Connect your external solution using Common Event Format

When you connect an external solution that sends CEF messages, there are three steps to connecting with Azure Sentinel:

STEP 1: Connect CEF by deploying the agent STEP 2: Perform solution-specific steps STEP 3: Verify connectivity

This article describes how the connection works, provides prerequisites and gives you the steps for deploying the agent on security solutions that send Common Event Format (CEF) messages on top of Syslog.


Data is stored in the geographic location of the workspace on which you are running Azure Sentinel.

In order to make this connection, you need to deploy an agent on a dedicated Linux machine (VM or on premises) to support the communication between the appliance and Azure Sentinel. The following diagram describes the setup in the event of a Linux VM in Azure.

CEF in Azure

Alternatively, this setup will exist if you use a VM in another cloud, or an on-premises machine.

CEF on premises

Security considerations

Make sure to configure the machine's security according to your organization's security policy. For example, you can configure your network to align with your corporate network security policy and change the ports and protocols in the daemon to align with your requirements. You can use the following instructions to improve your machine security configuration:  Secure VM in Azure, Best practices for Network security.

To use TLS communication between the security solution and the Syslog machine, you will need to configure the Syslog daemon (rsyslog or syslog-ng) to communicate in TLS: Encrypting Syslog Traffic with TLS -rsyslog, Encrypting log messages with TLS –syslog-ng.


Make sure the Linux machine you use as a proxy is running one of the following operating systems:

  • 64-bit

    • CentOS 6 and 7
    • Amazon Linux 2017.09
    • Oracle Linux 6 and 7
    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server 6 and 7
    • Debian GNU/Linux 8 and 9
    • Ubuntu Linux 14.04 LTS, 16.04 LTS and 18.04 LTS
    • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12
  • 32-bit

    • CentOS 6
    • Oracle Linux 6
    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server 6
    • Debian GNU/Linux 8 and 9
    • Ubuntu Linux 14.04 LTS and 16.04 LTS
  • Daemon versions

    • Syslog-ng: 2.1 - 3.22.1
    • Rsyslog: v8
  • Syslog RFCs supported

    • Syslog RFC 3164
    • Syslog RFC 5424

Make sure your machine also meets the following requirements:

  • Permissions
    • You must have elevated permissions (sudo) on your machine.
  • Software requirements
    • Make sure you have Python running on your machine

Next steps

In this document, you learned how to connect CEF appliances to Azure Sentinel. To learn more about Azure Sentinel, see the following articles: