CIS Control 8: Audit Log Management
Data is at the core of every business in today’s digital age. Protecting that data is of paramount importance. For this reason, the Center for Internet Security (CIS) developed the CIS Controls to provide a comprehensive framework for cybersecurity best practices.
One of these controls, CIS Control 8, focuses specifically on audit log management. This control aims to ensure that all events and security-related information are recorded and retained in an audit log for a defined period.
This article will explore the importance of audit log management as a fundamental component of any organization’s security posture. We will examine the CIS Control 8 safeguard requirements and industry-standard best practices for audit log management.
By following the procedures outlined in this article, organizations can improve their security posture, meet all CIS CSC version 8 safeguards, and ensure compliance with industry standards.
Why audit log management is essential
Audit log management is essential for every organization that wants to ensure its data security. The reason is simple: audit logs provide a comprehensive record of all events and security-related information that occurs within a system. This information is critical for incident response, threat detection, and compliance monitoring. Without audit logs, organizations would have no way of knowing who accessed what information, when or how the incident happened, or whether unauthorized users or suspicious activity occurred.
In addition to aiding in incident response and threat detection, audit log management also supports compliance with industry regulations and guidelines. Many compliance requirements mandate that organizations maintain a record of all activity that occurs on their systems. Failing to comply with these requirements can result in significant legal and financial penalties. Therefore, organizations prioritizing data security must take audit log management seriously and implement practices that meet their data security needs and safeguard requirements.
Best practices for audit log management
Audit log management is critical to an organization’s data security efforts. To ensure that your audit log management practices meet the CIS CSC version 8 guidelines and safeguard requirements, consider implementing the following best practices:
1. Define the audit log requirements: Assess the audit log requirements for your organization based on industry regulations, guidelines, and best practices. Define the data to be logged, audit events, and retention periods.
2. Establish audit policies and procedures: Develop audit policies and procedures that align with your organization’s requirements. Ensure these policies and procedures are implemented consistently across all systems and devices.
3. Secure audit logs: Audit logs should be collected, stored, and protected securely to prevent unauthorized access or tampering. Only authorized personnel should have access to audit logs.
4. Monitor and review audit logs: Regularly monitor and review audit logs for anomalies, suspicious activity, and security violations. This includes monitoring for unauthorized access attempts, changes to access rights, and software installations.
5. Configure audit logging settings: Ensure audit logs capture essential system information and user activity information. Configure audit logging settings to generate records of critical security controls, including attempts to gain unauthorized access or make unauthorized changes to the network.
6. Generate alerts: Configure the system to generate real-time alerts for critical events. This includes alerts for security violations, unauthorized access attempts, changes to access rights, and software installations.
7. Regularly test audit log management controls: Ensure audit log management controls are consistently implemented and reviewed. Conduct regular testing to ensure they are effective and meet your organization’s audit log requirements.
Organizations can establish a strong framework for incident response, threat detection, and compliance monitoring by implementing these best practices for audit log management. This will help safeguard against unauthorized access, malicious activity, and other security breaches, prevent legal and financial penalties, and maintain trust levels with clients and partners.
Audit log management policies
To establish audit log management policies that meet CIS CSC version 8 guidelines and safeguard requirements, organizations should follow the following sample policy:
1. Purpose: The purpose of this policy is to establish the principles for collecting, monitoring, and auditing all system and user activity logs to ensure compliance with industry regulations, guidelines, and best practices.
2. Scope: This policy applies to all employees, contractors, equipment, and facilities within the organization, including all workstations, servers, and network devices used in processing or storing sensitive or confidential information.
– All computer systems and devices must generate audit logs that capture specified audit events, including user logins and accesses, system configuration changes, application accesses and modifications, and other system events necessary for detecting security violations, troubleshooting, and compliance monitoring.
– Audit logs must be generated in real-time and stored in a secure, centralized location that is inaccessible to unauthorized users.
– The retention period for audit logs must be at least 90 days, or longer if law or regulation requires.
– Only authorized personnel with appropriate access rights and clearances can view audit logs. Access to audit logs must be audited and reviewed regularly by the Information Security team.
– Audit logs must be reviewed regularly to identify patterns of suspicious activity, security violations, or potential security breaches. Any unauthorized access or security violation detected in the audit logs must be reported immediately to the Information Security team.
– Audit log management controls, and procedures must be tested periodically to ensure effectiveness and compliance with CIS CSC version 8 guidelines and safeguard requirements.
4. Enforcement: Failure to comply with this policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment or contract. All violations must be reported to the Information Security team immediately.
By implementing the above policy, organizations can ensure they meet the audit log management standards set forth by CIS CSC version 8 guidelines and safeguard requirements. This will help organizations prevent unauthorized access, malicious activity, and data breaches, maintain compliance with industry regulations, and protect the integrity and confidentiality of sensitive or confidential information.
Audit log management procedures
Here are the audit log management procedures that establish best practices for performing the work of this control:
I. Initial Setup
– Determine which audit events will be captured in the logs based on industry regulations, guidelines, and best practices.
– Configure all computer systems and devices to capture the specified audit events in the logs.
– Establish a secure, centralized location for storing the logs that is inaccessible to unauthorized users.
II. Ongoing Operations
– Set the logs to generate in real time.
– Monitor the logs regularly to detect security violations, troubleshoot, and monitor compliance.
– Ensure only authorized personnel with appropriate access rights can view the logs.
– Review the logs regularly to identify patterns of suspicious activity, security violations, or potential security breaches.
– Immediately report any unauthorized access or security violation detected in the logs to the Information Security team.
– Retain log data for at least 90 days, or longer if required by law or regulation.
III. Testing and Evaluation
– Test the audit log management controls and procedures periodically.
– Ensure that all testing and evaluation are conducted in compliance with CIS CSC version 8 guidelines and safeguard requirements.
By following these audit log management procedures, organizations can establish best practices for performing the work of this control and ensure that all system and user activities are properly monitored and audited. This will help organizations maintain compliance with industry regulations, prevent unauthorized access, and protect sensitive or confidential information from data breaches.
*This article was written with the help of AI tools and Grammarly.