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Dec 11, 2023

Don’t Let Alert Fatigue Hinder Extended Detection and Response


Extended detection and response (XDR) is a critical component in cyber security. When implemented properly, it reduces the threats posed by external attacks by identifying and responding to them before they get too close. Strangely, XDR can be its own worst enemy when it leads to what is known as alert fatigue. At Hillstone Networks, we deploy the latest strategies and technologies to eliminate alert fatigue so that it doesn’t hinder XDR.

If your security team is suffering from alert fatigue, they are likely not doing the best job they can at keeping up with potential threats. This leads to delays which could ultimately mean successful attacks against your cloud. It is important to manage alert so that alert fatigue does not set in. 

A Cybersecurity Phenomenon

Alert fatigue is often described as a cybersecurity phenomenon brought on by receiving too many alerts in too short a time. In an alert fatigue scenario, security teams are so overwhelmed with alerts that they cannot possibly get to all of them in a reasonable amount of time. Most importantly, the majority of the alerts are either false positives or repeats of previous alerts that have not yet been dealt with.

There are particularly good reasons enterprises should ensure that their security teams don’t have to deal with alert fatigue. Here are just three of them:

  • Alert Desensitization – Being bombarded with too many alerts in too short a time leads to desensitization. It is the ‘too much of a good thing’ concept. Security personnel only have so much time and attention. If they are overwhelmed, the natural response is to pay less attention.
  • Slow Response Times – As the volume of alerts goes up, the time it takes to respond to each one goes up as well. Therefore, alert fatigue tends to result in slow response times. Rather than getting to an alert in a matter of hours, perhaps the security team is looking at days.
  • Team Member Burnout – Security team members are subject to burnout when under constant pressure to manage an overwhelming number of alerts. What’s more, burned-out team members are less effective at managing cybersecurity risks.

It goes without saying that alert fatigue can cause a lot of harm before anyone knows what is happening. Therefore, it’s imperative that enterprises and their security teams maximize XDR capabilities by preventing alert fatigue from happening in the first place.

Why Alert Fatigue Exists

In order to prevent alert fatigue, security personnel need to know why it exists. The number one cause is poorly configured security tools. Improper configuration leads to false positives. It leads to poor prioritization resulting in too many low priority alerts being mixed in with their high priority counterparts, thereby forcing security teams to sort through alerts just to figure out how to proceed.

There are other causes, including insufficient resources and a lack of knowledge among security teams. Fortunately, automation tools go a long way toward eliminating the problem. At Hillstone Networks, we recommend:

  • Automating workflows.
  • Implementing proven XDR solutions.
  • Reconfiguring poorly configured tools.
  • Prioritizing threat intelligence.
  • Improving communication among security team members.
  • Implementing regular employee training initiatives.

Alert fatigue is a very real problem plaguing security teams around the world. With threat actors and their malicious attacks not going anywhere, it is imperative that enterprises maximize their XDR capabilities by minimizing alert fatigue. Hillstone Networks can help. To learn more about how our security tools and strategies can improve your organization’s XDR, contact us at your earliest convenience. We are here to make your cloud as secure as possible.