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Access Transparency log events

Security investigation tool

Supported editions for the Access Transparency log events data source in the investigation tool: Enterprise Plus, Education Standard, Education Plus, Enterprise Essentials Plus.  Compare your edition

As your organization's administrator, you can use the security investigation tool to run searches related to Access Transparency log events. There you can view a record of actions that provide information about the actions of Google staff when they access your data.

Access Transparency log events data includes information about:

  • The affected resource and action
  • The time of the action
  • The reason for the action (for example, the case number associated with a customer support request)
  • A Google staff member acting on the data (for example, office location)

For more information, go to Access Transparency: View logs on Google access to user content.

Forward log data to Google Cloud

You can opt in to share log data with Google Cloud. If you turn on sharing, data is forwarded to Cloud Logging, where you can query and view your logs, and control how you route and store your logs.

Your access to the security investigation tool

  • The security investigation tool requires a premium Google Workspace edition (Enterprise Plus, Enterprise Standard, or Education Plus).
  • You can access logs using the Chrome browser for the Google apps you have installed. For example, Gmail.
  • Your ability to run a search in the investigation tool depends on your Google edition, your administrative privileges, and the data source. If you're unable to run a search in the investigation tool for a specific data source, you can use the audit and investigation page instead. 
  • You can run a search in the investigation tool on all users, regardless of the Google edition they have.

Run a search for Access Transparency log events

To run a search in the investigation tool, first choose a data source. You then need to choose one or more conditions for your search. For each condition, choose an attribute, an operator, and a value

Follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in @gmail.com).

  2. In the Admin console, go to Menu and then Securityand thenSecurity centerand thenInvestigation tool.
  3. From the Data source drop-down list, choose Access Transparency log events.
  4. Click Add Condition.
    You can include one or more conditions in your search. You also have the option to customize your search with nested queries—searches with 2 or 3 levels of conditions (for details, see Customize your search with nested queries).
  5. From the Attribute drop-down list, choose one of the attributes—for example, Actor or Date. For a complete list of attributes that are available for Access Transparency log events, see the section below.

    Note: If you narrow the date range for your search, your results will appear in the investigation tool sooner. For example, if you narrow the search to events that happened in the last week, the query will return faster than if you search without restricting the query to a shorter period of time.
     
  6. Choose an operator—for example, Is, Is not, Contains, or Does not contain.
  7. Choose or enter a value for the attribute. For some attributes, you can choose from a drop-down list. For other attributes, type in a value.
  8. (Optional) To include multiple search conditions, repeat the above steps.
  9. Click Search.
    Search results in the investigation tool are displayed in a table at the bottom of the page.
  10. (Optional) To save your search, click Save , enter a Title and Description, and then click Save.

Note: Using the Condition builder tab, filters are represented as conditions with AND/OR operators. You can also use the Filter tab to include simple parameter and value pairs to filter the search results.

Attribute descriptions

For this data source, you can use the following attributes when searching log event data:

Attribute Description
Actor group name

Group name of the actor. For more information, go to Filtering results by Google Group.

To add a group to your filtering groups allowlist:

  1. Select Actor group name.
  2. Click Filtering groups.
    The Filtering groups page displays.
  3. Click Add Groups.
  4. Search for a group by entering the first few characters of its name or email address. When you see the group you want, select it.
  5. (Optional) To add another group, search for and select the group.
  6. When you finish selecting groups, click Add.
  7. (Optional) To remove a group, click Remove group .
  8. Click Save.
Actor home office

Home office of the actor who performed the data access. Displays the ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country/region code in which the accessor has a permanent desk.

Values include:

  • 3-character continent identifier if the Google staff member is in a low-population country—for example, ASI, EUR, OCE, AFR, NAM, SAM, or ANT
  • "??" means the location isn’t available
Actor organizational unit Organizational unit of the actor
Date Date and time of the event (displayed in your browser's default time zone)
Event The logged event action, such as Resource accessed
Google Workspace product Name of the product that was accessed
Justifications Access justifications, such as Customer Initiated Support - Case Number: 12345678
Log ID Unique log ID
On behalf of Email address(es) of the users whose authority was used for Access Management controls
Owner email The email ID or team identifier of the customer who owns the resource
Resource name Resource name of the resource that was accessed
Tickets Tickets associated with the justification, if any
Create activity rules & set up alerts

Rules and alert features vary depending on your Google Workspace edition:

Premium editions (Enterprise Plus, Enterprise Standard, or Education Plus)—To help prevent, detect, and remediate security issues efficiently, you can automate actions in the investigation tool and set up alerts by creating activity rules. To set up a rule, set up conditions for the rule, and then specify what actions to perform when the conditions are met. For details and instructions, see Create and manage activity rules.

All other Google Workspace editions—You can set up alerts based on log event data using reporting rules. For instructions, see Create and manage reporting rules.

