Logging to files and analyzing them by hand is not the way to go anymore. The log server is the way to go for collecting and analyzing log data. Let’s get started knowing what is Log server and why to use it.

Log Server

Cyber technology is an extremely complicated field and the internet is being increasingly used as a place to commit crimes using personal computers, network-based computers, mobile phones, etc. Although a cyber investigation is still in the early stages of its development, the burgeoning use of the internet has increased the necessity for digital investigations. The purpose of the log server is to increase awareness of the latest in digital comparison for cybercrime investigation.

A log server is a log file automatically created and maintained by a server consisting of a list of activities it performed. It maintains a huge server requests. Information about the request, including client IP address, request date/time, the page requested, HTTP code, bytes served, user agent, and referrer are typically added to the log server format. This data can be combined into a single file, or separated into distinct logs, such as an access log, error log, or referrer log. However, server logs typically do not collect user-specific information. These files are usually not accessible to general Internet users, only to the administrative person of Internet service. A statistical analysis of the server log may be used to examine traffic patterns by time of day, day of the week, referrer, or user agent. Efficient web site administration, adequate hosting resources, and the fine-tuning of sales efforts can be aided by analysis of the web server logs.

Why we should use Log Server:

Let’s have a look at some reasons why a log server would help us in some situations.

The main reason for a log server is that the log data is being centralized with the log server as a single point of entry. In a distributed environment, every service simply sends its log events to the log server where it is aggregated and made available for log analysis. No need for people to semi-automatically gather log files from across all services. Log aggregation, filtering, searching, monitoring, and alerting are done at a single place.

Searching through log files is no fun. Even when we have filtered and transformed log data into a form that is more helpful for the task at hand. The main feature of log servers is to provide search capabilities across the collected log data. To trace a bug reported by a user, we can simply type in the correlation id that was shown on the user’s screen, we will probably see an error message in the log that allows us to analyze the bug. If we want to see all log events across all threads in all services that were involved in processing a certain asynchronous message to trace that message through the distributed system. This is easy for a log server, since

  • It has access to the log events of all services
  • It can index and efficiently search structured data appended to the log events, such as a trace id.

Every developer should have access to the logs. This should be a fundamental right for software developers. Looking through the logs regularly makes our relationship to the application much more intimate. Data privacy is a big thing and after all, we don’t want to break our users’ trust. The solution to this is to separate log data that contains personal data from technical log data separates log data that contains personal data from technical log data. The technical log data should be available on the log server for analysis and bug fixing, while the personal log data may be stored somewhere more private. A separation of log data like this may take some planning in our security architecture and careful code reviews, but it’s worth the effort when it means that we can access at least part of the production logs.

A log server usually provides functionality to automatically filter and visualize certain log messages on a dashboard. So, if we get anxious and want to check the log files for certain kinds of messages, we can have a look at the dashboard a be at ease. Again, we have a central place where we can monitor our application’s health and define rules for alerting. All without having to handle log files in any form.

Setting up a log server is really nothing special. We can have one running on our local machine in minutes. Yes, it has to be set up in all our test and production environments. But with today’s container technology this shouldn’t be much of a pain.

So, using a log server should be a default for the development and operation of most server applications to save the users from cyber-attack threats and cybercrime.

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