From phishing to ransomware and malware to Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attacks, cybersecurity threats are prevalent for both large corporations and small businesses alike. As security breaches themselves get more costly, industry leaders have also seen a dramatic increase in the cost of monitoring:
- 56% of companies with over 10,000 employees handle at least 1,000 security alerts per day.
- 55% of security professionals report that critical alerts often go unchecked.
- 63% of security teams spend more than 20% of their time monitoring alerts.
- 60% of security professionals said that “alert fatigue” has “created internal friction in their organization.”
Following the shift to the cloud—as well as an accompanying increase in security alerts—more and more companies are looking to streamline their workflows and level up their incident response plans to proactively respond to possible threats. This is also where alert triage comes in.
What is Alert Triage?
Think of alert triage as the process of identifying high-priority alerts and designating resources accordingly. This process starts the moment an alert pops up in a Security Operations Center (SOC) or Security Information and Event Management Solution (SIEM). Once an analyst sees that alert, they’re confronted with a decision: Do they escalate the alert, ignore it, or report it as a false positive? Alert triage can ultimately help to guide this initial investigation and decision.
At a glance, the best alert triage processes include the following key components.
- Planning an approach in advance.
- Prioritizing incoming alerts based on their potential impacts.
- Gathering circumstantial information to include in analysis.
- Escalating alerts and / or taking immediate action.
- Reporting and reviewing results.
Alert triage can be compared to the way data orchestration tools standardize data to streamline analysis processes. But as with any process, there’s always room for enhancements.
How Can You Improve Your Alert Triage Process?
Regular reviews are an essential part of keeping your alert triage process as efficient as can be. But what else can you do to strengthen your alert triage process? Read on for three potential options.
Reduce False Positives
Cloud DLP tools like Nightfall help users to fine-tune their detection and alerts by:
- Setting detection “confidence levels” to “Likely” or “Very Likely.”
- Increasing the minimum number of findings that are necessary to set off an alert.
- Creating and deploying exclusion rules to ignore certain kinds of content.
- Customizing context rules to up-weight or down-weight findings based on their surrounding contexts.
Beyond these fine-tuning tactics, you can also reduce false positives by:
- Ignoring low-level alerts.
- Initiating a threat feed and geolocation data.
- Conducting daily maintenance and data feeding.
Customize Your Stack
In addition to cloud DLP, there are a number of other tools and technologies that can round out a holistic security stack, depending on your business’ specific needs. Examples include:
- Periodic vulnerability management is the process of identifying, evaluating, remediating, and reporting vulnerabilities.
- Endpoint detection and response technology (EDR) conducts continuous, real-time monitoring of end-user devices to expose and counter cyber threats like malware and ransomware.
- User and entity behavior analytics (UEBA) relies on machine learning to flag malicious behaviors by scrutinizing discrepancies in typical everyday actions.
Prime examples of automation in alert triage include:
- Threat intelligence automation tools. These tools provide SOC teams with valuable observations regarding a range of harmful threats, including threat actors, their intentions, and how to combat them.
- Automated alerting. By automating specific processes like detection and remediation, security teams can lighten their workloads.
With the rise in AI, SaaS apps, and other cloud-based technologies, it’s clear to see there's never been a better time to streamline your business's alert triage process. Our final recommendation? Invest in effective tools that protect sensitive data, and never look back!