There are numerous software applications available today for file server change and configuration auditing. These applications continuously monitor files server configuration state, report about any changes to data stored there, and alert system administrators in real-time when a confidential file is tampered with, or an important server configuration is changed. Such change and configuration auditing products help super administrators identify who has made changes to critical data, see when that happened, what has been changed and where.
Why is Change Auditing of File Servers Required?
Insider misuse and user/administrator errors are reported to have been at the root cause of a considerable amount of security incidents. Without proper auditing mechanisms, security breaches can take weeks and even months to get discovered, leading to a destructive aftermath, and it is difficult to prevent them from happening again if you don’t know who had caused the problem and how.
Anyone who has access to administrative group is naturally capable to access lots of other things. Anyone with extended rights to access and modify sensitive information can in reality copy, change, or delete those files. Needless to say that it can result in leaked trade secrets, stolen know-hows and sabotaged records which may well result in financial and, perhaps, reputational losses.
Also, it is a simple matter to just move files/folders to a different location and forget about that. User negligence of this kind often is a reason why IT Departments face issues with performance of the IT systems. If you don’t have means to trace who moved or deleted those objects, it is difficult to prevent such issues from recurring.
Change auditing software is effective for dealing with these situations since it allows you to monitor/track user activity (including administrator activity), identify problems quickly, get to the root of the problems easily, and take steps to rectify them immediately. That helps to detect suspicious activity at early stages and prevent security breaches, keeping sensitive data protected and ensuring uninterrupted business operations.
Don’t Systems Have Native Auditing Capabilities?
Windows-based file systems and other applications may generate logs, but it takes quite a lot of time to sift through those logs in search for something you need, and they may not be in an easy-to-read format. Besides, logs are deleted and overwritten frequently. Native logs can also be deleted and overwritten intentionally by administrators whose activities you are trying to detect. That’s why, depending on the organization, a specialized change auditing solution may be required.
Here are Some Features/Functions of a Change & Configuration Auditing Solution:
- Minimization of the risk of insider misuse by tracking malicious changes to sensitive information.
- Comprehensive reporting with an ability to show “before” and “after” values of any modification made and historical reporting of a system configuration state, allowing users to go back in time and view policies and settings how they were configured at any moment in the past.
- Visibility into who has access to which files/folders across the company.
- Alerting function to notify about events of permissions and policy changes, access attempts to critical files/folders – this helps identify internal security violations quickly.
- Auditing local administrator activity (in addition to user activity) such as software installation, registry keys modifications, local configuration settings changes, etc., and storing audit data in a location that is inaccessible for those admins.
- Continuous monitoring of configuration changes across a variety of IT systems from a single location (console).
- Ability to restore backed up configurations from within a change auditing user interface, without having to access the storage backup.
- Screen activity recording of user activity with search and replay function to track user activity when audited systems don’t generate logs.
- Assistance with achieving compliance with regulations, such as PCI, SOX, HIPAA, GLBA, FISMA and others.
- Assistance with passing internal and external audits.
- Engraining responsible behaviour to employees, when they know their actions are being monitored, they deal with sensitive information responsibly.
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