How Autonomous Cyber Security Can Ease Your Alert Fatigue

Problem 3 of 7 Things Wrong with Mid-Market Cyber Security

Too many mid-market companies are dealing with a tangled web of security solutions. More often than not procuring, managing, and scaling between 30 to 40 point cyber security products to fortify their defences. But as hackers increasingly focus on mid-market organisations, it’s more important than ever to reduce their risk exposure. Everything needs protecting – web, email, cloud, and employee identities. Often, each product singularly focuses on addressing a small part of the overall problem. The tendency to fortify cyber protection around every entry point has been an instinct for years. This has inadvertently made cyber defences unnecessarily complex and costly. And if these products can’t share threat intelligence between themselves, as is often the case, then the company’s line of defence is weaker by default.

The net result for IT managers of this overly complex cybersecurity is alert fatigue. Alert apathy. So, what’s the root cause of the problem?

The hacker’s cyber sweet spot causing mid-market alert fatigue

Small businesses in the UK are targeted by an average of 65,000 cyber-attacks every day, or roughly 46 attacks per minute, according to global insurer Hiscox. Around 4,500 per day are successful1. Mid-market organisations are becoming a sweet spot for hackers. Of all the social engineering attacks reported to Beazley Breach Response (BBR) Services globally in Q2 2020, 60% were targeted at mid-market organisations.

At the same time, cybersecurity skills are in short supply. A few years back, KPMG was predicting a global shortage of 2 million cybersecurity professionals by 2019. Since then, with the pandemic ensuring thousands of organisations made the jump to the cloud even faster than predicted, that shortage has inevitably grown worse. Add to this the fact that many companies are running an overly-large collection of security products, and the result is an unmanageable amount of security alerts.

Inevitably, security teams are quickly getting worn down by the sheer volume of information coming in from their security solutions. They don’t have the manpower to investigate alerts at the speed they arrive – which means red alerts don’t always get identified fast enough, leaving the organisation vulnerable to serious attack. ‘Serious’ really is the word here. According to IBM, the global average cost of a data breach is $3.9 million. For a small business, that’s potentially crippling. Missing the wrong alert could cost the company everything. And that pressure hangs over security teams, adding to the stress they already feel at having to prioritise amongst the flood of alerts.

Autonomous cyber security will lighten the squeeze

There must be a better way. For organisations that are feeling the squeeze – or drowning in alerts – the key to regaining control lies in more intelligent automation and integration. As machine learning and AI capabilities have evolved in recent years, new solutions are emerging with the ability to autonomously sift and prioritise alerts, even when they don’t follow preloaded playbooks.

This application of artificial intelligence effectively gives security teams an extra colleague – one that works faster and more tirelessly than humanly possible, even at 2am. It provides a much-needed extra layer of confidence that important alerts will be identified, and effective action will be taken – automatically. And when the system decides human attention is essential, security teams are much more likely to be faced with genuinely important issues rather than alert spam.

A disconnected autonomous cloud security solution is half the story. That’s where integration comes in. If mid-market organisations are to stem the tide of alerts and maximise the efficiency of their security systems, each element of those systems must be interconnected. When one channel registers an attack, it’s essential that the threat intelligence from that encounter is shared across other systems to help prevent the same threat entering elsewhere. Not only does an integrated approach limit the chance of a repeat attack being successful – it also reduces the number of needless alerts sent to security staff.

Overall, implementing autonomous, integrated cloud security gives IT teams the opportunity to fine-tune their role. Now, the grunt work of investigating false positives can be handed off to their software and they can dedicate themselves to the strategic, creative thinking the business needs.

Alert fatigue has been the price of complex, unfit security systems for too long. There is a better way. Autonomous, integrated cloud security is accessible for the mid-market.

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