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Monitor Teleport Audit Events with the Elastic Stack


Teleport's Event Handler plugin receives audit events from the Teleport Auth Service and forwards them to your log management solution, letting you perform historical analysis, detect unusual behavior, and form a better understanding of how users interact with your Teleport cluster.

In this guide, we will show you how to configure Teleport's Event Handler plugin to send your Teleport audit events to the Elastic Stack. In this setup, the Event Handler plugin forwards audit events from Teleport to Logstash, which stores them in Elasticsearch for visualization and alerting in Kibana.


  • A running Teleport cluster, including the Auth Service and Proxy Service. For details on how to set this up, see our Enterprise Getting Started guide.

  • The tctl admin tool and tsh client tool version >= 11.3.1, which you can download by visiting the customer portal.

    tctl version

    Teleport v11.3.1 go1.19

    tsh version

    Teleport v11.3.1 go1.19

  • A Teleport Cloud account, which includes a running Auth Service and Proxy Service. If you do not have a Teleport Cloud account, visit the sign up page to begin your free trial.

  • The tctl admin tool and tsh client tool version >= 11.2.1. To download these tools, visit the Downloads page.

    tctl version

    Teleport v11.2.1 go1.19

    tsh version

    Teleport v11.2.1 go1.19

  • Logstash version 8.4.1 or above running on a Linux host. Logstash must be listening on a TCP port that is open to traffic from the Teleport Auth Service. In this guide, you will also run the Event Handler plugin on this host.

  • Elasticsearch and Kibana version 8.4.1 or above, either running via an Elastic Cloud account or on your own infrastructure. You will need permissions to create and manage users in Elasticsearch.

    We have tested this guide on the Elastic Stack version 8.4.1.

Step 1/4. Set up the Event Handler plugin

The Event Handler plugin is a binary that runs independently of your Teleport cluster. It authenticates to your Teleport cluster and Logstash using mutual TLS. In this section, you will install the Event Handler plugin on the Linux host where you are running Logstash and generate credentials that the plugin will use for authentication.

Install the Event Handler plugin

Follow the instructions for your environment to install the Event Handler plugin on your Logstash host:


On the host where you are running Logstash, execute the following commands:

curl -L -O
tar -zxvf teleport-event-handler-v11.3.1-linux-amd64-bin.tar.gz

Move the teleport-event-handler binary into your PATH.

On the host where you are running Logstash, execute the following command:

docker pull

You must have Docker Desktop installed on your Logstash host.

Log in to the host and execute the following commands to build the plugin:

git clone --depth 1
cd teleport-plugins/event-handler/build.assets
make build

You can find the compiled binary within your clone of the teleport-plugins repo, with the file path, event-handler/build/teleport-event-handler. Move this into your PATH.

You will need Go >= 1.19 installed.

Run the following commands on your Logstash host:

git clone --depth 1
cd teleport-plugins/event-handler
go build

The resulting executable will have the name event-handler. To follow the rest of this guide, rename this file to teleport-event-handler and move it into your PATH.

Generate a starter config file

Generate a configuration file with placeholder values for the Teleport Event Handler plugin. Later in this guide, we will edit the configuration file for your environment.

On the host where you are running Logstash and the Event Handler plugin, execute the following command to generate a sample configuration that we will edit later. Replace with the DNS name of your Teleport Proxy Service or Teleport Cloud tenant:

teleport-event-handler configure .

The teleport-event-handler configure command generates several files that you will refer to when generating credentials for the plugin and configuring a Logstash pipeline:

ca.crtSelf-signed CA certificate that the Event Handler plugin and Logstash will use to validate one another's TLS certificates.
server.crt and server.keyTLS certificate and key for the Logstash server.
client.crt and client.keyTLS certificate and key for the Event Handler plugin.
teleport-event-handler-role.yamluser and role resource definitions for the Event Handler plugin.
fluent.confFluentd configuration file. We will use parts of this to define a Logstash pipeline.
teleport-event-handler.tomlStarter configuration file for the Event Handler plugin.
ca.keyNot used in this setup.

Define RBAC resources

The teleport-event-handler configure command generated a file called teleport-event-handler-role.yaml. This file defines a teleport-event-handler role and a user with read-only access to the event API:

kind: role
  name: teleport-event-handler
      - resources: ['event', 'session']
        verbs: ['list','read']
version: v5
kind: user
  name: teleport-event-handler
  roles: ['teleport-event-handler']
version: v2

Use tctl to create the role and the user:

tctl create -f teleport-event-handler-role.yaml

user "teleport-event-handler" has been created

role 'teleport-event-handler' has been created

If you are running Teleport on your Elastic Stack host, e.g., you are exposing Kibana's HTTP endpoint via the Teleport Application Service, running the tctl create command above will generate an error similar to the following:

ERROR: tctl must be either used on the auth server or provided with the identity file via --identity flag

To avoid this error, create the teleport-event-handler-role.yaml file on your workstation, then sign in to your Teleport cluster and run the tctl command locally.

