Logging and reporting overview – FortiOS 6

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 of a 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.

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.

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