How to protect your audit trail in a SAS environment

When auditing a SAS environment, a critical requirement for administrators is to create internal policies to reduce data risks, here's why.

Every industry uses a version of an audit trail when providing in-depth historical records.

Audit trails are records that chronologically catalogue events or procedures. These trails provide proof-of-compliance and operational integrity. The audit trail essentially provides a “baseline” for analysis or an audit when initiating an investigation. The purpose or importance of an audit trail may vary depending on the organisation. For example, a company may use the audit trail for reconciliation, historical reports, future budget planning, tax or other audit compliance, crime investigation and risk management.

Trails are most effective if they are automated. While many systems emphasise protection from outside breaches, real-time audit trail reports can flag suspicious in-house activity or misuse. Combing through your records may be tricky, but most data analytics platforms and solution providers offer a specialist who can help you through these tediously complex tasks.

In the crevices of complexity, lies a few tricks and tips of the trade we wanted to share. Read on to find out how to protect your audit trail in a SAS environment.

Tricks to protect your audit trails in a SAS environment

When deploying services in a SAS environment, one of the critical requirements is for administrators to close any gaps that would allow actions to fail. Below are a few tips that would ensure its protection.

Using a fail-safe configuration

Logs contain legally protected sensitive data. Although they track your security stance, you need to ensure malicious perpetrators cannot gain access to them. We recommend that organisations create and maintain a secure log management infrastructure.

When setting configurations for your audit logging system, you want to use a “fail-safe” not a “fail open.” Organisations use this configuration when access matters more than authentication. However, audit logging focuses on access control logging. Therefore, you want to use a fail-safe, which protects other system components by including an external bypass switch device.

Ensure integrity with a SAS environment

Prioritising log management across the organisation enables data integrity from within. Once you establish goals aligned with applicable laws and regulations, you can create internal policies that focus on retention and monitoring to reduce risk in your SAS environment.

The trail needs to maintain integrity, avoid tampering and other malpractices. All external threats need to be tackled via firewalls, and internal actors cannot change the logs. Another way to protect data integrity is by using read-only files or complete replicas.

Find a dual-purpose audit logging program

Creating specific policies and procedures for logging standards and guidelines help you to efficiently incorporate log monitoring across the enterprise. However, audit logs provide you with two types of information.

First, they allow you to track system access. Second, they enable continuous monitoring for continuous compliance. To streamline your overall compliance process, a dual purposes audit logging program can reduce time spent on monitoring while increasing security and compliance.

Safeguard your trail information

Ensure your audit trail information is stored in a secure location and backed up regularly to avoid any loss of data or compromise to the system. Only collect useful and necessary information in the audit trail so as to not clutter storage space. When curating and collating data, coordinate with system stakeholders to ensure the security and availability of audit trails

Moving forward

These audit records are critically important when defending against security breaches, supporting compliance reporting and audits. Every industry, whether tracking records or transactions, will benefit from maintaining accurate audit logs. In a SAS environment, when safeguarding your audit trail from malicious activity and breaches, you must ensure that you have a well-maintained infrastructure in place. A good infrastructure would still need to be coupled with frequent checkups in consultation with specialists to ensure the integrity and smooth running of the system.

For more information on how to protect your audit trail in a SAS environment, please visit our page.

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