Original Issuance Date:  June 9, 2021 

Last Revision Date:   March 8, 2022

Effective Date:            July 1, 2022 

1. Policy Purpose 

The purpose of this policy is to establish a consistent expectation of security logging and monitoring practices across the University of Wisconsin (UW) System to aid in the early identification and forensics of security events. 

2. Responsible UW System Officer 

Associate Vice President (AVP) for Information Security 

3. Scope and Institutional Responsibilities 

This policy applies to all UW System institutions, including UW System Administration. 

This policy applies to all high impact systems or any UW owned or leased IT assets that require special attention to security due to increased risk of harm resulting from loss, misuse, or unauthorized access to or modification of information or configurations therein. Where practical, externally hosted systems and services should be logged to the same standard as local services. Employee workstations may be included within the scope of this policy at the discretion of each institution’s Information Security Officer (ISO). 

4. Background 

The President of the University of Wisconsin System is empowered to establish information security polices under Regent Policy Document 25-5, Information Technology: Information Security. The UW System is committed to a secure information technology (IT) environment in support of its mission. 

Without appropriate security logging and monitoring, an attacker’s activities may go unnoticed, and logs necessary to investigate such events may not be available. Ensuring system logs are available and monitored consistently will aid in the early identification of security events and may help prevent security incidents or minimize the potential impact of incidents. 

5. Definitions 

Please see SYS 1000Information Security: General Terms and Definitions, for a list of general terms and definitions. Terms and definitions found within this policy include: 

  • High Impact System
  • IT Asset

6. Policy Statement 

A. Required Logging Activities

All hosts and networking equipment must perform security log generation for all system components. Institutions shall ensure that each logging host’s clock is synched to a common time source, whenever feasible. 

All hosts and networking equipment must issue alerts on security log processing failures, such as software/hardware errors, failures in the log capturing mechanisms, and log storage capacity being reached or exceeded. All alerts must be as close to real time as possible.

B. Centralized Logging Requirements

All security events (Appendix A) for High Impact Systems must be transferred to a managed logging service in real-time or as quickly as technology allows. Systems running workstation operating systems which are used for shared services, such as shared file storage or web services, must also satisfy these requirements. Log integrity for consolidated log infrastructure needs to be preserved, such as storing logs in read-only. 

C. Required Monitoring Activities

Processes must be developed and implemented to review logs for all systems to identify anomalies or suspicious activity. Where possible, security baselines should be developed, and automated monitoring tools used, to generate alerts when exceptions are detected. Systems that are monitored for anomalies or suspicious activity through a managed logging service are not required to be further monitored for the same activity locally, however such dual monitoring is encouraged. 

D. Authorized Personnel

Logs shall be secured by limiting access to individuals whose access is needed to perform their job and protect files from unauthorized modifications. Access to log management systems must be recorded. 

E. Retention

Electronic logs that are created due to the monitoring outlined in this policy should be maintained and readily available for a minimum of 30 days. Systems that collect logs must maintain sufficient storage space to meet the minimum requirements for both readily available and retained logs. Storage planning must account for log bursts or increases in storage requirements that could reasonably be expected to result from system issues, including security. 

7. Related Documents 

Regent Policy Document 25-5, Information Technology: Information Security 

UW System Information Security Program

NIST SP 800-92 Guide to Computer Security Log Management 

8. Policy History 

Revision 1: March 8, 2022

First approved: June 9, 2021 

9. Scheduled Review  

July 2023