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Why You Should Care About Application Logs?

As technology continues to drive innovation on the business landscape, many business owners are feeling the pressure to become just a little more tech savvy. Between Cloud computing and Internet of Things, professionals have had to expand their baseline tech knowledge.

Application Logs

Understanding the ins and outs of business technology can help company leaders make strategic and more proactive decisions to help drive the business forward. So, in the spirit of expanding tech vocabularies for business owners, let’s explore the term of the day: application logs.

Breaking Down the Basics: What is an Application Log?

In tech jargon, application logs are part of a larger group of logs that track activity including log files, server logs, web server logs or data logs. Technically, application logs are chunks of information that software applications automatically create to track activity and detail events that have been performed or recorded within the application.

Application logs contain information on every trace of activity that happens within an application’s interface including basic logins, errors, security events, informational events, warnings and more. Essentially, these logs are the defining functional elements that govern the ability of applications to exist and interface with users and other programs in the computing universe.

Why It Matters: Here’s Why Business Owners Should Care About Application Logs

So now that we’ve got the definition down, many are probably wondering – why should I care? The key benefit of understanding application logs is that it allows business users to have more granular control of their applications at the back end. It allows IT administrators to better understand what’s happened in the application and in turn, how to address impacts on the larger network.

Insight from application logs makes it easier to avoid problems and optimize application use and management. Basically, strategic application log management allows administrators to be a step ahead of network challenges. It helps to eliminate head scratching and long threads of email trying to describe and diagnose application problems.

Challenges with Log Management: How do Administrators Keep Up?

It’s one thing to understand what application logs are and why they’re important for a larger business strategy – but it’s a whole other thing to put our knowledge into action. Application log data in its pure form is highly technical – stuff only trained tech experts would be able to easily read. Not to mention the fact that for business apps used by entire teams, activity logs move fast, fill up quickly and can be hard to manage.

The key challenges associated with log management include:  

  • VOLUME

The sheer volume of data in application logs can be astronomic – especially if the app has many daily users. As noted, application logs track every moment inside the app’s interface, making the amount of data nearly impossible to analyze manually.

  • SPEED

Application logs move at lightning fast speed, constantly self-updating and refreshing with the latest data. For administrators trying to track a problem, getting ahead of the application log itself can be a tedious and time-consuming log management challenge.

  • NORMALIZING DATA

As mentioned, application log data is often produced in highly technical formats, difficult for non-tech experts to comprehend at face value. Additionally, log data format varies across different applications. Both factors make analyzing the as-is data significantly challenging.

Translating the Tech: How Log Management Tools Turn High-Tech Data into Useful Business Insight

So, for administrators, it becomes clear: the key to making use of application log data is finding ways to break it down into more tangible and useful information. As mentioned, there’s no point in learning this stuff without understanding how to execute business-focused strategies. Not to mention, if log management is highly technical and hard to manage, it hardly sounds like it will make the lives of business administrators easier.

Luckily, most leading tech vendors like Microsoft and Cisco offer application log management tools built directly into their infrastructure. Additionally, there are many online, ‘as-a-service’ tools available that have layered capabilities for narrowing down important data, pulling it out of the rat race and translating it into useful business insight.

Here’s a rundown of how these application log management solutions work:

  • Consolidation

First things first, application log management tools help to consolidate critical data and bring important pieces of info to the forefront. Tools can be set up to consolidate specific types of data to analyze app functionality, security, mobile monitoring and more

  • Archiving

In the spirit of efficient proactivity, application log management tools also help compartmentalize data so it’s easily accessible as needed. If log data isn’t necessary now, there’s still a chance it could be down the road. So, application log management tools quietly archive all log data in the background so its searchable by date and time as needed.

  • Alerting

This is where application log management becomes critical. These intuitive tools are designed to monitor log activity and translate any suspicious activity into real-time alerts for administrators. Basically, implementing an application log management solution is like have a constant set of eyes on application activity, with instant alerts of anything even resembling a threat.

  • Reporting

Finally, application log management solutions use their intuition and log analysis abilities to generate useful reports on app functionality, user trends, and areas of concern. This helps paint a useful ‘big picture’ for administrators who are looking to understand, manage and optimize business app use.

No matter the industry or the application, all businesses stand to benefit from strategic log management. Using automation tools to transform big data into easy-to-manage data subsets can help app administrators better manage and analyze app productivity and security performance. As noted, strategic log monitoring also serves as a company’s frontline ally in detecting app abnormalities and larger network threats

If you’re wondering how to get a better handle on application log management, that’s an amazing first step. Get a solid idea of which app logs you need to manage and try and narrow down the basic information you’d like to get from each. Keeping informed from the very start will help your business better implement log management solutions and in turn, make better use of uncovered insights.

The fast-moving and constantly evolving world of business technology is hard to keep up with. When you have questions about new terms, trends or business tech strategies – don’t ever hesitate to reach out to a local technology firm for guidance and consultation.

Becoming a business tech expert might seem overly complicated, but sometimes all you need is a pro to give you the inside scoop. Don’t be afraid to ask for the low-down – when it comes to your business technology, knowledge is half the battle.