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How to monitor and report security events in Microsoft Entra ID

In Microsoft Entra ID (Azure Active Directory), monitoring and reporting capabilities are vital for safeguarding your organization. They act as vigilant guards, detecting and responding to potential threats within the Microsoft 365 environment. By tracking security events and providing detailed reports, you can stay ahead of cyber risks and maintain a secure digital ecosystem where your data remains protected.

Microsoft Entra Logs

Microsoft Entra logs provide useful information about user activities in your Azure account. These logs help you understand and report on user behavior. There are two main types of logs to focus on when looking at user behavior:

  1. Sign-in Logs: These logs detail all user activities and the apps that requested login confirmations. They show who is accessing your network and when.
  2. Audit Logs: These logs record the actions taken by users or groups when they sign into your network. They provide a detailed record of user activities in your environment.

Additionally, security logs highlight unusual activity, focusing on potential security risks such as:

  • Risky Sign-ins: Data about user accounts with abnormal login behavior, indicating possible security threats.
  • Users Flagged for Risk: Information about user accounts flagged as potentially risky or suspicious.

Tools and Functionalities

Microsoft Entra ID offers a range of tools and functionalities to monitor and report on security incidents within your identity and access management (IAM) system.

1. Accessing the Activity Log

The Microsoft Entra admin center aids in investigating security issues, responding promptly, and automating security processes. It utilizes:

  • Microsoft Graph API
  • Azure Monitor Logs
  • Microsoft Sentinel

These tools provide real-time activity tracking, log analysis within the Azure interface, and exporting logs for storage and analysis.

2. Monitoring Data and Health of Tenants

Review Microsoft Entra activity logs, assess data integrity, monitor risky events, and make informed decisions. Activity logs can be sent to Azure Monitor Logs, Microsoft Sentinel, or a third-party SIEM tool for analysis. Logs can also be forwarded to Event Hub for further monitoring integration.

3. Identifying Behavior

Monitor Office 365 logs for actions related to Entra ID usage, such as adding client secrets, creating user accounts, or connecting named pipes to Active Directory Federation Services. Establish detection rules for security operations based on logs from Office 365 and Azure within Entra ID. Focus on monitoring sign-in activities and audit events for Entra ID and other cloud applications.

4. Reporting and Visualization

Create an interactive workbook in Azure Monitor to visualize security event data with charts, graphs, and other visualizations. Integrate Entra ID data with Power BI for comprehensive reporting and data exploration. Connect Entra ID to third-party SIEM tools for complete security monitoring, including data from multiple sources.

Best Practices for Entra ID Monitoring and Reporting

Improve the efficiency of Entra ID’s monitoring and reporting by following these best practices:

1. Enable Audit Logging

Ensure that the logging feature in Azure Active Directory is turned on to track all security-related activities. Set up rules for recording events that matter for your security and legal needs.

2. Centralize Log Collection

Collect and consolidate all security event logs from various sources into a single logging platform or SIEM system. Centralizing log management, correlation, and analysis provides comprehensive visibility into the entire IT environment.

3. Implement Real-Time Alerts

Set up real-time alerts for vital security events to enable prompt incident response. Define threshold-based indicators for unusual activities, such as multiple failed sign-in attempts or privilege escalation, to detect and mitigate potential threats in a timely manner.

4. Regularly Review and Analyze Logs

Regularly review and analyze Entra ID security event logs to identify patterns, anomalies, and emerging threats. Conduct periodic audits to ensure compliance with security policies and regulatory requirements, and promptly investigate any suspicious activities.

5. Constantly Update Security Policies

Regularly review and update security policies based on insights gathered from Entra ID security event monitoring. Adapt security controls and access management strategies to address evolving threats and business requirements, ensuring a proactive security posture.

Microsoft Entra ID’s powerful security event monitoring and reporting can help you proactively identify potential threats, quickly investigate incidents, and maintain a high level of security in your organization’s environment.

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