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12/17/2012
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Application Monitoring For Security Professionals

Keeping an eye on applications can help your organization avoid data breaches. Here are some tips on how to do it right

[The following is excerpted from "Application Monitoring For Security Professionals," a new, free report posted this week on Dark Reading's Security Monitoring Tech Center.]

Every IT professional worth his or her salt knows that, when it comes to information security, monitoring is tremendously important.

IT pros in regulated environments know the importance placed on monitoring controls from a compliance standpoint, but even when compliance isn't a factor, monitoring controls are often a key mechanism for determining when a security event is in progress in an environment -- and a key mechanism for analyzing root cause after the fact.

However, despite the importance of monitoring, most organizations have a significant blind spot in their monitoring capabilities. And this blind spot appears at the highest level of the stack: the application layer.

But this doesn’t have to be the case. For the practical-minded security professional, there can be tremendous value in expanding monitoring capabilities to include the application space. In fact, in many cases, you can leverage monitoring tool investments you’ve already made to help expand visibility and derive additional value for application-level security events.

Oftentimes, technology professionals associate monitoring only with logging. But it’s important to recognize that logging is only one of a few different vehicles available for gaining information about applications in the environment.

Monitoring can include any number of other controls over and above logs. Any control, process, metadata, or other information that informs security personnel about the security health of an application is a potential data point to target as part of your monitoring strategy.

There are as many methodologies for security logging as there are applications themselves. This matters because it has a direct impact on your ability to use stock tools to collect log information. Many organizations with log management tools in place will want to leverage existing investments for their applications.

To read more about the tools that can be used to do application security monitoring -- and some steps for implementing them -- download the free report on application monitoring and security.

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