Event logging has two distinct halves, both of which are invaluable to maintaining a smooth and reliably functioning environment.
One half is troubleshooting – whenever there's an issue the event log is, bar none, the best place to look to ferret out exactly where the problem lies. Just as important as repairing, however, is prevention!
Accurate monitoring and real-time analysis of event logs can provide clues to upcoming problems well before they strike. Even strict regulatory needs, such as HIPAA, can be carefully monitored and audited using event logs. There's almost no part of a computer environment that cannot be better maintained or, when the time comes, repaired than with the avid use and management of event logs.
Here is our list of the top event log monitoring tools:
- SolarWinds Security Event Manager – EDITOR’S CHOICE This software package is a log manager as well as a security monitoring system. It collects Event messages from Windows and its applications, Syslog, and logs data from a wide range of packages, including AVs and firewalls, and then scans them for signs of attack. Runs on Windows Server. Start a 30-day free trial.
- Datadog Log Management – FREE TRIAL Two log management services from a cloud platform – one for log collection and the other for log archive management.
- ManageEngine Log360 – FREE TRIAL A SIEM service that is able to integrate with many applications to collect log messages as well as using Windows Event and Syslog records to search for threats. Runs on Windows Server.
- ManageEngine EventLog Analyzer – FREE TRIAL An log manager that includes a consolidator and a data viewer that includes analysis tools. Runs on Windows Server and Linux.
- Barracuda SKOUT Managed XDR – ACCESS DEMO A cloud-based XDR system that comes fully equipped with a team of experts to monitor it.
- LogFusion A basic log file viewer that is available in free and paid version. Both editions run on Windows and Windows Server.
- Netwrix Event Log Manager A free log server, consolidator, and log file manager. This tool specializes in Windows Event Logs and it runs on Windows Server.
- Splunk A highly respected free log manager that has paid add-ons for specific functions, such as security analysis.
- WhatsUp Gold Log Management Suite A log manager that collects Event Log, Syslog, and IIS messages. It also manages files and includes a data viewer and analyzer. Runs on Windows Server.
- Tripwire Log Center A collector and manager for Event Log messages that feeds through to Tripwire’s full SIEM systems. Installs on Windows Server.
- Quest InTrust This collector, manager, and viewer for Event Logs and Syslog messages adds compression to reduce storage size. Runs on Windows Server.
- Corner Bowl Server Manager This tool collects Syslog, Event Log, and Azure AD logs. It then consolidates and manages the messages in files. This is also a log analyzer with HIPAA and PCI-DSS reporting capabilities. Runs on Windows and Windows Server.
- LogRhythm A very comprehensive log manager that is designed to participate in a wider security platform. Installs on a bare metal server.
- SumoLogic Primarily a cloud-based tool that can be operated remotely making it ideal for technicians that work on the go.
- Logscape Powerful yet specialized Event Log Tool tool but it makes up for that by merit of being quite powerful. Visualize, analyze, and search log information of nearly any size.
What you need in an Event Log Management tool
Event logging is not a thorn without its rose, and that's why Event Log Management tools and programs are powerful.
Systems, both client and server, generate a huge number of events, and it's incredibly easy for the useful information to be completely lost in the signal to noise ratio; there's quite a lot of noise.
Too often important information can be lost in the sea of superfluous errors without the help of management software to sift through it all.
On the software-focused side of things, event logging is incredibly useful when applications just aren't cooperating with the user.
Whether it's a program faulting on a client machine, in which cause the event log will quickly point you to the offending DLL or other failure point, or an unhappy Exchange server that isn't transmitting the way you'd expect, at which point the event log will get you zeroed in quickly on where to put your troubleshooting efforts.
Ultimately event logs tend to be just too unwieldy and time consuming to peruse in their raw state.
That's where Event Log Management makes any technician's life, and job, easier – software that can quickly, intelligently, and reliably make the proverbial needle in a haystack search far easier while simultaneously monitoring in real-time for hints of issues to come.
The Best Event Log Monitoring & Management Software
Our methodology for selecting event log monitoring tools and software
We reviewed the event log monitoring market and analyzed the options based on the following criteria:
- Support for multi-tenant use
- SIEM integration and support
- Operating system support
- Graphical interpretation of data, such as charts and graphs
- A free trial period, a demo, or a money-back guarantee for no-risk assessment
- A good price that reflects value for money when compared to the functions offered
With these selection criteria in mind, we have found a number of good log management systems that will handle Windows Events messages. Some of these services are software packages, while others are cloud-based SaaS platforms.
