EventSentry v2.90: Compliance Tracking for SOX, PCI, GLBA, HIPAA, FISMA, COBIT, …

This is round two in the new features available in EventSentry v2.90, and this time I’ll be covering the new compliance features.

Even though EventSentry was not originally designed to help with compliance, its event log consolidation capabilities made it an effective and economical solution to help our customers with their various compliance efforts throughout the years.

But while being able to filter and search through security events is helpful, it is not enough to quickly create reports that group information based on key elements, such as user creations, group modifications, policy changes and more.

In version 2.90 we addressed this by creating the new Compliance Tracking features which are based on the previous Tracking features.

This means that in addition to the “standard” event log consolidation that simply collects events and records them as is, compliance tracking intercepts specific events (e.g. account creation, logon/logoff, process creation), parses them, extracts the required information and records the relevant information in the EventSentry database.

Compliance Tracking covers the following auditing areas in Windows:

  1. Process Activity
  2. Console & Network Logons
  3. File Access Activity
  4. Account Management (User, Group & Computer accounts)
  5. Policy Changes
  6. Print Jobs

For example, finding out which group memberships changed over the last week is matter of two clicks in the web reports – and restricting a report to only reflect a particular group and/or action is just as easy.

But let me briefly outline the benefits of the individual tracking features:

Process Tracking
This feature records all process activity and lets you know which processes where started when, by whom, for how long and from which computer. This feature is not only useful for security purposes, but also helpful when troubleshooting or requiring statistical information (e.g. how often is PowerPoint being run).

Logon Tracking
This component tracks everything logon-related on your network, including console, successful as well as failed network logons. Using the console logon tracking for example, you can generate reports that show what time users logon and logoff, including from which computer, whether they are local admin and more details. Using the new network logon tracking, you can track successful as well as failed network logons. The included reports can reveal information such as which users logged on with a failed password, logon protocol distribution, most common reason for failed logons and more.

File Access Tracking
This feature is new in v2.90 and tracks all successful file access activity that has been enabled on files or directories. EventSentry does this by intercepting audit events that are generated when files or folders which are being audited. Since Windows Server 2003 and earlier don’t actually audit when objects are changed, but instead only audit the requested file access (click here for a related post), EventSentry can perform additional checks and verifications to complement the native auditing capabilities of the OS – such as checksum creation. Of course EventSentry also gathers additional information – such as the source computer from where a change was made.

Account Management Tracking
Also new in v2.90 is account management tracking, which encompasses user, group and computer account management tracking. This feature really makes life easier when you deal with large quantities of user, group and / or computer account changes.

For example, tracking a users group membership changes – even across computers and domains – is only a few mouse clicks away. Do you need to know which computer accounts were created in the last week in your domain? This only takes three clicks in the web reports.

Policy Change Tracking
Another feature added in v2.90, policy change tracking records the following “policy” events:

  • Domain Policy Changes
  • Audit Policy Changes
  • Kerberos Policy Changes
  • User Right Changes
  • Logon Right Changes
  • Trust Relationship Changes

Again, getting information about any of the above scenarios is extremely easy – such as seeing which user/logon rights were assigned in the last week or on which server the password policy was changed in the last 2 weeks.

Since none of tracking features are limited to hard-coded reports but instead are easily adaptable, they not only make your auditors happy – they provide you with valuable information. This allows you to utilize EventSentry not only for compliance but many other tasks, whether is security-related, for troubleshooting or something else.

As always, please see the documentation for more information. You can take a look at version history as well for a complete list of changes and new features in the 2.90 release of EventSentry.