User activity monitoring refers to the process of tracking and controlling the activities of end-users on computers, networks, and other IT resources controlled by businesses using software solutions. To help identify and avoid insider attacks, whether accidental or with malicious intent, many companies introduce user activity logging and monitoring software. Businesses can more easily detect suspicious behavior and mitigate risks by incorporating user activity logging and monitoring before they lead to data breaches.
User Activity Monitoring: How Does It Work?
User activity logging and monitoring aim at safeguarding data while maintaining accessibility and compliance with data privacy and security regulations. UAM goes beyond merely tracking the operation of networks. Instead, all forms of user behavior may be monitored, including all devices, content, program, and network actions taken by users, such as their web browsing behavior, whether users access unauthorized or sensitive data, and the like.
Different approaches are used to track and control user behaviors, such as:
- Video recordings of sessions
- Network packet inspection
- User activity logging and analysis
- Kernel monitoring
- Keystroke logging
User Activity Monitoring: The Benefits
The aim of any monitoring program for user behavior should be to identify and filter out actionable information that is useful in efforts to protect data. You can quickly identify and investigate suspicious user behavior with appropriate solutions in place. If users upload sensitive data to public clouds, use non-approved services and apps, or participate in some other form of risky behavior when using the network or resources of the organization, you will also find out.
It also helps to have alerts in real-time along with comprehensive past activity reporting. The questions to be answered are: Who did what, where, and when? Monitoring user behavior helps detect abuse and reduce the risk of undesirable activities that can lead to infections of malware or data breaches. It also helps minimize enforcement costs while providing the information needed to strengthen security measures.
User Activity Monitoring: Best Practices
A significant line of protection against data breaches and other cybersecurity compromises is user activity monitoring. Many IT security teams lack visibility into and control over how confidential information is accessed and used by their users that exposes them to internal attacks or outside attackers who have gained access to systems. User activity monitoring best practices include:
- Users should be aware of the surveillance and should consent to be tracked for their sessions. Often, in contractual arrangements or user agreements, this acknowledgment is included.
- Adopt the Principle of Least Privilege. Enable privilege access only for users who need it for the desired work output. It is not necessary to offer unrestricted access to privileged users.
- Lower the number of shared accounts and enforce stringent policies for passwords. To ensure the account passwords are complex, exclusive, and are never exchanged or reused, implement policies. Be cautious about finding stolen credentials.
- Establish robust authentication protocols, such as multi-factor authentication (MFA), for privileged accounts.
- Manage remote access via protocols based on the business. Deny channels for protocols such as file transfers between members of the community, port forwarding, etc.
- Collect and store forensic data from the chain of custody, including capture files, screenshots, and keystrokes. In their complete sense, recreate events.
- Organizations can develop and enforce data security policies in addition to enforcing user activity logging and monitoring solutions. These could include such aspects as appropriate file-sharing activity, managing instructions for sensitive data, approved services and applications, and other policies specifying reasonable use. Educate consumers through ongoing information security awareness initiatives on these measures as well as the right cybersecurity behaviors.
For companies today, user activity monitoring is an essential component of data security. Enterprises can consider deploying the latest data security and analytics solutions that offer enhanced visibility and granular control into user behavior with real-time analytics. This ensures data security and boosts productivity as well.