Cloud Audit Logs to help you with audit and compliance needs

Not having a full view of administrative actions in your Google Cloud Platform projects can make it challenging and slow going to troubleshoot when an important application breaks or stops working. It can also make it difficult to monitor access to sensitive data and resources managed by your project. That’s why we created Google Cloud Audit Logs, and today they’re available in beta for App Engine and BigQuery. Cloud Audit Logs help you with your audit and compliance needs by enabling you to track the actions of administrators in your Google Cloud Platform projects. They consist of two log streams: Admin Activity and Data Access.

Admin Activity audit logs contain an entry for every administrative action or API call that modifies the configuration or metadata for the related application, service or resource, for example, adding a user to a project, deploying a new version in App Engine or creating a BigQuery dataset. You can inspect these actions across your projects on the Activity page in the Google Cloud Platform Console.

activity stream.png

Data Access audit logs contain an entry for every one of the following events:
  • API calls that read the configuration or metadata of an application, service or resource
  • API calls that create, modify or read user-provided data managed by a service (e.g. inserting data into a dataset or launching a query in BigQuery)

Currently, only BigQuery generates a Data Access log as it manages user-provided data, but ultimately all Cloud Platform services will provide a Data Access log.

There are many additional uses of Audit Logs beyond audit and compliance needs. In particular, the BigQuery team has put together a collection of examples that show how you can use Audit Logs to better understand your utilization and spending on BigQuery. We’ll be sharing more examples in future posts.

Accessing the Logs
Both of these logs are available in Google Cloud Logging, which means that you’ll be able to view the individual log entries in the Logs Viewer as well as take advantage of the many logs management capabilities available, including exporting the logs to Google Cloud Storage for long-term retention, streaming to BigQuery for real-time analysis and publishing to Google Cloud Pub/Sub to enable processing via Google Cloud Dataflow. The specific content and format of the logs can be found in the Cloud Logging documentation for Audit Logs.

Audit Logs are available to you at no additional charge. Applicable charges for using other Google Cloud Platform services (such as BigQuery and Cloud Storage) as well as streaming logs to BigQuery will still apply. As we find more ways to provide greater insight into administrative actions in GCP projects, we’d love to hear your feedback. Share it here: [email protected].

Posted by Joe Corkery, Product Manager, Google Cloud Platform