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Application log

(also event log, or system log)

Application log definition

An application log records events, transactions, or errors within a software application. It contains information such as timestamps, the severity of the event, and relevant supporting information for context. Usually, users can find application logs in files and databases and use them for various purposes, such as performance analysis, auditing, and troubleshooting. In addition, application logs are beneficial for monitoring and detecting potential security threats. They analyze the log data and provide security professionals with insights into app behaviors and performance, thereby identifying security events such as unauthorized access attempts, unusual system activity, or software vulnerabilities.

See also: application firewall, application layer

Application log advantages

  • Identifies potential security threats before they can damage the system.
  • Delivers fast response times and risk mitigation. Consequently, it helps users detect and promptly respond to risks with a real-time view of system activity.
  • Provides a comprehensive view of system activity to help organizations identify patterns or trends in system behavior that may indicate potential vulnerabilities.
  • Can help organizations comply with security policies and regulations with an audit trail of system activity.

Application log drawbacks

  • Can generate a large volume of data for complex systems or high-traffic applications, making it difficult for organizations to analyze and manage the data effectively. In turn, organizations can suffer performance issues or miss security events.
  • Non-technical users might find it challenging to interpret application logs without proper guidance or training.
  • Application logs can contain sensitive information that attackers target, such as user credentials or system configuration details.
  • Failure to comply with the legal or regulatory requirements for storing and managing application logs can result in legal or financial penalties for the organization.