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An audit trail (also called audit log) is a security-relevant chronological record, set of records, and/or destination and source of records that provide documentary evidence of the sequence of activities that have affected at any time a specific operation, procedure, event, or device. Audit records typically result from activities such as financial transactions, scientific research and health care data transactions, or communications by individual people, systems, accounts, or other entities.
The process that creates an audit trail is typically required to always run in a privileged mode, so it can access and supervise all actions from all users; a normal user should not be allowed to stop/change it. Furthermore, for the same reason, the trail file or database table with a trail should not be accessible to normal users. Another way of handling this issue is through the use of a role-based security model in the software. The software can operate with the closed-looped controls, or as a 'closed system', as required by many companies when using audit trail functionality.
In telecommunication, the term means a record of both completed and attempted accesses and service, or data forming a logical path linking a sequence of events, used to trace the transactions that have affected the contents of a record.
In information or communications security, information audit means a chronological record of system activities to enable the reconstruction and examination of the sequence of events and/or changes in an event. Information put away or transmitted in paired structure that might be depended upon in court. An audit trail is a progression of records of computer data about a working framework, an application, or client exercises. Computer frameworks may have a few audit trails each gave to a specific sort of action[circular reference]. Related to proper apparatuses and systems, audit trails can help with distinguishing security infringement, execution issues and application issues. Routine log audits and investigation are valuable for distinguishing security episodes, approach infringement, fake movement, and operational issues soon after they have happened, and for giving information valuable to settling such issues. Audit logs can likewise be valuable for performing forensic investigation, supporting the associations inside examinations, setting up baselines, and distinguishing operational patterns and long run issues.
In nursing research, it refers to the act of maintaining a running log or journal of decisions relating to a research project, thus making clear the steps taken and changes made to the original protocol.
In accounting, it refers to documentation of detailed transactions supporting summary ledger entries. This documentation may be on paper or on electronic records.
In online proofing, it pertains to the version history of a piece of artwork, design, photograph, video, or web design proof in a project.
In clinical research, server based systems such as clinical trial management systems (CTMS) require audit trails. Anything regulatory or QA/QC related also requires audit trails.
In pharmaceutical manufacturing, it is a Good Manufacturing Practice regulatory requirement software generate audit trails, but not all software have audit trail functionality built-in. The first 'generic' audit trail generating software came out late 2021. The software is called Audit Trail Control, capable of fulfilling regulatory requirements for any software used in pharmaceutical manufacturing.
In voting, a voter-verified paper audit trail is a method of providing feedback to voters using a ballotless voting system.
- ^ "National Information Assurance (IA) Glossary" (PDF). Committee on National Security Systems. 7 August 1996. p. 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 February 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
- ^ "ATIS Telecom Glossary 2012 - audit trail". Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) Committee PRQC. 2012. Archived from the original on 13 March 2013. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
- ^ "SEC Proposes Consolidated Audit Trail System to Better Track Market Trades". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. 26 May 2010. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
- ^ "Electronic Code of Federal Regulations - Title 21: Food and Drugs - Part 11: Electronic Records; Electronic Signatures". U.S. Government Printing Office. Archived from the original on 8 June 2010. Retrieved 2 March 2012.
- ^ Brancik, Kenneth C. (2007). "Chapter 2: Related Research in Insider Computer Fraud and Information Security Controls". Insider computer fraud: an in-depth framework for detecting and defending against insider IT attacks. CRC Press. pp. 18–19. ISBN 978-1-4200-4659-5.
- ^ Information audit
- ^ Jaime Campbell; Alex Peterson, Intuit QuickBooks Enterprise Edition 12.0 Cookbook for Experts, 2012