Enable impersonation of the Event Handler plugin user

In order for the Event Handler plugin to forward events from your Teleport cluster, it needs signed credentials from the cluster's certificate authority. The teleport-event-handler user cannot request this itself, and requires another user to impersonate this account in order to request credentials.

Create a role that enables your user to impersonate the teleport-event-handler user. First, paste the following YAML document into a file called teleport-event-handler-impersonator.yaml:

kind: role
version: v5
  name: teleport-event-handler-impersonator
    # max_session_ttl defines the TTL (time to live) of SSH certificates
    # issued to the users with this role.
    max_session_ttl: 10h

  # This section declares a list of resource/verb combinations that are
  # allowed for the users of this role. By default nothing is allowed.
      users: ["teleport-event-handler"]
      roles: ["teleport-event-handler"]

Next, create the role:

tctl create teleport-event-handler-impersonator.yaml

Assign the teleport-event-handler-impersonator role to your Teleport user by running the following commands, depending on whether you authenticate as a local Teleport user or via the github, saml, or oidc authentication connectors:

Retrieve your local user's configuration resource:

tctl get users/$(tsh status -f json | jq -r '.active.username') > out.yaml

Edit out.yaml, adding teleport-event-handler-impersonator to the list of existing roles:

   - access
   - auditor
   - editor
+  - teleport-event-handler-impersonator

Apply your changes:

tctl create -f out.yaml

Retrieve your github configuration resource:

tctl get github/github > github.yaml

Edit github.yaml, adding teleport-event-handler-impersonator to the teams_to_roles section. The team you will map to this role will depend on how you have designed your organization's RBAC, but it should be the smallest team possible within your organization. This team must also include your user.

Here is an example:

    - organization: octocats 
      team: admins 
        - access
+       - teleport-event-handler-impersonator

Apply your changes:

tctl create -f github.yaml

Retrieve your saml configuration resource:

tctl get saml/mysaml > saml.yaml

Edit saml.yaml, adding teleport-event-handler-impersonator to the attributes_to_roles section. The attribute you will map to this role will depend on how you have designed your organization's RBAC, but it should be the smallest group possible within your organization. This group must also include your user.

Here is an example:

    - name: "groups" 
      value: "my-group" 
        - access
+       - teleport-event-handler-impersonator

Apply your changes:

tctl create -f saml.yaml

Retrieve your oidc configuration resource:

tctl get oidc/myoidc > oidc.yaml

Edit oidc.yaml, adding teleport-event-handler-impersonator to the claims_to_roles section. The claim you will map to this role will depend on how you have designed your organization's RBAC, but it should be the smallest group possible within your organization. This group must also include your user.

Here is an example:

    - name: "groups" 
      value: "my-group" 
        - access
+       - teleport-event-handler-impersonator

Apply your changes:

tctl create -f saml.yaml

Log out of your Teleport cluster and log in again to assume the new role.

Export the access plugin identity

Like all Teleport users, teleport-event-handler needs signed credentials in order to connect to your Teleport cluster. You will use the tctl auth sign command to request these credentials for the plugin.

The format of the credentials depends on whether you have set up your network to give the plugin direct access to the Teleport Auth Service, or if all Teleport clients and services connect to the Teleport Proxy Service instead.

The following tctl auth sign command impersonates the teleport-event-handler user, generates signed credentials, and writes an identity file to the local directory:

tctl auth sign --user=teleport-event-handler --out=auth.pem

The Event Handler plugin listens for audit events by connecting to the Teleport Auth Service's gRPC endpoint over TLS.

The identity file, auth.pem, includes both TLS and SSH credentials. Your Event Handler plugin uses the SSH credentials to connect to the Proxy Service, which establishes a reverse tunnel connection to the Auth Service. The plugin uses this reverse tunnel, along with your TLS credentials, to connect to the Auth Service's gRPC endpoint.

You will refer to this file later when configuring the plugin.

If your network allows your plugin to access the Auth Service directly, e.g., you are running the plugin on the Auth Service host, the plugin uses TLS credentials to connect to the Auth Service's gRPC endpoint and listen for audit events.

