Central Logging Definition

Howard Poston
Jul 27, 2023

What is Central Logging?

Central logging is the practice of collecting and storing logs from multiple systems or applications in a centralized location. Data generated by various sources within a network, such as its servers, network devices, applications, and security systems, are consolidated into a single, unified repository. By centralizing logs, organizations can more efficiently monitor and analyze events occurring across their entire system, enabling them to detect anomalies, track performance, and identify potential security breaches.

How Does Central Logging Work?

Various systems will generate logs, including software, computers, and security tools. However, since these systems are scattered across an organization’s network, they provide limited value to the organization. Centralized logging is designed to bring all of these logs to a single location where they can be more easily analyzed, aggregated, and viewed by security personnel.

Often, central logging is implemented using a security information and event management (SIEM) solution. This tool is designed to collect logs and alerts from various sources, aggregate and normalize the data, and analyze the data to alert personnel regarding concerning trends or anomalies.

Log data can be sent to a central system in various ways. For example, syslog is a utility built into Linux systems that can send log data to a central server. An organization can also use the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) to collect information about devices connected to the network. Alternatively, various programs and tools may be configurable to send log data to a central server.

Benefits of Central Logging

Most organizations implement centralized log management. The reason for this is that it provides numerous benefits to the organization, including:

  • Improved Visibility: With all logs in one place, the organization has an easier time accessing and viewing them. This provides greater visibility into what is going on inside the organization’s network.
  • Reduced Alert Volume: Many organizations struggle with high volumes of logs and alerts since each system and tool will generate its own. When aggregating and analyzing log data, SIEMs will reduce the volume of logs by removing duplicates and aggregating related entries together.
  • Enhanced Threat Detection: Some cyber threats may be undetectable or fade into the noise when looking at a single source of log data. Central logging enables additional analysis and provides context that can be valuable for differentiating between real threats and false positives.
  • Efficient Investigations: SIEMs enable queries on aggregated, normalized data. This makes it easier for incident responders or forensic investigators to dig into log files while looking into an issue.
  • Log Integrity: Most logs are stored on the systems that they monitor, creating the potential that an attacker will modify log files to cover their tracks. Centralized log management reduces this threat by moving log files to another system that the attacker hopefully can’t access.
  • Optimized Storage: Centralized logging servers are designed to store large volumes of log data for an extended period. This makes data more accessible while relieving individual systems from the burden of retaining their log files.


Central logging is considered a best practice because of the improved visibility that it provides and its impacts on cybersecurity and network performance. With the additional context provided by numerous log files, IT and security teams can more accurately identify, triage, and investigate potential issues that require remediation.

Howard Poston

Howard Poston is a copywriter, author, and course developer with experience in cybersecurity and blockchain security, cryptography, and malware analysis. He has an MS in Cyber Operations, a decade of experience in cybersecurity, and over five years of experience as a freelance consultant.

Glossary Terms

Stay up to date with the most recent #infosec topics

Trending Topics

Interested In
Next-Gen MFA?

Discover Multi-Pass enterprise passwordless authentication

Share the page: