Ninety-eight percent of IT security pros find incident response to be a challenge and 71% say it’s grown more difficult over the past two years, according to a new survey by Enterprise Strategy Group, sponsored by Hexadite.
“It’s a combination of several different factors, but the main problem is the inability to investigate every alert,” says Hexadite’s vice president of marketing Nathan Burke. “The increasing volume of attacks and subsequent alerts simply make it impossible to hire the problem away. It’s just not mathematically possible for companies to hire a large enough staff to investigate tens of thousands of alerts per month, nor would it make sense.”
A struggle to respond
Incident response is an organized approach to addressing and managing the aftermath of a security breach or attack. The goal is to handle the situation in a way that limits damage and reduces recovery time and costs.
According to the report, 91 percent of respondents say their incident response efficiency is limited by the time and effort spent on manual processes. Survey respondents said they had big plans to increase the use of orchestration and automation for incident response, with 97 percent either automating some of their incident response plans already, or planning to do so in the next 18 months. Only one-third of survey respondents consider their automation projects “mature.”
Prioritizing threats requires businesses and infosec professionals to make a conscious decision about what to ignore, and it is often difficult to determine which elements are low priority versus should be looked into and worked in immediately. Businesses and infosec professionals must have the ability to investigate everything without prioritization, and that can only be accomplished through automation. Organizations are using or considering automation to collect security data, reduce errors, automate workbooks, improve triage and increase the number of alerts that can be investigated. In fact:
- 46% of respondents say they can’t keep up with the volume of threat intelligence data. This may be due to an increase in the amount of threat intelligence consumed or problems associated with normalizing this threat intelligence into a useable format.
- 38% reported an increase in the number of hours devoted to incident response
- 42% report an increase in the volume of incident response data collected
- 39% indicated an increase in the volume of security alerts, and
- 38% reported an increase in the number of threat detection tools used
Where the problem lies
The problems may be too many automation tools, over-sensitive tools sending up false positives, or unskilled humans who don’t know what to do with automation tools.
While detection tools should be overly sensitive, raising red flags for every potential threat, companies who lack the capacity to follow up often tune the detection systems to match their capacity.
Respondents also reported other factors that drove changes in their IR operations in recent years, including: new IR related to new IT initiatives like IoT (44%); additional IR collaboration between security and IT ops (40%); and increase in staff training needed for IR (38%). Forty-seven percent say they struggle with “monitoring end-to-end IR processes.” The report also mentions that “could be due to a number of factors, including a lack of visibility across technology domains, poor data sharing practices between the IR and IT operations team, or a shortage of skills in areas like cybersecurity analytics and forensic investigations.”
Do the numbers surprise you? What are your organization’s challenges when it comes to incident response?