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How Continuous Intelligence Abates Security Staffing Issues

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Automation via a continuous intelligence-based security solution is one of the most effective ways to nullify the negative effect of the skills gap, avoid burnout, and help address understaffing as positions go unfilled.

Companies are increasingly being exposed to risk due to cybersecurity staff burnout, skills gaps, and understaffing due to people leaving and the difficulty filling positions. More and more, companies are looking to security solutions based on continuous intelligence to help address the underlying problems caused by these issues.

What’s the scope of the situation? Increased complexity of applications and the infrastructure they run on is creating more vulnerabilities.

At the same time, as companies provide easier access to more resources to workers outside of the office, as well as to clients and customers, they are opening themselves up to attack. And those attacks are becoming progressively more sophisticated, stealthy, and dangerous.

These conditions increase the workload on an already over-worked cybersecurity and security operations (SecOps) staff.

Other factors are making matters worse.

A skill shortage is contributing to burnout and unfilled jobs. In an industry survey of 500 cybersecurity professionals last year, 57% said a shortage of cybersecurity skills had impacted their organization, and over 10% reported this was having a significant impact. In turn, 67% said that such shortages have resulted in an increased workload. With such extra work pressures, 38% said they had experienced burnout in what was an already difficult year.

Burnout, skills gaps, and understaffing (due to it being so hard to find candidates in today’s highly competitive market for talent) continue this year and, if anything, are getting worse.

These three issues play off of each other and simply amplify the problems security staffs face today. This can lead to numerous problems, including:

  • Alert fatigue: As hackers step up their attacks, cybersecurity staff gets worn down, making it impossible to respond to every alert in a timely manner, leading to alert fatigue.
  • Slow incident response time: A security team that is understaffed or lacks certain skills will find it harder to cover everything that is happening. That can contribute to a failure to respond to incidents in a timely manner.
  • Incidents have a greater impact: The inability to timely respond to incidents worsens their impact, potentially causing irreversible damage to the organization.
  • Poor employee retention: Security staff that are overwhelmed often suffer burnout in the long run. The never-ending avalanche of alerts is often the cause of poor employee retention in the security sector.

Enter Continuous Intelligence

Continuous intelligence in a security information and event management (SIEM) role can help identify gaps in the security infrastructure that humans may not detect. That includes rapid response to attacks, coverage across a distributed computing environment, and the ability to deal with inputs from varied niche tools.

What’s also needed is automation. Automation is one of the most effective ways to nullify the negative effect of the skills gap, avoid burnout, and help address understaffing as positions go unfilled.

Why? Those responsible for protecting a company from cyber threats must quickly assimilate vast amounts of data from multiple systems and sources, derive insights into looming threats in real time, and instantly take action.

Increasingly, the way to accomplish that is by using SOAR (security orchestration, automation, and response). SOAR helps organizations collect inputs monitored by the security operations team. For example, alerts from a SIEM system and other security technologies can be analyzed and triaged using human and machine power. A continuous intelligence-based SOAR solution could then define, prioritize, and drive standardized incident response activities. The bottom line is that SOAR tools allow an organization to define incident analysis and response procedures in a digital, automated workflow format.

This can help compensate for skills gaps or worker shortages. It can offload tasks helping to alleviate burnout. And by automating threat analysis and response, such a solution can ensure incidents are managed in a timely manner.

Salvatore Salamone

About Salvatore Salamone

Salvatore Salamone is a physicist by training who has been writing about science and information technology for more than 30 years. During that time, he has been a senior or executive editor at many industry-leading publications including High Technology, Network World, Byte Magazine, Data Communications, LAN Times, InternetWeek, Bio-IT World, and Lightwave, The Journal of Fiber Optics. He also is the author of three business technology books.

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