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Nearly every compliance mandate requires IT to establish, maintain, and demonstrate that security access controls are in place around protected data sets. And in networks leveraging Windows servers, the need to audit file servers is necessary to truly ensure compliance.
Microsoft provides plenty of log detail around permission changes, and file and folder access – which can all be used when attempting to meet compliance objectives.
It’s important to remember, Microsoft didn’t design Event Viewer to be an auditing solution; it was designed to simply provide IT pros a centralized application in which to view event data. So, in a scenario where a given file server needs to be audited to demonstrate compliance, there are a few shortcomings:
While this article has placed most of its focus on how bad a fit Event Viewer is for compliance needs, the answer to the question of whether it can help with a compliance audit really depends on the level of detail needed, how often audits occur, and how much time IT has to find the answer. Remember, the answers are in there; it just requires time, patience, some investigative know-how, and an ability to put multiple log entries together intelligently to get your answer.
To find out more about file auditing for compliance, as well as to understand how 3rd party solutions can assist with meeting compliance mandates, read the whitepaper The Role of File Auditing in Compliance.
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