Take action based on search results

 Requires a premium Google Workspace edition (Enterprise Plus, Enterprise Standard, or Education Plus)

After you run a search in the investigation tool, you can act on your search results. For example, you can run a search based on Gmail log events, and then use the investigation tool to delete specific messages, send messages to quarantine, or send messages to users' inboxes. For more details about actions in the investigation tool, go to Take action based on search results.

Understand the Access Transparency log data

Log field descriptions

Log field name System field name Description
Date items:id:time Time the log was written
Google Workspace Product items:events:parameters:GSUITE_PRODUCT_NAME Customer’s product that was accessed. Upper case required. Can be:
  • GMAIL
  • CALENDAR
  • DRIVE
  • SHEETS
  • SLIDES
Owner Email items:events:parameters:OWNER_EMAIL The email ID or team identifier of the customer who owns the resource
Actor Home Office items:events:parameters:ACTOR_HOME_OFFICE

ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country/region code in which the accessor has a permanent desk:

  • "??" if location isn’t available
  • 3-character continent identifier (ASI, EUR, OCE, AFR, NAM, SAM, ANT) if the Google staff member is in a low-population country
Justifications

items:events:parameters:JUSTIFICATIONS

Access justifications, such as Customer Initiated Support - Case Number: 12345678

Tickets tickets Tickets associated with the justification, if any
Log ID items:events:parameters:LOG_ID Unique log ID
Resource Name items:events:parameters:RESOURCE_NAME Name of the resource that was accessed. Resource names can be used in the security investigation tool to further identify, triage, and take action on security and privacy issues in your domain.
On Behalf Of items:events:parameters:ON_BEHALF_OF The target of the access. The sharee of a document could be the target of support rather than the owner. On Behalf Of provides extra information to understand the context of an access.
Access Management Policy items:events:parameters:
ACCESS_MANAGEMENT_POLICY
The Access Management policy that was validated before access. Only applies to customers with Access Management configured.

Justification descriptions

Reason Description
Customer Initiated Support Customer-initiated support, such as a case number
Externally Initiated Abuse Review

 

Externally initiated abuse reviews are invoked when content is reported to Google for review.
  • Users can report content as abuse of the Google Terms of Service.
  • As a Super Administrator, you can use the security investigation tool to view details associated with a document—including the document title, owner, document type, and log events that have happened to it within the last 180 days:
  1. From the investigation tool, run a search using the Drive log events data source.
  2. Under Conditions, click Document ID.
  3. Copy the resource ID from the Access Transparency log, and paste it into the Document ID field in the investigation tool.
  4. Click Search

For more details and instructions, go to Customize searches within the investigation tool.

Learn more about reporting abuse.

Google Response to Production Alert Google-initiated access to maintain system reliability around a suspected outage, including for example:
  • Investigation to confirm that a customer isn't affected by a suspected service outage
  • Backup and recovery from outages and system failures
Google Initiated Review Google-initiated access for security, fraud, abuse, or compliance purposes, including:
  • Ensuring the safety and security of customer accounts and data
  • Confirming whether data is affected by an event that might impact account security (such as malware infections)
  • Confirming whether the customer is using Google services in compliance with Google Terms of Service
  • Investigating complaints by other users and customers, or other signals of abusive activity
  • Checking that Google services are being used consistently with relevant compliance regimes (such as anti-money laundering regulations)

Google Initiated Service

Google-initiated access for the ongoing maintenance and delivery of Google Cloud services, including for example:

  • Technical debugging needed for a complex support request or investigation
  • Remediation of technical issues, such as an isolated storage failure or data corruption
Third Party Data Request Google accesses customer data to respond to a legal request or legal process. This includes when we respond to legal process from the customer that requires that we access the customer's own data.

In this case, Access Transparency logs might not be available if Google can’t legally inform you of such a request or process.

Set up an Access Transparency alert

You can set up an email alert for one or more log filters, such as Owner Email and Actor Home Office. You can also enable an alert for all logs across all products that support Access Transparency.

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in @gmail.com).

  2. In the Admin console, go to Menu and then Securityand thenSecurity centerand thenInvestigation tool.
  3. From the Data source drop-down list, choose Access Transparency log events.
  4. Click + Add a filter.
  5. Select one or more filters and click Apply.
  6. (Optional) To turn on an alert for all logs across all supported products, click Event Nameand thenAccess. This action creates a filter called Event Name: Access.
  7. Click Create reporting rule , enter a rule name, and then enter the emails of any additional alert recipients.
  8. Click Create.

Integrate Access Transparency log data with third-party tools

You can use the Reports API to integrate Access Transparency logs with your existing security information and event management (SIEM) tools. For more information, go to Access Transparency Activity Events.

When and how long is data available?

Go to Data retention and lag times.

 

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