Azure audit logs receive a UX refresh for improved auditing

Kit McDonald

Microsoft, Application Insights, HockeyApp, Mobile Apps

As a result of feedback, Microsoft Azure announced today that the Azure audit logs have been improved for a richer experience. The Azure audit logs were originally announced three months ago at the beginning of April. The goal of allowing users to export the audit logs was to give them deeper insights on the use of Azure resources. It gathers this knowledge by capturing all 0of the write operations and accumulating them into a log that helps troubleshoot and monitor how resources are modified.

Thanks to the team listening to consumers, the UX is now getting a list of new functionalities. Some of them include:

  • Upfront filter experience, reducing horizontal scrolling
  • Graph lookup for user/service principal information
  • Quick Insights
  • Queries – reuse commonly-used filters
  • Pin queries to dashboard
  • Unified results view
  • Contextual summary information
  • Download CSV files

Apparently users were frustrated trying to navigate through the search functions, so that was an obvious addition to the UI. You can now search through filters such as resource type, operation, subscription, event category, timespan, and more without opening new blades.

Also added to the top of Azure portal are the Quick Insights. This handy bar will give you the most recent changes in your resources. The numbers of failed deployments, role assignments, errors, alerts fired, and outage incidents will be displayed on the top right of the Azure portal. Clicking on them will fill out the search filters instantly to the chosen variation.

You can now save common filters now to reuse in two types of ways. With the save button,  queries will be added to the drop down menu for quick access. Likewise, a pin button has been added to the toolbar. Pinning your search queries will attach them to your Azure dashboard and you can add as many of them as you want.

With other basic additions such as contextual summaries that explain exactly why you got that error or who shared what resources, the Azure portal and audit logs truly does provide a better user experience. It’s a major step in the right direction, but all feedback is appreciated and considered through the forums.

The Azure audit logs are only available for free up to 90 days. However, you are able to retain copies of the data by choosing to export the logs. Or you can stream the data onto your event hub.