Information Model (GIM) to facilitate this normalization.

Creating Effective Organizational Policies

 

Organizational policies play a crucial role in log wrangling. Policies focusing on information security, data classification, incident response plans, access control, and vendor security go a long way in streamlining your log management process.

 

Importance of Feedback Mechanisms

 

Feedback mechanisms prevent the overuse or depletion of shared resources. A great way to implement feedback mechanisms is through chargebacks. This practice calculates how much of the resource each group is utilizing and charges them accordingly. This ingrains a sense of responsibility and encourages self-regulation in each group to prevent overuse.

 

Conclusion

 

While dealing with logs can be complicated, applying the right principles of log wrangling can turn these intricacies into an asset. By understanding the complexities of logs, effectively parsing and normalizing data, implementing firm organizational policies, and using feedback mechanisms, we can maximize our log handling, making them work for us rather than against us.

 

Until next time, happy logging.

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