Did you know that you can use Event Log Files to assess organizational usage and user behavior via the SOAP and REST APIs? If you didn’t get the opportunity to learn more about this functionality while at Dreamforce, don’t worry. I recently sat down with Adam Torman, a director of product management on Platform, to have him explain the benefits of using Event Log Files (ELF).

GB: Hi Adam! Thanks for meeting. Let’s start with an explanation of what ELF is.

AT: Event Monitoring (or Event Log Files) enables customers to support their organization similar to how Salesforce supports its own customers. This feature provides customers an easy to download, file-based API to extract log data that can help with a customer’s troubleshooting, performance management, and security audits – all without filing a ticket for a forensic investigation.

GB: So, let’s say I have a key employee leaving the company who has access to sensitive data. You’re saying that there’s a way for me track if this person begins downloading customer files?

AT: That’s definitely one of our classic use cases.

GB: What are some other ones?

AT: Here are other reasons why people might use ELF:

  • Tell me who clicked on a record, when they clicked on it, and where they were when they clicked on it.
  • Track when an ex-employee downloaded the customer list before leaving the company.
  • Track the successful logins of users, including admins or support reps who use Login-As, which may violate a data residency requirement if not audited properly.
  • Monitor trend adoption of key features and projects, such as a mission critical app or the introduction of a new forecasting tool.
  • Find out which Visualforce pages are best and worst from a runtime perspective.

GB: It sounds like this feature can be useful to lots of different industries.

AT: It’s useful for a large variety of industries and customers of all sizes. However, there’s a particular fit for any regulated or compliance-focused industry such as:

  • Financial Services
  • Healthcare
  • Public Sector Organizations

GB: What if I want to understand usage behavior over a period of time? Can I use the objects in ELF to examine trends?

AT: Absolutely. As you accumulate data over a period of time, it becomes easy to roll it up and trend it using any number of commonly used tools such as data warehousing, business intelligence, or other reporting applications.

GB: I need to consolidate the data from ELF with data I obtain from other sources. Is this possible?

AT: Because the feature was built API first, it’s designed to be easily integrated with other applications and data sources.

GB: I haven’t used the REST API a lot. Can I use Workbench to obtain this data? And, what about a user interface?

AT: Workbench is definitely an easy go-to tool for extracting this data. I also created a series of starter bash shell scripts that can be used to download these files.

GB: Where can I find more information?

AT: You can find information in our SOAP API Developer’s Guide and Force.com REST API Developer’s Guide.

GB: Alright–how do I get started?

AT: Sign up for Developer Edition (https://developer.salesforce.com/signup). Starting with the Winter ’15 release, we’re offering one day of ELF data retention for free with these developer orgs. To get Event Log Files in your production or sandbox instances, talk with your account executive.

GB: Thanks Adam. Great information and feature!

NOTE: We anticipate this product will be generally available in the November 2014 to January 2015 time frame for Enterprise, Unlimited, and Performance Edition organizations. This product is generally available for all developer edition organizations. Any unreleased services or features referenced in this or other public statements are not currently available and may not be delivered on time or at all. Customers who purchase Salesforce applications should make their purchase decisions based upon features that are currently available.

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