In order to create purposeful custom reports, you must consider the attributes or key pieces of information that you want to retrieve and analyze. This consideration guides you in making the following selections in a custom report:
The data file that is used to generate the report. The firewall offers two types of data sources—Summary databases and Detailed logs.
Summary databases are available for traffic, threat, and application statistics. The firewall aggregates the detailed logs on traffic, application, and threat at 15-minute intervals. The data is condensed—duplicate sessions are grouped together and incremented with a repeat counter, and some attributes (or columns) are not included in the summary—to allow faster response time when generating reports.
Detailed logs are itemized and are a complete listing of all the attributes (or columns) that pertain to the log entry. Reports based on detailed logs take much longer to run and are not recommended unless absolutely necessary.
The columns that you want to use as the match criteria. The attributes are the columns that are available for selection in a report. From the list of
Available Columns, you can add the selection criteria for matching data and for aggregating the details (the
Sort By/ Group By
criteria allow you to organize/segment the data in the report; the sorting and grouping attributes available vary based on the selected data source.
The Sort By option specifies the attribute that is used for aggregation. If you do not select an attribute to sort by, the report will return the first N number of results without any aggregation.
The Group By option allows you to select an attribute and use it as an anchor for grouping data; all the data in the report is then presented in a set of top 5, 10, 25 or 50 groups. For example, when you select Hour as the Group By selection and want the top 25 groups for a 24-hr time period, the results of the report will be generated on an hourly basis over a 24-hr period. The first column in the report will be the hour and the next set of columns will be the rest of your selected report columns.
The following example illustrates how the
criteria work together when generating reports:
The columns circled in red (above) depict the columns selected, which are the attributes that you match against for generating the report. Each log entry from the data source is parsed and these columns are matched on. If multiple sessions have the same values for the selected columns, the sessions are aggregated and the repeat count (or sessions) is incremented.
The column circled in blue indicates the chosen sort order. When the sort order (
Sort By) is specified, the data is sorted (and aggregated) by the selected attribute.
The column circled in green indicates the
selection, which serves as an anchor for the report. The
column is used as a match criteria to filter for the top N groups. Then, for each of the top N groups, the report enumerates the values for all the other selected columns.
For example, if a report has the following selections:
The output will display as follows:
The report is anchored by
and sorted by
Sessions. It lists the 5 days (
5 Groups) with maximum traffic in the
Last 7 Days
time frame. The data is enumerated by the
sessions for each day for the selected columns—
The date range for which you want to analyze data. You can define a custom range or select a time period ranging from last 15 minutes to the last 30 days. The reports can be run on demand or scheduled to run at a daily or weekly cadence.
The query builder allows you to define specific queries to further refine the selected attributes. It allows you see just what you want in your report using
operators and a match criteria, and then include or exclude data that matches or negates the query in the report. Queries enable you to generate a more focused collation of information in a report.