What Causes Security Alert Fatigue?

40% of surveyed respondents confirmed that they receive security alerts that contain little to no actionable information to make investigating a security situation possible. This often results in alert fatigue where an organization might have too many security alerts to deal with. In some cases, it might be tough to attend to all the security alerts at once.

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While this might seem like a barely harmless situation, the fact that these massive alerts are heading the way of your security office means that they might let a time-sensitive security threat slip right through their fingers. This has happened before. It is one of the top reasons behind the infamous breach that affected Target a few years ago. Simply put, knowing what causes alert fatigue will help you avoid such an unwanted situation.

Here are four reasons why your security team might be experiencing alert fatigue:

Issues with Your Alert Delivery Protocol

For security alerts to be effective enough, they need to be delivered to the right person and at the right time. If your log aggregator and other security systems tend to send alerts to the wrong person in your organization, this will lead to alert fatigue. The chances are they will ignore these alerts and only focus on those that affect their department.

On the other hand, low and high priority alerts need to be sent out at appropriate times. Your staff members will most likely start ignoring low priority alerts if they reach them at the same time as high priority alerts. While such threats might seem harmless at first, they can easily grow into a force to reckon with.

You Have a Complex IT Environment

Conventionally, companies used to use less sophisticated and more integrated solutions than they do nowadays. This made it easy to manage the systems as well as pay attention and respond to the different alerts by their business systems. As business needs evolved with time, so did the need for complex IT environments.

The modern-day IT environment comprises of multi-tier infrastructures and a diversity of applications all which are aimed at achieving common business goals. Sadly, each solution tends to come with its form of alerts, which makes it tough to keep up with them.

Inadequate Alert Context

Receiving alerts that barely have any context or actionable information tends to send security teams down a rabbit hole. They will have to work overtime to discover the threat unearthed by the alerts. This will often take time. Receiving multiple alerts of the same characteristic will lead to alert fatigue.

To be optimally effective, an alert should paint the complete picture of the threat. What part of your system is being affected and what is the way forward? This will make it easy for your IT team to neutralize your threat as soon as you can and with enough threat intelligence.

The Redundancy of Alerts

In some cases, you might receive multiple alerts on the same issues within the same hour or day. This often results in fatigue and the worst case scenario where your security team starts to ignore these alerts. One method to reduce this redundancy is to fine-tune the tolerance levels in your security tools.

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While layering your security solutions is a sure way to fortify your business against the unpredictable threat landscape, it might also result in alert redundancy, especially if the solutions can’t be integrated. In most cases, you will receive the same alert from the different security systems. The solution here is to either look for a way to integrate the solutions or move to a platform-based integrated security solution that provides you with all the security you need.

Conclusion

Your security teams should never treat alerts lightly – they should pay attention to all alerts. However, this might be tough, especially when they have a lot of alerts to attend to simultaneously. Make changes in your security system to reduce the chances that your IT team will ignore sensitive alerts.