Product: LepideAuditor Suite Version 15.0
LepideAuditor Suite offers a composite platform to audit and monitor changes to Active Directory, Group Policy Objects, Exchange Server, SQL Server, and SharePoint Server. Software ensures business continuity by monitoring all configuration changes within IT environment. You get explicit answers for Who, What, When and Where questions related to all changes. It provides a single console to audit, report, review and alert on changes done to the important network components. Let’s review the SQL Server Audit part of this tool.
It is a Robust and amazing product which meets all your Instance and DB level auditing requirements. Report scheduling, Alerts and getting custom reports in your mailbox are a few out of the box features which makes this product outstanding.
1. Installation & Configuration
Installation is very easy, just like any other ordinary software. To start Auditing you’ve to first register your SQL Server Instance, configure a certain things & install Monitoring agent.
Let’s see how to register an Instance and what all parameters we can configure, after launching the product for the first time, go to settings tab and you’ll get this dialogue box.
Once you select SQL Server, you’ll get dialogue box to connect to the SQL instance you wish to Monitor and from the same console you’ll be able to install Lepide Agent.
Once the agent is installed properly you’ll get the configuration console to configure the monitoring scope of the tool. The screenshots below are self-explanatory.
Once the agent is installed you can configure the SQL Instance where LepideAuditor Suite can keep all Audit logs and you can provide the name of the DB.
What I liked the most is the inbuilt feature to schedule the Archival of audit data – this is obviously optional but a great feature.
What happens under the hood?
To make this kind of robust auditing possible LepideAuditor Suite creates:
a. Couple of Stored Procedures in your Master Database
b. Creates a new Database named “LepideSQLTracker” (Customizable)
c. SQL Agent Job
d. SQL Server Login
Auditing is a basic need for every production environment but in some cases it becomes mandatory due to regulatory & compliance requirements like SOX, HIPPA etc. LepideAuditor Suite for SQL Server not only handles all those compliance requirements it also generates presentable reports for the same.
3. Is it really required?
You must be wondering why we need a tool when you can do all this yourself with the help of in-built SQL Features and some coding. Yes you are correct you can do so but this tool gives you much more than the basic auditing features. There is virtually no way to skip the tracking, it gives you an option to generate reports in multiple formats, and you can schedule reports and get those reports right in your mailbox. You can even configure alerts on events. You’ll realize the true power of this tool when you have more than just couple of servers, in those situations this tool helps you to manage the auditing from a single console and empower you to have a standard in all aspects be-it Reporting, tracking and monitoring changes, auditing or archiving of the logs.
This tool also provide you graphical representation of changes and you get multiple filter options. Moreover you get the actual T-SQL Statements of the changes which were executed along with the tracking\auditing records.
You can also create real-time monitoring alerts using the console. You don’t even have to change anything and worry about having different versions of SQL Server in your environment since the tool supports all SQL versions starting from SQL 2000 till SQL Server 2014.
Here are couple of screenshots of the console to show you how the console looks like:
Dashboard: There is a default Dashboard which has 6 different & most common things, but you can also customize it based on your needs, moreover you can also add another dashboard.
Alerts: you can schedule reports or create alerts to be delivered directly to your mailbox.
Audit Reports: there are tons of reports already available which you can extract.
Easy to use UI and you can easily play with columns and re-arrange them
Live Feed: I am sure you must have noticed Live Updates console by now, this is the coolest thing added in this version, in this console you get to see all changes in almost real time.
There are 6 different graphs visible on the main SQL Instance level and you can change the timeline for each graph individually to select whether you want to see changes made during last day, week or month.
Nice and Presentable Reports
The tool itself let you export the reports in different formats like CSV, PDF or HTML, apart from that you also get a chance to export those nice looking presentable graphs as Images.
Why this is a Robust Product?
Every tool has some bugs or loopholes. The malicious users make use of those loopholes to do the unexpected without being trapped but in this tool there is no easy way out. I tested couple of scenarios to see if I can temporarily stop the monitoring or find a way to hide the activities but the tool was able to track each and every little activity. Here are the scenarios I tested:
a. Stopped the SQL Agent Service.
b. Disabled the default trace.
c. Stopped the monitoring itself from the Lepide console.
I personally recommend this tool.
You can download the trial version from here….