Tech Tip Tuesday – What is an Authentication and Audit Trail?


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What are Authentication and Audit Trails?


Authentication verifies user credentials, like passwords, smart cards, or biometrics to grant authorized access while employing safeguards against unauthorized access to ensure security and data integrity.

An audit trail, or log, keeps chronological records of system activities, documenting user actions, data changes, and access attempts.

The primary purposes for authentication and audit trails are the following:

Authentication: Identity Verification

Ensures that users are who they claim to be, which supports the prevention of unauthorized access and protects sensitive information.

Authentication: Access Control and Security

Safeguards data, systems, and resources from unauthorized access and security breaches by confirming user identity, which ensures proper access levels within a system.

Audit Trail: Accountability

Provides a means of attributing actions and activities to specific individuals, which increases accountability for their actions within an information system.

Audit Trail: Compliance and Governance

Helps organizations demonstrate compliance with regulatory requirements, industry standards, and internal policies by providing a record of activities and events.

Audit Trail: Problem Solving and Forensic Analysis

Assists with identifying issues, understanding the cause of events, and resolving problems. They’re crucial for forensic analysis which allows for better investigation of security incidents and detection of potential vulnerabilities.

Audit Trail: Monitoring and Detection

Allows organizations to monitor their systems to detect and respond to suspicious activities, anomalies, or policy violations in a timely manner.



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