While cybercrime rates continue to climb, cybersecurity professionals have become a crucial part of every organization’s personnel. Yet, as a new study reveals, most of those hired are spending the majority of their time responding to an overwhelming number of security alerts – including a staggering percentage of false positives.
Cybersecurity Experts Suffer from Alert Fatigue
According to research conducted across 185 specialists at Infosecurity Europe, 9% of cybersecurity experts tackle more than a million security alerts on a daily basis – which means it’s no surprise that 22% state that they felt frustrated and stressed. Struggling to respond to countless alerts every day claims a lot of working time for IT specialists, with 44% devoting more than four hours on an average daily basis to addressing security alerts. 31% have responded that they allocate between one and four hours to that same task, while only 1 in 4 cybersecurity experts spends up to an hour tackling security breaches. Meanwhile, 9% of UK IT security professionals respond to more than 5 million alerts every week.
One of the biggest issues in the profession is dealing with a lot of false positives – and spending too much time trying to tell them apart from real incidents. The same study showed that across organizations, 63% struggle to tell false positives apart and a staggering 66% have opted to ignore an alert based on a previous experience when an incident was revealed to be a false positive. What happens when there are simply too many incidents to work through? 23% of those surveyed stated they choose not to deal with certain types of alerts and 58% adapt their trigger policies to reduce notifications, while 10% responded that they get more experts on board – yet, what raises concerns is that 9% of respondents said they turn alerts off.
African Countries on the Lookout for IT Security Specialists
The demanding nature of the job and the rise in hacker attacks results in an increased need for employees with the right skills to implement a company’s cybersecurity policy. For instance, as part of their web application security policy, most businesses install web application firewalls in order to protect web-based applications that are hosted on their enterprise servers from malicious requests and OWASP Top 10 threats that aim to steal sensitive data. But even the most sophisticated tools can only protect so much without the right people on board to respond to alerts.
African countries in particular struggle to find and retain properly trained personnel. This is why many of them have stepped up to invest in education and training for future cybersecurity experts: Senegal has just announced the establishment of a new National Cyber-Security School to train aspiring professionals in tackling hackers. Its graduates will be coveted hires between the country’s security services, private companies, and the judicial sector. Other African countries are already setting a global example – according to a recent study, Mauritius ranked no. 1 in Africa and no. 6 in the world in cyberspace defenses, with Egypt, Rwanda, Kenya and Nigeria also scoring in the top 5 in Africa.
As cybercrime continues to rise and evolve, demand for highly trained IT security specialists will go up – and African countries must keep up in order to stay safe from hackers.