In a recent session of our Accelerate Threat Detection and Response with SIEM + SOAR webcast series, Rapid7 product leaders offered advice on how to increase security team efficiency, broke down the most prevalent cybersecurity issues, and highlighted ways to focus, optimize, and streamline security responses. Read on to learn how these steps can help free up security teams to address critical threats and eliminate repetitive tasks.

From response lag to excess noise: Identifying cybersecurity challenges

Reports show up to 65% of security professionals actively think about quitting as a result of stress. While this number sounds shockingly high, experts note it’s hardly a surprise to those inside the industry. Security teams face myriad complicating factors in their day-to-day operations, and pinpointing the most urgent challenges is the first step toward addressing cybersecurity issues, boosting job satisfaction, and encouraging team morale.

One of those challenges is the continued sprawl of threat environments. Today, a typical security team manages thousands of different cloud services and hundreds of applications. With workforces shifting online, they must find ways to secure remote endpoints. And as the digital footprint of most organizations continues to expand, hiring tends to remain stagnant, leaving fewer professionals to handle a growing number of tasks. Combine this with the emergence of increasingly complex threats, and it’s no wonder security teams feel so overwhelmed.

Another notable issue is the unprecedented level of noise and false positives. Organizations struggle to keep pace with alerts—and when they do act, investigations take too long. Attacks occur in minutes, but responses may take months to resolve. The average attacker has an estimated nine months to explore their environment undetected. Hampered (and too often defined) by outdated software, security infrastructure lags.

Clarifying priorities to achieve focus

Encouragingly, experts say they’re seeing more customers beginning to approach cybersecurity with a framework mindset. Users seek a plan that emphasizes prioritization, with a focus on what’s relevant to their particular industry. They recognize the perception that security acts as an obstacle to DevOps agility, and want to embrace a more supportive security posture.

While no team can manage everything efficiently, a focused team is an efficient team. Security is not one-size-fits-all, so this means finding the right framework for your particular team. What are you protected against now? What are your “crown jewel” assets? It’s critical to track progress over time in order to assess which implementations prove successful, and measure resource expenditures against security benefits. With the appropriate focus, security can learn to work smarter, not harder, to improve business outcomes.

But unless your team is educated in the proper processes, you risk rendering even the perfect framework useless. With a well-communicated incident playbook, it should be abundantly clear who is in charge of what before a crisis strikes. You don’t want to be unsure who notified customers following a breach—or whether they’ve been notified at all. In training, simulate likely emergency scenarios in table top exercises. When addressing staffing needs, weigh the pros and cons of third-party outreach alongside internal hires.

Reducing remediation time: Performance analysis and automation

When there’s team consensus around goals, priorities, roles, and responsibilities, it’s much easier to analyze performance and drive improvements. Conduct audits regularly, noting improvements as well as repeat findings. These should help teams derive smarter recommendations over time, and ideally keep users from making the same mistakes over and over again.  

Security leaders must find creative ways to amplify impact, not noise. The good news is the security industry is warming to automation. Because automation minimizes response time and process redundancies while improving threat detection reliability, it’s increasingly embraced for its ability to efficiently target pain points.

In addition to streamlining mundane, repetitive processes, automation allows analysts to focus on triage, instead of getting bogged down in false positives. And with the right tools, security teams don’t have to spend time building their own platforms, which further reduces friction. According to our experts, users report finding automation tools strangely addicting; it’s not uncommon to hear, “What can I automate next?”

Listen to the full webcast

Thanks to our security team leaders for taking the time to chat, and guide us through implementing more efficient cybersecurity practices. Listen to the full webcast and make sure you’re registered to catch additional on-demand sessions of our Accelerate Threat Detection and Response with SIEM + SOAR webcast series.

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