You can generate TLS credentials with the following command:

tctl auth sign --format=tls --user=teleport-event-handler --out=auth

This command should result in three PEM-encoded files: auth.crt, auth.key, and auth.cas (certificate, private key, and CA certs respectively). Later, you will configure the plugin to use these credentials to connect to the Auth Service.

Certificate Lifetime

By default, tctl auth sign produces certificates with a relatively short lifetime. For production deployments, you can use the --ttl flag to ensure a more practical certificate lifetime, e.g., --ttl=8760h to export a one-year certificate.

Step 2/4. Configure a Logstash pipeline

The Event Handler plugin forwards audit logs from Teleport by sending HTTP requests to a user-configured endpoint. We will define a Logstash pipeline that handles these requests, extracts logs, and sends them to Elasticsearch.

Create a role for the Event Handler plugin

Your Logstash pipeline will require permissions to create and manage Elasticsearch indexes and index lifecycle management policies, plus get information about your Elasticsearch deployment. Create a role with these permissions so you can later assign it to the Elasticsearch user you will create for the Event Handler.

In Kibana, navigate to "Management" > "Roles" and click "Create role". Enter the name teleport-plugin for the new role. Under the "Elasticsearch" section, under "Cluster privileges", enter manage_index_templates, manage_ilm, and monitor.

Under "Index privileges", define an entry with audit-events-* in the "Indices" field and write and manage in the "Privileges" field. Click "Create role".

Creating an Elasticsearch role

Create an Elasticsearch user for the Event Handler

Create an Elasticsearch user that Logstash can authenticate as when making requests to the Elasticsearch API.

In Kibana, find the hamburger menu on the upper left and click "Management", then "Users" > "Create user". Enter teleport for the "Username" and provide a secure password.

Assign the user the teleport-plugin role we defined earlier.

Prepare TLS credentials for Logstash

Later in this guide, your Logstash pipeline will use an HTTP input to receive audit events from the Teleport Event Handler plugin.

Logstash's HTTP input can only sign certificates with a private key that uses the unencrypted PKCS #8 format. When you ran teleport-event-handler configure earlier, the command generated an encrypted RSA key. We will convert this key to PKCS #8.

You will need a password to decrypt the RSA key. To retrieve this, execute the following command in the directory where you ran teleport-event-handler configure:

cat fluent.conf | grep passphrase

private_key_passphrase "ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff"

Convert the encrypted RSA key to an unencrypted PKCS #8 key. The command will prompt your for the password you retrieved:

openssl pkcs8 -topk8 -in server.key -nocrypt -out pkcs8.key

Enable Logstash to read the new key, plus the CA and certificate we generated earlier:

chmod +r pkcs8.key ca.crt server.crt

Define an index template

When the Event Handler plugin sends audit events to Logstash, Logstash needs to know how to parse these events to forward them to Elasticsearch. You can define this logic using an index template, which Elasticsearch uses to construct an index for data it receives.

Create a file called audit-events.json with the following content:

  "index_patterns": ["audit-events-*"],
  "template": {
    "settings": {},
    "mappings": {

This index template modifies any index with the pattern audit-events-*. Because it includes the "dynamic": "true" setting, it instructs Elasticsearch to define index fields dynamically based on the events it receives. This is useful for Teleport audit events, which use a variety of fields depending on the event type.

Define a Logstash pipeline

On the host where you are running Logstash, create a configuration file that defines a Logstash pipeline. This pipeline will receive logs from port 9601 and forward them to Elasticsearch.

On the host running Logstash, create a file called /etc/logstash/conf.d/teleport-audit.conf with the following content:

input {
  http {
    port => 9601
    ssl =>  true
    ssl_certificate => "/home/server.crt"
    ssl_key =>  "/home/pkcs8.key"
    ssl_certificate_authorities => [
    ssl_verify_mode => "force_peer"
output {
  elasticsearch {
    user => "teleport"
    template_name => "audit-events"
    template => "/home/audit-events.json"
    index => "audit-events-%{+yyyy.MM.dd}"
    template_overwrite => true

In the input.http section, update ssl_certificate and ssl_certificate_authorities to include the locations of the server certificate and certificate authority files that the teleport-event-handler configure command generated earlier.

Logstash will authenticate client certificates against the CA file and present a signed certificate to the Teleport Event Handler plugin.

Edit the ssl_key field to include the path to the pkcs8.key file we generated earlier.

In the output.elasticsearch section, edit the following fields depending on whether you are using Elastic Cloud or your own Elastic Stack deployment:

Assign cloud_auth to a string with the content teleport:PASSWORD, replacing PASSWORD with the password you assigned to your teleport user earlier.

