November Meeting – Garbage in, garbage out: generating useful log data in complex environments

Garbage in, garbage out: generating useful log data in complex environments
Speaker: Ellen Hartstack and Matthew Sullivan
Date: Wednesday, November 16th
Time: 6-7pm (doors open at 5:30)
Where: (2900 University Blvd, Ames)
Log messages. Your company probably has billions of them; but are they useful, or just noise? Having meaningful log data is a critical part of running a successful IT shop or hosted web application. How often does your user hit that weird edge-case bug? How many times has this IP address accessed our web front-end using a non-standard browser? How much processing time could we save our customer by refactoring that one function? In many environments, finding answers to these types of questions can be difficult or even impossible. Sure, the data might be there, but is it even useful? In this sysadmin and developer-focused talk, we’ll discuss ways to provide more meaningful and parsable log data, whether using an off-the-shelf product, open source, or written in-house. We’ll also briefly demonstrate how tools like Splunk or ELK stack can be leveraged to make better decisions, saving time and money. 
Speaker Bios
Ellen Hartstack wears several hats as either a system administrator, data scientist, or security analyst, depending on the day. Ellen has worked in both the public and private sectors, and enjoys helping teams make data-driven decisions as efficiently as possible. 
Matthew Sullivan is a pentester, developer, and security analyst living in Ames, Iowa. Matthew is the co-founder of the OWASP Ames chapter, creator of the Cookie Cadger HTTP session auditing tool, and an occasional presenter to both technical and non-technical audiences at various conferences and seminars.