Insider Threat Management

3 Ways Alert Fatigue Can Hurt Your Insider Threat Program

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If you’re a cybersecurity professional, chances are your days and nights are filled with alerts. Often, there may be so many that it’s difficult to cut through the noise. In a recent study from Threat Stack, 71% of CISOs said that their teams are experiencing alert fatigue, and 82% of respondents noted that this issue was having a negative impact on their organisation’s well-being and productivity.

Unfortunately, alert fatigue can weaken an organisation’s insider threat program, by making it tougher to identify and eliminate real threats. When security teams get an overabundance of alerts, it can be tough for analysts to piece together data from multiple, related alerts manually. Often teams are lacking context into each alert, and analysts spend too much time investigating false positives (or worse, they miss or ignore important alerts altogether).  

Here are three ways alert fatigue could be harming your insider threat program, along with some tips on how to effectively navigate these challenges.

1. The Problem: Inability to Fine-Tune Alerts

Alert triage is one of the biggest challenges security teams face today. Many security tools are difficult to fine-tune, and as a result, teams may be getting more alerts than they actually need. With insider threats, in particular, this approach can be problematic. The sheer volume of alerts can be overwhelming, as many everyday user activities could potentially result in accidental or malicious insider threat incidents. Identifying a real incident can be as difficult as finding a needle in a haystack.

The Solution: The ability to create and edit alert rules within Proofpoint ITM can help teams improve their system over time, based on their organisation’s specific cybersecurity policies and workforce requirements. Administrators can also periodically delete rules to improve overall relevance of alerts, cutting down on alert fatigue.

2. The Problem: Lack of Context Around Alerts

Another common scenario is that after an alert is triggered, there’s little context into who did what, when (and even why). The lack of contextual clarity often leads security teams on a wild goose chase to determine the details of a potential incident, even if the alert was a false alarm. This pursuit often wastes the time of high-value team members who could otherwise be deployed on more strategic and urgent matters.

The Solution: With Proofpoint ITM, teams can quickly view context into any alert -- gaining additional detail on the user, machine, removable media device, timeline and other metadata specific to the alert. With a few clicks of a mouse, security teams can discover information that previously may have taken days, weeks, or months to hunt down.

3. The Problem: Not Knowing When to Escalate an Alert to Insider Threat Investigation Status

With an overabundance of alerts, it can be difficult for security professionals to know when to escalate an alert to investigation status. This issue also relates to an overall lack of context into the meaning of alerts. Without understanding critical details, the time to investigate a potential incident can dramatically slow down, increasing the likelihood of sensitive data leakage.

The solution: Proofpoint ITM can aid the insider threat investigation process, allowing security teams to quickly determine whether an alert requires further action. Using timelines of user activity data and video session recordings, security professionals can dive deep into an alert’s context to speed time to investigation. Leveraging capabilities to anonymise user data, teams can gather details on alerts while protecting user privacy and maintaining compliance.

Gaining control and reducing your security team’s alert fatigue can dramatically improve the ability to effectively detect and investigate insider threats. Accurate information allows teams to act quickly on potential incidents, before data loss occurs.

To learn more about how Proofpoint ITM can reduce alert fatigue and help your team build a successful, proactive  proactive insider threat program, try it out in our sandbox environment (no downloads or configuration required).