The human cost of understaffed SOCs

SOC and IT security teams are suffering from high levels of stress outside of the working day – with alert overload a prime culprit, a Trend Micro study reveals.

understaffed SOCs

According to the study, which polled 2,303 IT security and SOC decision makers across companies of all sizes and verticals, 70% of respondents say their home lives are being emotionally impacted by their work managing IT threat alerts.

This comes as 51% feel their team is being overwhelmed by the volume of alerts and 55% admit that they aren’t entirely confident in their ability to prioritize and respond to them. It’s no wonder therefore that teams are spending as much as 27% of their time dealing with false positives.

SOCs and IT teams heavily understaffed

These finding are corroborated by a recent Forrester study, which found that “security teams are heavily understaffed when it comes to incident response, even as they face more attacks. Security operations centers (SOCs) need a more-effective method of detection and response; thus, XDR takes a dramatically different approach to other tools on the market today.”

Outside of work, the high volumes of alerts leave many SOC managers unable to switch off or relax, and irritable with friends and family. Inside work, they cause individuals to turn off alerts (43% do so occasionally or frequently), walk away from their computer (43%), hope another team member will step in (50%), or ignore what is coming in entirely (40%).

“We’re used to cybersecurity being described in terms of people, process and technology,” said Dr. Victoria Baines, Cybersecurity Researcher and Author.

“All too often, though, people are portrayed as a vulnerability rather than an asset, and technical defenses are prioritized over human resilience. It’s high time we renewed our investment in our human security assets. That means looking after our colleagues and teams, and ensuring they have tools that allow them to focus on what humans do best.”

Pressure sometimes comes at an enormous personal cost

With a staggering 74% of respondents already dealing with a breach or expecting one within the year, and the estimated average cost per breach $235,000, the consequences of such actions could be disastrous.

“SOC team members play a crucial role on the cyber frontline, managing and responding to threat alerts to keep their organizations safe from potentially catastrophic breaches. But as this research shows, that pressure sometimes comes at an enormous personal cost,” said Bharat Mistry, technical director for Trend Micro.

“To avoid losing their best people to burnout, organizations must look to more sophisticated threat detection and response platforms that can intelligently correlate and prioritize alerts. This will not only improve overall protection but also enhance analyst productivity and job satisfaction levels.”

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