The problem with multiple cloud security tools: Alert fatigue and burnout

Orca Security released a research report on public cloud security alert fatigue. The survey, held among over 800 IT professionals across five countries and ten industries found that 55% of respondents use three or more cloud providers and 57% have five or more cloud security tools.

cloud security alert fatigue

This combination of multi-cloud adoption and disparate tooling is overwhelming security teams with a flood of inaccurate alerts. For example, 59% of respondents receive more than 500 public cloud security alerts per day, and 38% receive more than 1,000 per day.

More than half of respondents spend more than 20% of their time deciding which alerts should be dealt with first. The overload of alerts, combined with widespread inaccuracy (43% say more than 40% of their alerts are false positives) is not only contributing to turnover but also to missed critical alerts. 55% of respondents say their team missed critical alerts in the past, due to ineffective alert prioritization – often on a weekly and even daily basis.

“Multiple, disconnected tools continue to plague security teams. Having to sift through hundreds of ‘high priority’ often meaningless alerts is causing security practitioners to become overwhelmed and leading to burnout and turnover, exacerbating cybersecurity staff shortages,” said Avi Shua, CEO, Orca Security.

“The only way to win the battle of cloud security is to leverage context to the maximum. Practitioners should be enabled to focus on the very few toxic combinations of alerts and attack paths that can put their crown jewels in jeopardy, rather than trying to review thousands of meaningless alerts.”

Key findings

The number of cloud security alerts and false positives keeps rising.

  • Of respondents, 59% say they receive more than 500 cloud security alerts per day. Almost 40% receive more than 1,000 alerts per day.
  • On a daily basis, 79% have more than 500 cloud security alerts open.
  • 81% of respondents say that more than 20% of alerts are false positives, while 43% say more than 40% of their alerts are false positives.

Security teams waste time, become desensitized by false-positive alerts, and experience organizational friction and burnout.

  • More than half of security teams spend more than 20% of their time deciding which alerts to handle first, while a quarter of teams spend more than 40% of their time prioritizing alerts.
  • Of the 55% of respondents who say that critical alerts are being missed, 41% said alerts are being missed on a weekly basis. Twenty-two percent said on a daily basis.
  • Alert fatigue causes burnout, turnover, and internal friction: 62% of respondents say that alert fatigue has contributed to turnover, and 60% said that alert fatigue has created internal friction.

The more security tools, the higher rate of false positives and alert fatigue.

  • According to the report, more than 57% of respondents have five or more public cloud security tools.
  • Those with 10 or more cloud security tools are 67% more likely to receive more than 1,000 alerts per day than those with 5 or fewer tools.
  • More than 50% of security professionals with at least 10 tools in their cloud environments receive 40% or more false-positive alerts.
  • Almost 70% of security teams with more than 10 tools suffer from alert fatigue compared to 57% of teams with less than 5 tools.

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