For people looking for Event Log Monitoring & Management Software, here's a list of the best tools we found:
- Risk-free trial
- File monitoring HIPAA and PCI compliance
- Simple yet highly customizable dashboards and reports
- Easy to understand licensing
- Proactive AI-assisted threat detection
- High-level tool that requires trained technicians to utilize properly
Datadog is a cloud platform that offers a range of system monitoring and management tools, including log management functions. There are two log management systems available from Datadog.
The first Datadog log management tool to consider is called Ingest. This collects log messages, stores them in a meaningful format and enables log message viewing and analysis. The log collector is able to take in messages from a long list of systems, including Syslog and Event Log messages.
The second log management system available from Datadog is called Retain or Rehydrate. This is a log archiving system that enables archived logs to be brought back live on demand.
- Lightweight cloud-based tool
- 14-day free trial
- AI-powered alerts help cut down on false alarms and alert fatigue
- Live reports make it easy to see high-level metrics and drill down quickly
- 450+ integrations to fit nearly any network environment
- Scalable pricing based on how much data is processed
- Other event managers offer longer 30-day trial periods
Price: The Ingest service is priced at a rate of $0.10 per GB of processed data per month. The Retain or Rehydrate price depends on your preferred retention period. A 7-day retention period costs $1.27 per million log events per month. Options extend up to a 60-day retention period, which costs $4.10 per million log events per month.
Official site: https://www.datadoghq.com/dg/logs/log-monitoring/
ManageEngine Log360 is an on-premises SIEM service that is able to collect Windows Events, Syslog, and application status messages for a threat hunting data pool. This software installs on Windows Server, but it is able to collect data from AWS, Azure, and Salesforce cloud platforms plus other on-site packages.
Agents send in log messages to a central server, where records are converted into a common format.
This tool includes a threat intelligence feed, which primes the threat detection system to look for malicious activity.
- Great dashboard visualizations, ideal for NOCs and MSPs
- Can integrate multiple threat data steams into the platform
- Offers robust searching of logs for live and historical event analysis
- Provides monitoring cross-platform for Windows, Linux, and Unix systems
- Can monitor configuration changes, preventing privilege escalation
- ManageEngine offers a suite of advanced services and features can time to explore and test out
Price: Standard and Professional editions – you need at arrange a quote for custom pricing.
Get a 30-day free trial: https://www.manageengine.com/log-management/download.html
ManageEngine EventLog Analyzer installs on Windows Server and Linux and provides a log collection and management service.
The system is a software package for installation on your site. It installs an agent on the other devices on your network and these collect log messages and sends them to the central server system.
The system is able to collect Windows Event messages and also Syslog messages generated by the Linux operating system.
- Customizable dashboards that work great for network operation centers
- Multiple alert channels ensure teams are notified across SMS, email, or app integration
- Uses anomaly detection to assist technicians in their day-to-day operations
- Supports files integrity monitoring that can act as an early warning system for ransomware, data theft, and permission access issues
- Forensic log audit features enable admins to create reports for legal cases or investigations
- Takes time to fully explore all features and tools on the platform
Price: Standard and Professional editions – you need at arrange a quote for custom pricing.
Get a 30-day free trial: https://www.manageengine.com/products/eventlog/download.html
Barracuda SKOUT Managed XDR is aimed at managed service providers and it is intended as a managed security service that MSPs can offer to their clients without the seller needing to hire its own team of security experts to run the XDR.
Subscribing clients get access to a self-service portal that guides them through the setup experience. That involves installing log collectors to provide the data for the system.
The core of this service is a SIEM that searches through uploaded logs for indicators of threats. One anomaly switches the search service over to scrutiny of specific devices and user accounts to see if further evidence arises. If it does, the system raises an alert and implements automated responses.
- Designed with managed service providers in mind
- Includes a self-service portal – great for reducing tickets
- Highly visual – displays data at scale well
- Includes various alert and reporting templates
- Best suited for MSPs and enterprise companies
- Would like to see a trial option
Price: Get a quote https://barracudamsp.com/extended-detection-and-response-xdr-plans/
Download link: As this is a service rather than a software package, there is no download. However, you can request a demo.
LogFusion is somewhat basic in what it does, but it does it in a way that's clean and concise.
It handles text-based log dumps, event logs, remote logging, and even event and remote event channels as well!
The free version has much of the same features as the licensed versions, but many of the convenience and ease-of-use features are locked from free, such as search-as-you-type filtering, customizable columns, tabbed interface, and other more quality-of-life based functionality.
