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Top Windows Login monitoring practices

It is usual for enterprise network administrators to execute different security and access control measures for their standard user accounts. It is likely that they neglect service accounts and this mistake becomes vulnerable targets. Owing to security threats from malicious users, it is compulsory to exactly know what is happening in your Windows environment. To do so, you need to monitor and audit user activities over your Windows Server-based network. Windows is known for offering the best security features. But addition of Netware, UNIX and mainframes can give Windows users an edge during basic login session controls. When Windows user logs on, previous logon time is not displayed. In the Windows environment, following are found absent:

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  • Monitoring of logon sessions
  • Reporting of logons and logoffs
  • Control of concurrent logons
  • Group-defined restrictions of workstations and logon times


The data recorded by Windows may be thick, obscure, and poorly documented owing to weird audit settings. Users can monitor logon events as they are useful to gain access to failed attempts. When logon attempts are successful, they render valuable information and ensure that network infrastructure is in a good condition. A successful logon attempts help you get detailed data on users’ activities that are crucial for business productivity and security perspectives. A log management tool is useful for collecting the right user information in accordance to rules and time frameworks established to categorize user activities and manage logon events. Following are some of the top practices for monitoring Windows logins in an effective manner:

  • Setting audit policy: A Windows audit policy makes a link between the type and number of events. It should be monitored to establish configuration for having the best available information. The Audit account logon events policy guides system to record security events during logon or logoff process as it is the best policy to observe all users activities on a particular machine.
  • Workgroup monitoring: In a Windows workgroup, the computer acts as a standalone machine with local security database taking precedence. Hence, logon events, stored in the machine’s security log, need be monitored while NTLM authentication is typically used. You need to enable the Audit logon events category and their security logs for events.
  • Domain monitoring: A security database resides in a Windows domain at the domain level and offers a hierarchy to manage all systems with domain user accounts. Kerberos is used to validate Windows domains. Service tickets and authentication tickets are needed to authenticate a user to the Domain Controller. Here, you need to monitor the Domain Controller security log.
  • Strategic monitoring: Here you need to set your security control criteria. Monitor and log all login and session events across Internet Information Services (IIS), Wi-Fi, terminals, workstations, and VPN.

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