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Context-Aware Access log events

When a user is denied access to an app
As your organization's administrator, you can run searches and take action on Context-Aware Access log events, and take action based on the results. For example, you can view a record of actions to troubleshoot when a user is denied access to an app. Entries usually appear within an hour of when the user’s access is denied.

For more information, go to Context-Aware Access overview.

Your access to log events

  • Your ability to run a search depends on your Google edition, your administrative privileges, and the data source. You can run a search on all users, regardless of their Google Workspace edition.
  • Your Workspace subscription provides access to the log events using either the Audit & investigation tool or the Security center. 
    • Premium Google Workspace editions (Enterprise Plus, Enterprise Standard, or Education Plus) provide access to the Security Center and the more advanced features of the security investigation tool. The investigation tool enables super admins to identify, triage, and take action on security and privacy issues. For details, see About the security investigation tool.
    • All other Google Workspace editions can access the logs using the Audit and Investigation tool. For details, see About the audit and investigation page.

Forward log event data to Google Cloud

You can opt in to share the log event 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.

Run a search for log events

Audit and investigation tool

To run a search for log events, first choose a data source. Then choose one or more filters for your search.

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

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

  2. On the left, click Reportingand thenAudit and investigationand thenContext-Aware Access log events.
  3. Click Add a filter, and then select an attribute.
  4. In the pop-up window, select an operatorand thenselect a valueand thenclick Apply.
    (Optional) To create multiple filters for your search:
    1. Click Add a filter and repeat step 3.
    2. (Optional) To add a search operator, above Add a filter, select AND or OR.
    • (Optional) To create multiple filters for your search, repeat this step.
    • (Optional) To add a search operator, above Add a filter, select AND or OR
  5. Click Search.
  6. Note: Using the Filter tab, you can include simple parameter and value pairs to filter the search results. You can also use the Condition builder tab, where the filters are represented as conditions with AND/OR operators.

Security investigation tool

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

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

  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. Click Data source and select Context-Aware Access log events.
  4. Click Add Condition.
    Tip: You can include one or more conditions in your search or customize your search with nested queries. For details, go to Customize your search with nested queries.
  5. Click Attributeand thenselect an option.
    For a complete list of attributes, go to the Attribute descriptions section (later on this page).
  6. Click Containsand thenselect an operator.
  7. Enter a value or select a value from the list.
  8. (Optional) To add more search conditions, repeat steps 4–7.
  9. Click Search.
    You can review the search results from the investigation tool in a table at the bottom of the page.
  10. (Optional) To save your investigation, click Saveand thenenter a title and descriptionand thenclick Save.

Notes

  • In 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.
  • If you gave a user a new name, you will not see query results with the user's old name. For example, if you rename OldName@example.com to NewName@example.com, you will not see results for events related to OldName@example.com.

Attribute descriptions

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

Attribute Description
Actor Email address of the user who performed the action
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 organizational unit Organizational unit of the actor
Application Can be either:
  • The application the user was denied access to
  • (For API access) The calling application which attempted to access a blocked API.
Blocked API access The API of the application the user was denied access to. For API access, the API that the calling application was blocked from accessing.
Date Date and time of the event (displayed in your browser's default time zone)
Device ID The device's ID, as shown in Admin console Home pageand thenDevices 
Device state State of the device used to perform this access—for example, Normal, Out of sync (stale or old), or Cross organization (device doesn't belong to your organization)
Event The logged event action:
  • Access Denied—Access was denied to the listed user (Actor) for the listed application.
  • Access Denied (Monitor mode)—Indicates when access would be denied, if the access level were in Active mode. See Deploy Context-Aware Access.
  • Access Denied Internal Error—Policy enforcement failed (access was denied) due to an issue with the enforcement server.
IP address IP address of the actor

Manage log event data

Manage search results column data

You can control which data columns appear in your search results.

  1. At the top-right of the search results table, click Manage columns .
  2. (Optional) To remove current columns, click Remove .
  3. (Optional) To add columns, next to Add new column, click the Down arrow  and select the data column.
    Repeat as needed.
  4. (Optional) To change the order of the columns, drag the data column names.
  5. Click Save.

Export search result data

You can export search results in the investigation tool to Google Sheets or to a CSV file.

  1. At the top of the search results table, click Export all.
  2. Enter a name and then click Export.
    The export displays below the search results table under Export action results.
  3. To view the data, click the name of your export.
    The export opens in Google Sheets.

Export limits vary depending on your Google Workspace edition:

  • Premium edition (Enterprise Plus, Enterprise Standard, or Education Plus)The total results of the export are limited to 30 million rows (except for Gmail message searches, which are limited to 10,000 rows).
  • All other Google Workspace editions—The total results of the export are limited to 100,000 rows (except for Gmail message searches, which are limited to 10,000 rows).

For more information, see Export search results.

When and how long is data available?

Take action based on search results

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.

Manage your investigations

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

View your list of investigations

To view a list of the investigations that you own and that were shared with you, click View investigations. The investigation list includes the names, descriptions, and owners of the investigations, and the date last modified. 

From this list, you can take action on any investigations that you own—for example, to delete an investigation. Check the box for an investigation, and then click Actions.

Note: Directly above your list of investigations, under Quick access, you can view recently saved investigations.

Configure settings for your investigations

As a super administrator, click Settings to :

  • Change the time zone for your investigations. The time zone applies to search conditions and results.
  • Turn on or off Require reviewer. For more details, go to Require reviewers for bulk actions.
  • Turn on or off View content. This setting allows admins with the appropriate privileges to view content.
  • Turn on or off Enable action justification.

For instructions and details, go to Configure settings for your investigations.

Share, delete, and duplicate investigations

To save your search criteria or share it with others, you can create and save an investigation, and then share, duplicate, or delete it.

For details, go to Save, share, delete, and duplicate investigations.

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