- Lightweight log monitoring tool – good for servers and workgroups
- Available in a Pro and freemium version
- Supports folder monitoring and automation
- Only available for Windows
Price: Free version is available, Pro version also available starting as low as $9 per license
Download link: https://www.logfusion.ca/Download/
7. Netwrix Event Log Manager
The Netwrix Event Log Manager can be considered a simpler and light version of their Auditor software.
The Log Manager is freeware and handles all the basic needs such as consolidation of events from an entire network in a single place for review, real-time e-mail alerting of critical events, some limited amount of alert criteria filtering, and some archiving ability (limited to one month.)
A larger network of systems or one where security and prompt alerting are key would have a hard time getting by on the freeware version alone, however.
- Completely free log consolidation
- Designed to run on Windows Server
- Lightweight tool – ideal for smaller networks looking to get more from their Event Viewer
- The interface feels outdated – think Windows Server 2008
Price: Freeware, Netwrix also has a trial for a more robust Auditor software for event logs
Splunk is a log management program which does a great job encapsulating data from an entire range of devices across a network.
It also has the ability to be expanded via add-ons and plugin apps to increase its already powerful core functionality!
Splunk is also unusually flexible by merit of being able to work fully on-site, hybrid on-site/cloud, or fully in a cloud environment to ease remote management, all while scaling excellently all the way from small offices to multiple data-centers!
- Can utilize behavior analysis to detect threats that aren’t discovered through logs
- Excellent user interface, highly visual with easy customization options
- Easy prioritization of events
- Enterprise focused
- Available for Linux and Windows
- Must contact sales for pricing
- More suited for large enterprises, cost-prohibitive for small businesses
- Uses a custom Search Processing Language (SPL) for queries, steepening the learning curve
9. Progress WhatsUp Gold Log Management Suite
WhatsUp Gold, by Progress Software Corporation, is a well-known system monitoring tool. However, the product line also includes a less-well-known log file manager, called the Log Management Suite, which installs on Windows Server.
The Log Management Suite is an Event Log server. It captures Event logs as they circulate around the system and stores them in rotated files held in a meaningful directory structure. The service also acts as a Syslog server and it is capable of managing IIS log messages as well.
In addition to its capture and log file creation capabilities, the Log Management Suite can archive, restore, and protect log files. The suite includes a file viewer that has sorting, grouping, and filtering abilities to support analysis. The pack includes pre-written report formats that can be applied to log data stores. These are available in editions to comply with HIPAA, SOX, FISMA, PCI, MiFID, Basel II and other data security standards.
- Uses simple visualizations to help provide at-a-glance insights
- Supports modular pricing, allowing companies to pay only for features they intend to use
- Can monitor LANs, WANs, and cloud-based applications such as container environments
- Available only for Windows Server
- Modular upgrades might not be a good fit if you intend on utilizing all aspects of a networking monitor
- No cloud-based version is available
Price: Progress doesn’t publish its prices for the Log Management Suite.
Official site: https://www.whatsupgold.com/log-management
10. Tripwire Log Center
TripWire Log Center is focused more on the security-minded with tools that excel at identifying and responding to threats while swiftly assuring that all devices and traffic meet proper compliance, even for the most strict regulatory needs!
This software is less of an all encompassing tool and is more of a precision one for making sure that your environment is compliant and secure, and helps assure that by merit of extensive backup and protection features on top of log management and analysis.
- Supports real-time monitoring
- Can scan for vulnerabilities as well as detect and alert to config changes
- Better suited for larger networks
- No free version – only free demo
- Interface could use improvement
Price: Free demo on website, must request quote for pricing information but ballparks in the $7,000 range for the core with additional cost per server/desktop monitored
11. Quest InTrust
Quest InTrust aims to help make managing large amounts of information in a broad environment easier and, ultimately, cheaper as well.
It helps reduce storage and data management costs with intelligent compression and also has excellent features for auditing security practices to be certain regulatory needs are met.
InTrust also has a broad ability to perform analysis on logged events on almost any scale.
- Designed for data collection and management from Event Viewer logs
- Automatically compresses logs to save room – great for local storage or limited disk space
- Supports tamper protection through caching and duplication
- Too many nested menus – it can take a while to find what you’re looking for especially upon the first installation
Price: Free trial, must request quote for pricing information
12. Corner Bowl Server Manager
Previously under the monikers of SpectorSoft andVeriato's Server Manager, Corner Bowl Server Manager is a very cost effective tool, even at the enterprise level, that still offers much of the same power and versatility as some of the other options.
