Hackers know the faster they move, the more data they can steal, and the more damage they can do to your enterprise. It’s a race to see whether cyber-attackers can move faster than your IT security team. And you don’t want to be on the wrong side of that equation. Optimizing your alert management process is one way to move fast and allow your teams to take timely action, streamline workflows, and improve overall IT operations.
In an ideal world, all alerts would be similar, and your organization would quickly bounce back from an attack. But enterprises and cyberattacks are complex, especially today when enterprise IT infrastructure is more diverse and layered than ever. Coping with such complexity requires a different approach to alert management; an approach that goes further than simply responding to alerts in chronological order or assuming that every alert requires action.
Alert Management Challenges :
IT infrastructures of most enterprises are a complex mix of physical and virtual machines, software-defined networks, cloud systems, connected sensors, etc. all layered over one another. The origin of an alert thus could be hard to track, and the problem could be rooted in a different part of the infrastructure than where the alert appeared.
Diverse technologies and processes
Some enterprise applications could be hosted locally while others could be on the cloud and managed by third-party providers. This disparate medley of applications and services often making it hard to track alerts. As a result, enterprises end up using several monitoring tools to track scores of alerts every day. This piecemeal and disconnected approach can lead to alert tsunami, making it harder to prioritize alerts for remediation.
It can be very hard to measure the severity of an alert and sort out actionable alerts. Without alert prioritization, IT teams end up looking at each alert and hence suffering from alert fatigue.
Overwhelming alert volume
Most enterprise applications and systems require round-the-clock monitoring. Imagine the sheer volume of alerts they would have to deal with on a daily basis. This never-ending stream of alerts can lead to alert fatigue and slowdown response time.
Optimizing the Alert Management Process :
Intelligent alert prioritization
Not all alerts require attention, and even actionable alerts can be split into different risk categories. Intelligent alert prioritization helps with pinpointing the systems and applications with the highest risk levels, targeting known attack vectors, and maintaining an active list of known high-risk attackers. Low-priority alerts can be suppressed and attended to, when necessary, by IT security admins. With reduced alert noise and decluttered dashboards, the result is a significantly reduced response time and better focus on the most pressing, high-risk threats.
Perform root-cause analysis
Root-case analyses are needed to identify any underlying reasons behind an alert by going deeper than what’s immediate and seemingly obvious. Over time, root-cause analysis helps enterprises build a preventative stance by enabling a proactive approach and resolving possible causes before they can lead to an event.
Ask the right questions for better visibility
After establishing and optimizing alert management processes and IT workflows, enterprises also must test, measure, and refine these regularly, to ensure that these processes continue to work well for the enterprise. IT security heads should ask questions such as how much time was taken to triage an alert, the response time for recurring alerts, number of resources involved in alert response and resolution, percentage of alerts missed, and so on.
Send different alerts to different people
An inefficient alert management process will direct all alerts to every member on the IT security team, regardless of roles, access level, skillsets and availability. Automation is one way to ensure that alerts reach the right people and ensure timely response, accurate triage, and faster remediation.
Alert management processes in an enterprise need to be efficient and agile. Downtime caused by an event could mean loss of revenue, damage to reputation, upset customers, regulatory and compliance penalties, inefficiencies in IT teams as resources are pulled away from critical work to handle alerts, and a rise in operational costs.
Monitoring the complex IT infrastructures of today without becoming overwhelmed demands optimized alert management which can streamline the IT security team’s ability to identify, prioritize, and resolve alerts so they can stay within their SLA targets. Optimizing alert management processes also helps control the impact of an event on the business, reduces alert fatigue, optimizes IT resources, and ensures operational efficiency.