An audit has never had a soft spot on people’s hearts, and some consider it a witch-hunt, which is not the case. An audit helps us keep track of activities taking place in your organization’s networks and databases. This is not likely to happen in the absence of a system audit.
Today organizations are using checks not only in accounting but also in IT and networking. The importance of the audit trail is not negligible when looking at the functionality of our IT infrastructure.
What is an Audit Trail?
An audit trail is a procedural record where you can track your IT infrastructure activities and determine the source. It is also an essential component of enhancing the privacy and security of sensitive organization data. The process provides evidence of user activity in the system, including altering any data in order.
Audit trails will include three different types of information, namely:
- a login user ID
- a summary of system activities,
- and timestamps.
In a financial audit, trail components include source records, a detailed list of transactions completed, and transaction identifiers.
When To Perform
An audit trail is put in use when there is a need to check validity transactions and sources in an organizational set-up. In an organization’s IT infrastructure, the company performs an audit log when the company’s sensitive data is at risk or is breached.
Did you know that according to the 2020 Insider Threat Report, a significant number of an organization’s security threat originates from trusted employees who have access to an organization’s sensitive data and not from malicious outsiders?
Importance of Audit Trail
Different sectors, including healthcare, manufacturing, and financial services, use electronic data storage. The following are some purposes of system audit:
1. A management team can watch who might be accessing different files, when and for what reasons. This is a common occurrence when organizations are sharing a data storage platform.
2. A system audit enables a company to retrieve lost files by looking at previous versions of the present ones. If there was an error during the documents’ editing, the inspection will reveal the error and necessitate corrective actions.
3. Audit logs can help detect the unauthorized system access, forecast system failures, among others.
4. An audit can detect and stop any fraudulent activities on transactions and data modification.
Having enumerated the benefits of an audit trail, it is, therefore, important to have a robust system audit in place.
How Is It Performed?
Audit trail has diverse ways of operations depending on the devices, operating systems, and applications. Ideally, they capture events in the order by recording the user, the activity, and the system’s response.
What Information Does It Provide?
A system audit is the monitoring of different activities that have taken place in a system intending to bring integrity and accountability within an organization. A reliable check should provide:
- The number of login attempts before the user gained access to the system.
- A record of a particular user accessing sensitive information, and the list of activities undertaken on the system.
- A timestamp rested on the unchanged clock showing the activities and precise time and date when the user accessed the information.
- A list of available information before the user gained access to the system.
- The IP address and type of device that was in use when logging to the system.
This information should be readily available should there be a need to review the trail.
Where there was unrestricted access to information about the company, the users should provide a detailed explanation.
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Best Practices in Preforming an Audit Trail
To assess the level of risk that a database is prone to, we need to undertake a system audit log. This will aid in expediting swift action to deter suspicious behavior and necessitate corrective measures.
Some of the best practices in performing system audits include:
• Optimize the organization’s database performance. A company’s database should be at its peak level. This is achievable by integrating other database software with your audit log program, which will help the database’s performance and analyze the data. Besides analyzing data, this software can also help in detecting any abnormality in the system.
• Analyze the data retrieved from the trail. Data analysis is critical in determining any suspicious activities in our system.
• Protect your network from external attackers. There are different security software that you can integrate into your system to enhance its security.
Benefits of Maintaining Audit Trails
Improve on Company’s Data Security
Organization data is at risk, be it internal or external users. Audits are among the top effective measures of protecting our company’s data from malicious people. It also truncates the chance of exposure to malicious users.
The audit log keeps a record of every employee’s activity on the system. This holds the staff accountable for their actions.
Enables Reconstruction of Systems
With a well-functioning audit log, a company can identify how cybercriminals infiltrated their systems. Therefore they can learn how to make it more robust.
Early Detection of Interference
A reliable system trail will help a team detect any intrusion before it materializes.
Teamstack’s Audit Log
Everything in audit is accounting particulars. The ultimate goal of securing an organization’s data lies in the privileged IT users and management’s hands.
You should, therefore, place privilege management as the priority of safeguarding your organization data.
With the difficulty of having enterprise-level security features, we advocate using Teamstack to secure your applications.
Teamstack can secure data for employees working in the office and those working remotely. With its audit log feature, Teamstack maintains a complete audit trail so you can check every log-in attempt across all of your tools. If something looks off, you can block the user instantly to keep your data secure.