It has a centralized management console for disk monitoring, log management, reporting and alerts.
The program even boasts reports specifically for meeting HIPAA, PCA, and other tough regulatory guidelines that some software would shy away from.
- Supports log collection from Windows as well as Azure AD
- Provides in-depth consolidation features as well as search filters
- Can run compliance reports for HIPAA and PCI DSS
- Better suited for smaller environments, larger networks with 100+ systems may experience slowness
Price: Free trial, 10 node perpetual license as low as $84
LogRhythm is a program that beautifully marries management of logs and events into a single smooth interface.
It handles the gathering of log data from applications and databases alike from all sources available and even has automated archival and retrieval for searching.
A great deal of the management aspect is fully automated, though still able to be manually adjusted as needed.
- Uses simple wizards to setup log collection and other security tasks, making it a more beginner-friendly tool
- Sleek interface, highly customizable, and visually appealing
- Leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning for behavior analysis
- Would like to see a trial option
- Cross-platform support would be a welcomed feature
Price: Online demo available, must request quote for pricing information
SumoLogic is somewhat unique in that it is a primarily cloud-based tool, which means that access need not be restricted by availability of a particular system or operating environment, and grants a great deal more freedom for a technician often traveling.
One of its more unique features is that forensics are run as separate threads which can help to spread and isolate resource use in cloud space.
Lastly, SumoLogic is intelligently segmented, meaning it's incredibly easy to add, and remove, whatever is necessary to have the perfect sized solution for supporting your environment without wasting resources.
- Supports multiple environments (Linux, Windows, and Mac OS)
- Simple installation – Uses wizards to streamline install and add-ons
- Has a host of templates and premade assets making the experience user friendly
- Better suited for small to medium-sized businesses
Price: Free trial, also data-volume limited version freely available, price starts at $90 per 1GB/day, with an annual pre-pay of $108 on monthly billing; different pricing available for enterprise level
Logscape is a somewhat specialized tool but it makes up for that by merit of being quite powerful.
It has almost unlimited ability to visualize, analyze, and search log information of nearly any size, which is something that other programs start to slow down or balk at the prospect of doing!
It's front-end is heavily customizable to make it easier to quickly glimpse the information that is only most pertinent to your needs.
- Extremly flexible – pull data from virtually anywhere
- Offers a free limited version
- The dashboard is highly customizable
- Best for companies processing large amounts of data from various sources
- Requires more technical skills than competing tools
- The interface could use improvement
Price: Free trial with daily data limit, must request quote for pricing information
Across any environment, the amount of logged information is positively staggered – in smaller offices or lesser enterprise situations it may be possible for a capable team of technicians to stay on top of it all, but even then it's ultimately a waste of time.
Having a solid solution for Event Management removes all the guesswork and grunt work from sorting through the vast swathes of data, and powerful real-time analytics and forensics cannot be underestimated when it comes to keeping things running smoothly without dramatic outages or security flaws.
Any environment lacking a reliable solution for keeping a close watch on Event Logs is one that is dangerously unaware of what trouble could already be brewing unseen.
Event Log Monitor Tools for Analyzing SIEM FAQs
What should you look for in Windows Event message management tools?
We reviewed the market for SIEM log managers and analyzed the options based on the following criteria:
- A system that can collect, consolidate, display, file, and manage Windows Event messages
- A service that can integrate Syslog and Event messages
- A dashboard that includes pre-set event analysis
- Automated security breach detection
- The option to load historical records into a data analyzer
- A no-cost assessment period or a free tool
- A good price that offers a bargain for the quality of tools offered or a no-cost tool
What are some common sources of event log data?
Some common sources of event log data include Windows Event Logs, syslog, application logs, and security logs.
How does event log monitoring differ from infrastructure monitoring?
Infrastructure monitoring focuses on the underlying components of a network or IT infrastructure, such as servers, storage devices, and networks, while event log monitoring focuses on the log data generated by these components.
What are some popular tools for event log monitoring?
Some popular tools for event log monitoring include Graylog, SolarWinds Log Analyzer, and LogRhythm.
What are some best practices for event log monitoring?
Some best practices for event log monitoring include regular collection and analysis of log data, integration with other enterprise systems, such as security information and event management (SIEM) systems, and regular review of log data to identify and resolve performance and security issues.
How can event log monitoring help with compliance and security?
Event log monitoring can help with compliance and security by providing a centralized view of log data from multiple sources, allowing organizations to identify and respond to security threats and meet regulatory requirements.