IDC: Most Orgs Mount Ineffective Security Investigations

Security investigations are all too often an exercise in exasperation, new research has revealed.

IDC found that half (47%) of surveyed organizations (across the US and Europe) fail to gather enough information about cyber-incidents to enable appropriate or decisive action. Firms experience an average of 40 actionable incidents per week, but only a quarter (27%) think they are coping comfortably with this workload, and a third (33%) describe themselves as “struggling” or “constantly firefighting.”

The volume of incidents is clearly challenging, and for some industries more than others: The average number of actionable security alerts per week rises to 77 for finance and 124 for telco. The survey also found that the issue is only likely to get worse. About 62% of firms are being attacked at least weekly, with 30% attacked daily and 10% hourly or continuously. Almost half (45%) are experiencing a rise in the number of security threats.

It’s no wonder that more than half (53%) of respondents claimed the biggest limitation to improving security capabilities was that resources are too busy on routine operations and incident investigation.

“The amount of time companies are spending on analyzing and assessing incidents is a huge problem,” said Duncan Brown, associate vice president, security practice, IDC. “The highest-paid, most skilled staff are being tied up, impacting the cost and efficiency of security operations. This is exacerbated when considered alongside the security skills shortage, which has most impact in high-value areas like incident investigation and response. Organizations must ensure that they are using their data effectively to gain key insights quickly to determine cause and minimize impact.”

Also, most firms only surface a breach to the board at the last possible moment. Asked when they report a security incident to the board, the top triggers were sensitive data breach (66%), compromised customer data (57%), and a mandated notification to a regulator (52%). Only 35% of firms have breach reporting to the board built into their defined incident response processes.

“It’s time to change how we approach incident response,” said Haiyan Song, senior vice president, security markets at Splunk, which sponsored the report. “As attacks become more advanced, frequent, and take advantage of IT complexity, we must become proactive in our approach to security—how else will we know we have been breached? As demonstrated by the swift, global spread of WannaCry, it has never been more important for organizations to proactively monitor, analyze and investigate to verify whether there are real threats, then prioritize and remediate the most critical. By taking an analytics-driven approach, and increasingly automating when possible, security teams can shorten investigation cycles, respond quickly and appropriately in the event of a compromise, free up resources to focus on more strategic initiatives and ultimately improve security posture.”

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