What is User Activity Monitoring and How Should You Implement it?

Philip Robinson by    Published On - 02.28.2019   Auditing

What Does User Activity Monitoring Mean?

User Activity Monitoring (UAM) solutions are software tools that essentially track monitor and alert on the activity and overall behavior of your users. The most common application of user activity monitoring tools is in the detection and prevention of insider threats.

The simple fact is; your users are the most likely source of a data breach in your organization (whether through negligence or malice) so they must be monitored.

Through the implementation of user activity monitoring solutions, enterprises can reduce the amount of time it takes to identify anomalous user behavior and take reparative action.

How Does User Activity Monitoring Work?

The main objective of user activity monitoring is to ensure that users are acting responsibly with data and reduce the risk of data breaches and compliance fines. Some UAM solutions go as far as to monitor user activity on systems, data, applications, web browsing, file and folder access and more.

The type of user activity monitoring you go for will completely depend on your business objectives and what you’re looking to achieve. If, for example, you’re concerned about what your users are doing during sessions then a UAM solution that records sessions will help you. If you’re looking to ensure that users aren’t attempting to access or modify sensitive files and folders, then a UAM solution that monitors file/folder access will help.

Benefits of User Activity Monitoring

There are loads of different tools offering different levels and functionality related to user activity monitoring. Privileged Access Management (PAM) tools, User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA) tools and other forms of general security software offer siloed aspects of user activity monitoring.

There is no complete user activity monitoring software. But, if you’re looking for the most value for your money, then I would suggest you look for a data security platform that offers real time alerting and at least some UEBA functionality.

Data security platforms work to monitor, track and alert on suspicious user behavior on a continuous basis. Users can receive notifications in real time as to anomalous user activity so that they can react in a timely manner.

You do not have to employ a team of people or even one individual to do user activity monitoring. A good data security platform will do most of the work for you in this regard.

5 Tips for Effective User Activity Monitoring – Best Practices

1. Determine What to Watch

As we previously discussed, user activity monitoring involves a variety of things you could potentially prioritize. You need to decide what’s important to you, whether that be session recording, event logging, UEBA and more. What you want to monitor will determine with UAM solution you should go for.

2. Cut Through the Noise

Getting a solution that is able to sift through the large volumes of data generated by event logs and present the information in a readable and actionable format is going to be key in reducing the time it takes to spot and react to a potential data breach.

3. Monitor Privileged Users as a Priority

The users who have access to your sensitive data (trade secrets, PII, intellectual property etc.) are the ones that pose the greatest risk to your data security. As such, you need to be able to identify which users have these permissions and monitor them more closely. You should also keep an eye on permission changes to ensure that permission don’t escalate.

4. Implementing Policies and Practices

This is where most of your users will switch off and be the cause of unintentional data breaches. No-one likes following strict password policies or attending data security awareness training. But these things are essential when it comes to reducing the risk of insider threats. Your challenge is to find a way to get your users to follow these policies.

5. Perfect Your Incident Response Plan

If you or your UAM solution does detect an anomalous user activity or potential data breach in progress, it’s important that you are able to react quickly and efficiently. To do this you will need to have a well thought out and tested incident response plan. All members of the team and all members of the organization should know what to do in the event of a data breach to mitigate the potential damages.

LepideAuditor – A Data Security Platform for Better User Activity Monitoring

LepideAuditor is an award-winning data security platform that combines many of the user activity monitoring features that would otherwise be siloed. It enables users to find out where their sensitive data is, see who has access to it, monitor user activity (including anomaly spotting) and ensure their environment is security.

It also comes pre-packaged with those all-important real-time alerts and pre-defined reports that will help you save both time and money.

Come and see how LepideAuditor can help you improve your data security and reduce the risk of compliance fines. Take a demo of LepideAuditor today.