Azure security logging and auditing

Azure provides a wide array of configurable security auditing and logging options to help you identify gaps in your security policies and mechanisms. This article discusses generating, collecting, and analyzing security logs from services hosted on Azure.

Note

Certain recommendations in this article might result in increased data, network, or compute resource usage, and increase your license or subscription costs.

Types of logs in Azure

Cloud applications are complex with many moving parts. Logging data can provide insights about your applications and help you:

  • Troubleshoot past problems or prevent potential ones
  • Improve application performance or maintainability
  • Automate actions that would otherwise require manual intervention

Azure logs are categorized into the following types:

  • Control/management logs provide information about Azure Resource Manager CREATE, UPDATE, and DELETE operations. For more information, see Azure activity logs.

  • Data plane logs provide information about events raised as part of Azure resource usage. Examples of this type of log are the Windows event system, security, and application logs in a virtual machine (VM) and the diagnostics logs that are configured through Azure Monitor.

  • Processed events provide information about analyzed events/alerts that have been processed on your behalf. Examples of this type are Azure Security Center alerts where Azure Security Center has processed and analyzed your subscription and provides concise security alerts.

The following table lists the most important types of logs available in Azure:

Log category Log type Usage Integration
Activity logs Control-plane events on Azure Resource Manager resources Provides insight into the operations that were performed on resources in your subscription. Rest API, Azure Monitor
Azure Resource logs Frequent data about the operation of Azure Resource Manager resources in subscription Provides insight into operations that your resource itself performed. Azure Monitor
Azure Active Directory reporting Logs and reports Reports user sign-in activities and system activity information about users and group management. Graph API
Virtual machines and cloud services Windows Event Log service and Linux Syslog Captures system data and logging data on the virtual machines and transfers that data into a storage account of your choice. Windows (using Windows Azure Diagnostics [WAD] storage) and Linux in Azure Monitor
Azure Storage Analytics Storage logging, provides metrics data for a storage account Provides insight into trace requests, analyzes usage trends, and diagnoses issues with your storage account. REST API or the client library
Network security group (NSG) flow logs JSON format, shows outbound and inbound flows on a per-rule basis Displays information about ingress and egress IP traffic through a Network Security Group. Azure Network Watcher
Application insight Logs, exceptions, and custom diagnostics Provides an application performance monitoring (APM) service for web developers on multiple platforms. REST API, Power BI
Process data / security alerts Azure Security Center alerts, Azure Monitor logs alerts Provides security information and alerts. REST APIs, JSON

Log integration with on-premises SIEM systems

Integrating Security Center alerts discusses how to sync Security Center alerts, virtual machine security events collected by Azure diagnostics logs, and Azure audit logs with your Azure Monitor logs or SIEM solution.

Next steps