Looker: Audit Logging and Monitoring


This guide delves into Looker's audit logging and monitoring, highlighting configuration, key log insights, tool integration, and practices for data security and operational efficiency.

To maintain the integrity, security, and efficiency of data operations in Looker, effective audit logging and monitoring are indispensable. This guide outlines the core aspects of Looker's audit logging capabilities and provides insights on effective monitoring practices.

1. Understanding Audit Logging in Looker

1.1. What is Audit Logging? Audit logging is the process of automatically recording events or changes, allowing for a clear understanding of activities and helping detect irregularities.

1.2. Benefits of Audit Logging

  • Accountability: Track user activities.
  • Troubleshooting: Identify issues based on recorded events.
  • Compliance: Meet data governance and regulatory requirements.

2. Setting Up Audit Logs in Looker

2.1. Accessing Audit Logs

  • Navigate to the 'Admin' panel.
  • Under 'Server Admin', select 'Audit Log View'.

2.2. Configuring Log Retention Determine how long logs should be retained. Consider regulatory requirements and storage implications.

3. Key Audit Log Entries

3.1. User Activity

  • Login/logout timestamps.
  • Failed login attempts.
  • Data access and modifications.

3.2. System Changes

  • Changes to LookML models.
  • Updates or modifications to dashboards and Looks.
  • Changes to user roles and permissions.

3.3. Data Export Activities Monitor when and what data gets exported, especially if sensitive information is involved.

4. Monitoring Audit Logs

4.1. Regular Reviews Set a schedule to routinely review logs, identifying patterns and anomalies.

4.2. Automated Alerts Configure alerts for specific events, e.g., multiple failed login attempts.

4.3. Third-party Integration Consider integrating with SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) systems for comprehensive monitoring.

5. Best Practices for Effective Logging

5.1. Principle of Least Privilege Limit access to audit logs to authorized personnel only.

5.2. Periodic Backups Regularly backup audit logs to ensure data retention and recovery.

5.3. User Training Train users on the significance of logs and educate them on security protocols.

6. Looker's Usage Statistics

6.1. Accessing Usage Stats Navigate to 'Admin' > 'Usage' to view statistics regarding query run times, popular models, and more.

6.2. Interpreting Statistics Usage stats can offer insights into system performance, popular data sources, and potential bottlenecks.

7. Integrating External Monitoring Tools

Consider integration with monitoring tools like:

  • Splunk: For advanced log analytics.
  • Datadog: For real-time monitoring and alerts.
  • Elasticsearch: To store, search, and analyze logs effectively.

Audit logging and monitoring in Looker provide a secure, compliant, and efficient data environment. Regular reviews, combined with automated processes and integrations, ensure that any potential issues are swiftly identified and addressed. This guide offers a foundational understanding, but always refer to Looker's official documentation for detailed instructions and the latest features.