overcoming alert fatigue - employee in front of three computer screens looks out the window

Overcoming Alert Fatigue

The major challenge in cybersecurity protection isn’t the lack of capable tools. It’s actually the human element. Cybersecurity teams experience alert fatigue, which hinders their ability to deal with threats.

Modern threat protection solutions generate many alerts, but not all received alerts pose threats. According to a study by McAfee, over 40% of IT experts say the majority of alerts lack actionable insights. Differentiating between the real threats and false ones can be a challenge.

The overwhelming number of alerts cause ‘alert fatigue,’ something that many IT personnel find hard to cope with. This is why many alerts end up being ignored.

Why Do IT Security Professionals Ignore Alerts?

With enterprises recording over 2 billion transactions monthly, lots of unnecessary alerts occur in the process. This huge number of alerts tend to be overwhelming. Due to a large number of false positives, 31.9% of IT experts said that the high frequency of alerts lead to some of them being ignored, according to McAfee.

While many of the alerts may be benign, ignoring them can be detrimental to any business. A 2014 data breach at Target cost $252 million. The IT personnel admitted to having seen the alert, but they ignored it because of the large number of false alerts.

How to Overcome Alert Fatigue

In a 2020 survey, 99% of IT professionals complained that high volumes of alerts made work harder. These alarming statistics show that despite having high-end solutions, your IT environment isn’t secure yet. As long security professionals experience alert fatigue, they’ll always ignore some alerts.

Successful cyber attacks and data breaches can lead to a diminished brand reputation, loss of customers, and huge financial losses. Overcoming alert fatigue is an important aspect of your security. Here are a few ways to do it.

Automating the Security Stack

To effectively minimize the risk of ignored alerts, you should look for automated solutions. They provide real-time analysis of security threats and help differentiate between high- and low-risk alerts. With automated solutions, it will be easier to detect and solve threats in real-time.

66% of teams that use high levels of automation in their IT resolve threats the same day. Those with low levels of automation find it hard to deal with security threats. 94% of IT teams say automation is the best method when faced with high-frequency alerts. 

Cloud Monitoring

Since most of the transactions that send alerts are in the cloud, there is a need for real-time cloud monitoring. As more businesses adopt cloud services and applications, more hackers will seek to occupy that gap.

With cloud monitoring, it’s easier to detect threats that might lead to attacks. You can easily detect the source of the attack, contain the damage, and prepare for similar attacks in the future.

Follow a Security Framework

A cybersecurity framework acts as the blueprint to a safe business. Depending on your business, you should have a security framework for data protection and compliance. At ISG, we follow the NIST Security Framework, which consists of 5 elements:

  • Identification

The first step should be to identify the potential risk facing your business. This involves classifying risks from high to low.

  • Detection

You should always monitor your systems so you can detect any vulnerabilities and threats.

  • Protection

You need to invest in the right protective technologies. This includes system patching and employee training.

  • Response

How do you respond to threats? Ideally, you should have a plan to evaluate and mitigate security breaches and a way to communicate with customers and staff.

  • Recovery

After an event, you’ll need to build your business back up with a recovery plan, including contingency plans.

Working With an IT Managed Service Provider to Overcome Alert Fatigue

Today’s attackers are smart, capable, and adaptable. That’s why, even with high-end solutions, detecting threats is a challenge. 

There are many tools that should be a part of your multi-layered cybersecurity approach, but they aren’t always enough on their own. You shouldn’t neglect the human element of cybersecurity.

If you’re concerned about alert fatigue with your IT team, or your cybersecurity posture in general, consider consulting with our IT professionals. We can help you identify where your systems and security can be strengthened and how to solve any IT problems you may be facing, including alert fatigue.