Chapter 18 – Logging and Reporting

Chapter 18 – Logging and Reporting

This FortiOS Handbook chapter contains the following sections:

Logging and reporting overview provides general information about logging. We recommend that you begin with this chapter as it contains information for both beginners and advanced users as well. It contains an explanation of log messages, files, and devices, and an overview of the Reporting functions.

Logging and reporting for small networks provides an overview of setting up a small network for logging, with a look at a possible setup with a backup solution and a customized report.

Logging and reporting for large networks provides an overview of setting up a larger, enterprise-level network, with configuration of multiple FortiGate units, multiple FortiAnalyzer units as a backup solution, and a sample procedure for creating a more intensive and broad report to suit the larger network.

Advanced logging provides a series of separate tutorials for possible tasks and procedures an advanced user may want to undertake with their FortiGate-powered network. It contains explanations of advanced backup, logging, and report solutions.

Troubleshooting and logging provides a short overview of how log messages can be used to identify and solve problems within the network, how to identify and solve logging database issues, and how to solve connection issues between FortiGate and FortiAnalyzer units.


Logging and reporting overview

Logging and reporting in FortiOS can help you in determining what is happening on your network, as well as informing you of certain network activity, such as detection ofa virus or IPsec VPN tunnel errors. Logging and reporting go hand in hand, and can become a valuable tool for information as well as helping to show others the activity that is happening on the network.

This section explains logging and reporting features that are available in FortiOS, and how they can be used to help you manage or troubleshoot issues. This includes how the FortiGate unit records logs, what a log message is, and what the log database is.


What is logging?

Logging records the traffic passing through the FortiGate unit to your network and what action the FortiGate unit took during its scanning process of the traffic. This recorded information is called a log message.

After a log message is recorded, it is stored within a log file which is then stored on a log device. A log device is a central storage location for log messages. The FortiGate unit supports several log devices, such as FortiAnalyzer units, the FortiCloud service, and Syslog servers. A FortiGate unit’s system memory and local disk can also be configured to store logs, and because of this, are also considered log devices.

You must subscribe to FortiCloud before you will be able to configure the FortiGate unit to send logs to a FortiCloud server.

When the recorded activity needs to be read in a more human way, the FortiGate unit can generate a Report. A report gathers all the log information that is needed for the report, and presents it in a graphical format, with customizable design and automatically generated charts. Reports can be used to present a graphical representation of what is going on in the network. Reports can also be generated on a FortiAnalyzer unit; if you want to generate reports on a FortiAnalyzer, see the FortiAnalyzer Setup and Administration Guide to help you create and generate those reports.


How the FortiGate unit records log messages

The FortiGate unit records log messages in a specific order, storing them on a log device. The order of how the FortiGate unit records log messages is as follows:

1. Incoming traffic is scanned.

2. During the scanning process, the FortiGate unit performs necessary actions, and simultaneously records the actions and results.

3. Log messages are sent to the log device.


Example: How the FortiGate unit records a DLP event

1. The FortiGate unit receives incoming traffic and scans for any matches associated within its firewall policies containing a DLP sensor.

2. A match is found; the DLP sensor, dlp_sensor, had a rule within it called All-HTTP with the action Exempt applied to the rule. The sensor also has Enable Logging selected, which indicates to the FortiGate unit that the activity should be recorded and placed in the DLP log file.

3. The FortiGate unit exempts the match, and places the recorded activity (the log message) within the DLP log file.

4. According to the log settings that were configured, logs are stored on the FortiGate unit’s local hard drive. The FortiGate unit places the DLP log file on the local hard drive.

This entry was posted in FortiOS 5.4 Handbook and tagged on by .

About Mike

Michael Pruett, CISSP has a wide range of cyber-security and network engineering expertise. The plethora of vendors that resell hardware but have zero engineering knowledge resulting in the wrong hardware or configuration being deployed is a major pet peeve of Michael's. This site was started in an effort to spread information while providing the option of quality consulting services at a much lower price than Fortinet Professional Services. Owns PacketLlama.Com (Fortinet Hardware Sales) and Office Of The CISO, LLC (Cybersecurity consulting firm).

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