Technology is ever on the march to the future and with it comes more sophisticated and persistent cybercriminals.The digital arms race is ongoing, but cybersecurity professionals face another problem — alert fatigue.
Have you ever heard of the term “suffering from success?” Getting many alerts from your system should mean your system is preventing cyberattacks. But as computer technology advances and more companies migrate their data to cloud storage, cybersecurity professionals may feel overwhelmed by the need for constant vigilance.
Modern Cybersecurity tools are very advanced, with many back-ups and redundancies built in to protect as much of a client’s data as possible. While this is proven highly effective at countering potential threats, it can also lead to an excessive volume of alerts, which may or may not be clearly actionable.
Cybersecurity professionals must thoroughly check every notification the system sends out, sometimes taking over half an hour on one signal. These professionals respond to over 500 of these alerts per day. These may be false alarms or routine notifications, but they still require careful evaluation.
Another reason for this inefficiency is many companies still use Security Information and Event Management technology (SIEM) that may need updating. Advances in SIEM technology are rapid and keeping up with updates is paramount to maintaining your cybersecurity. Your security team suffering from alert fatigue might signal that your legacy SIEM doesn’t cut it anymore and needs an upgrade or replacement immediately.
Burnout among cybersecurity personnel is a real issue, and it is leading to morale and efficiency drops and an increase in turnover rates. It also allows real attacks to slip unnoticed among the hundreds of false and low-priority reports.
Now that you understand what alert fatigue is and how it can threaten your cybersecurity, what can you do about it?
The first step to stopping fatigue from happening is to acknowledge that it is a real threat to your cybersecurity operations. You may feel other areas of your cybersecurity are more important, but it’s critical to keep everything airtight. The biggest danger could be among hundreds of false alerts, and you would never know it.
Check in with your cybersecurity team and see if they are at risk of suffering from burnout. Look at performance reports and KPIs to determine where to allocate resources. Letting them know you care for their concerns and act upon it can help to keep morale high.
Your business’s security needs are unique, so cybersecurity tools may not be perfect for you out of the box. Take the time to fine-tune your security programs to fit your needs. This can keep false alerts away and give your professionals some breathing room.
Setting priorities for your security system can significantly increase efficiency by allowing your staff to identify high-priority threats that need immediate action. Alerts that the system can automatically validate can dramatically reduce the manual work required to act on threats. Embracing automation in cybersecurity can lift a huge load off your security team’s shoulders reduce feelings of alert fatigue.
Being able to aggregate alerts that may be closely related to each other allows your security professionals to act on various notifications simultaneously instead of individually. Set up your programs to identify similar alerts automatically and enable professionals to work on them using bulk actions to deal with them collectively. Rather than combing through alerts one by one and switching processes each time, approaching alerts in batches can improve efficiency and thereby decrease workloads.
Aside from taking steps to increase efficiency between professionals and programs, there is software that can also help reduce alert fatigue while improving security. A study published by the Association for Computing Machinery proposes a screening scheme that uses AI to distinguish between positive and false security alerts. The results were very encouraging, with a 99.598% recall rate for positive alerts and 0.0001% for false ones.
These results show the effectiveness of AI in cybersecurity. Using these sophisticated programs to help professionals keep a watchful eye on valuable systems can be a helpful increase in efficiency.
AI and cloud-based security solutions are becoming increasingly prevalent. As technology improves, cybersecurity teams can use AI to recognize and prevent cyberattacks more quickly than humans can. This can take off much pressure on cybersecurity professionals. AI security programs can automatically check and validate false and low-priority notifications, leaving professionals to tackle the direst threats.
Microsoft has created several unique approaches to address this problem using advanced AI to recognize threats, improve native integration and learn about new cyber attacks in real-time. Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) is software that secures cloud-based systems by monitoring and detecting threats, managing workflows and resolving misconfigurations.
Shoring up your defenses with a CSPM program is a great way to automate much of cybersecurity’s checking and validating processes. They can resolve false alarms alone and react and warn you about legitimate threats such as account hijackings, DDoS attacks, and unauthorized access to your system.
Cybersecurity is a vast and complex field, and the professionals who work in it are exceptional. However, even they have limits to what they can do in the time they have. Preventing alert fatigue is essential to keeping your systems secure and your professionals happy.
Consider the above tips to reduce the risk of burnout amongst your cybersecurity team. While the use of advanced technology and automation certainly is an option, easy steps like proper customization of filters, alters triggers, and prioritization can already reduce the number of alerts your team receives. At a time when they must constantly keep on their toes, doing so is critical.
Zac Amos writes about AI, cybersecurity and other trending technology topics, and he works as the Features Editor at ReHack.