Visit, find the "Cloud ID" field, copy the content, and add it as the value of cloud_id in your Logstash pipeline configuration. The elasticsearch section should resemble the following:

  elasticsearch {
    cloud_id => "CLOUD_ID"
    cloud_auth => "teleport:PASSWORD" 
    template_name => "audit-events"
    template => "/home/audit-events.json"
    index => "audit-events-%{+yyyy.MM.dd}"
    template_overwrite => true

Assign hosts to a string indicating the hostname of your Elasticsearch host.

Assign user to teleport and password to the passphrase you created for your teleport user earlier.

The elasticsearch section should resemble the following:

  elasticsearch {
    hosts => ""
    user => "teleport" 
    password => "PASSWORD" 
    template_name => "audit-events"
    template => "/home/audit-events.json"
    index => "audit-events-%{+yyyy.MM.dd}"
    template_overwrite => true

Finally, modify template to point to the path to the audit-events.json file you created earlier.

Because the index template we will create with this file applies to indices with the prefix audit-events-*, and we have configured our Logstash pipeline to create an index with the title "audit-events-%{+yyyy.MM.dd}, Elasticsearch will automatically index fields from Teleport audit events.

Disable the Elastic Common Schema for your pipeline

The Elastic Common Schema (ECS) is a standard set of fields that Elastic Stack uses to parse and visualize data. Since we are configuring Elasticsearch to index all fields from your Teleport audit logs dynamically, we will disable the ECS for your Logstash pipeline.

On the host where you are running Logstash, edit /etc/logstash/pipelines.yml to add the following entry:

- teleport-audit-logs
  path.config: "/etc/logstash/conf.d/teleport-audit.conf"
  pipeline.ecs_compatibility: disabled

This disables the ECS for your Teleport audit log pipeline.


If your pipelines.yml file defines an existing pipeline that includes teleport-audit.conf, e.g., by using a wildcard value in path.config, adjust the existing pipeline definition so it no longer applies to teleport-audit.conf.

Run the Logstash pipeline

Restart Logstash:

sudo systemctl restart logstash

Make sure your Logstash pipeline started successfully by running the following command to tail Logstash's logs:

sudo journalctl -u logstash -f

When your Logstash pipeline initializes its http input and starts running, you should see a log similar to this:

Sep 15 18:27:13 myhost logstash[289107]: [2022-09-15T18:27:13,491][INFO ][logstash.inputs.http][main][33bdff0416b6a2b643e6f4ab3381a90c62b3aa05017770f4eb9416d797681024] Starting http input listener {:address=>"", :ssl=>"true"}

These logs indicate that your Logstash pipeline has connected to Elasticsearch and installed a new index template:

Sep 12 19:49:06 myhost logstash[33762]: [2022-09-12T19:49:06,309][INFO ][logstash.outputs.elasticsearch][main] Elasticsearch version determined (8.4.1) {:es_version=>8}
Sep 12 19:50:00 myhost logstash[33762]: [2022-09-12T19:50:00,993][INFO ][logstash.outputs.elasticsearch][main] Installing Elasticsearch template {:name=>"audit-events"}

If Logstash fails to initialize the pipeline, it may continue to attempt to contact Elasticsearch. In that case, you will see repeated logs like the one below:

Sep 12 19:43:04 myhost logstash[33762]: [2022-09-12T19:43:04,519][WARN ][logstash.outputs.elasticsearch][main] Attempted to resurrect connection to dead ES instance, but got an error {:url=>"http://teleport:[email protected]:9200/", :exception=>LogStash::Outputs::ElasticSearch::HttpClient::Pool::HostUnreachableError, :message=>"Elasticsearch Unreachable: [][Manticore::ClientProtocolException] failed to respond"}

Diagnosing the problem

To diagnose the cause of errors initializing your Logstash pipeline, search your Logstash journalctl logs for the following, which indicate that the pipeline is starting. The relevant error logs should come shortly after these:

Sep 12 18:15:52 myhost logstash[27906]: [2022-09-12T18:15:52,146][INFO][logstash.javapipeline][main] Starting pipeline {:pipeline_id=>"main","pipeline.workers"=>2, "pipeline.batch.size"=>125, "pipeline.batch.delay"=>50,"pipeline.max_inflight"=>250,"pipeline.sources"=>["/etc/logstash/conf.d/teleport-audit.conf"],:thread=>"#<Thread:0x1c1a3ee5 run>"}
Sep 12 18:15:52 myhost logstash[27906]: [2022-09-12T18:15:52,912][INFO][logstash.javapipeline][main] Pipeline Java execution initialization time {"seconds"=>0.76}

Disabling Elasticsearch TLS

This guide assumes that you have already configured Elasticsearch and Logstash to communicate with one another via TLS.

If your Elastic Stack deployment is in a sandboxed or low-security environment (e.g., a demo environment), and your journalctl logs for Logstash show that Elasticsearch is unreachable, you can disable TLS for communication between Logstash and Elasticsearch.

Edit the file /etc/elasticsearch/elasticsearch.yml to set to false, then restart Elasticsearch.

Step 3/4. Run the Event Handler plugin

Complete the Event Handler configuration

Earlier, we generated a file called teleport-event-handler.toml to configure the Event Handler plugin. This file includes settings similar to the following:

storage = "./storage"
timeout = "10s"
batch = 20
namespace = "default"

ca = "/home/ca.crt"
cert = "/home/client.crt"
key = "/home/client.key"
url = "https://localhost:8888/test.log"

addr = ""
identity = "identity"

Update the configuration file as follows.

Change forward.fluentd.url to the scheme, host and port you configured for your Logstash http input earlier, https://localhost:9601. Change forward.fluentd.session-url to the same value with the root URL path: https://localhost:9601/.

Change teleport.addr to the host and port of your Teleport Proxy Service, or the Auth Service if you have configured the Event Handler to connect to it directly, e.g.,

Assign teleport.identity to a path to the identity file you exported earlier, e.g., /home/auth.pem.

Assign, teleport.cert, and teleport.key to the paths of the TLS credentials you generated earlier. Respectively, these are the certificate authority, certificate, and private key.

Start the Event Handler

Start the Teleport Teleport Event Handler as a daemon. To do so, create a systemd service definition at the path /usr/lib/systemd/system/teleport-event-handler.service with the following content:

Description=Teleport Event Handler

ExecStart=/usr/local/bin/teleport-event-handler start --config=/etc/teleport-event-handler.toml
ExecReload=/bin/kill -HUP $MAINPID


Enable and start the plugin:

sudo systemctl enable teleport-event-handler
sudo systemctl start teleport-event-handler

You can configure when you would like the Teleport Event Handler to begin exporting events when you run the start command. This example will start exporting from May 5th, 2021:

teleport-event-handler start --config teleport-event-handler.toml --start-time "2021-05-05T00:00:00Z"

You can only determine the start time once, when first running the Teleport Event Handler. If you want to change the time frame later, remove the plugin state directory that you specified in the storage field of the handler's configuration file.

Once the Teleport Event Handler starts, you will see notifications about scanned and forwarded events:

sudo journalctl -u teleport-event-handler

DEBU Event sent id:f19cf375-4da6-4338-bfdc-e38334c60fd1 index:0 ts:2022-09-21

18:51:04.849 +0000 UTC type:cert.create event-handler/app.go:140


Step 4/4. Create a data view in Kibana

Make it possible to explore your Teleport audit events in Kibana by creating a data view. In the Elastic Stack UI, find the hamburger menu on the upper left of the screen, then click "Management" > "Data Views". Click "Create data view".

For the "Name" field, use "Teleport Audit Events". In "Index pattern", use audit-events-* to select all indices created by our Logstash pipeline. In "Timestamp field", choose time, which Teleport adds to its audit events.

Creating a data view

To use your data view, find the search box at the top of the Elastic Stack UI and enter "Discover". On the upper left of the screen, click the dropdown menu and select "Teleport Audit Events". You can now search and filter your Teleport audit events in order to get a better understanding how users are interacting with your Teleport cluster.

Creating a data view

For example, we can click the event field on the left sidebar and visualize the event types for your Teleport audit events over time:

Creating a visualization

Troubleshooting connection issues

If the Teleport Event Handler is displaying error logs while connecting to your Teleport Cluster, ensure that:

  • The certificate the Teleport Event Handler is using to connect to your Teleport cluster is not past its expiration date. This is the value of the --ttl flag in the tctl auth sign command, which is 12 hours by default.
  • Ensure that in your Teleport Event Handler configuration file (teleport-event-handler.toml), you have provided the correct host and port for the Teleport Proxy Service or Auth Service.

Next steps

Now that you are exporting your audit events to the Elastic Stack, consult our audit event reference so you can plan visualizations and alerts.

While this guide uses the tctl auth sign command to issue credentials for the Teleport Event Handler, production clusters should use Machine ID for safer, more reliable renewals. Read our guide to getting started with Machine ID.