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How Tool Consolidation Alleviates Overwhelmed Cybersecurity Teams

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Cybersecurity is an overwhelming topic right now. 

There are so many different types of cyberattacks happening to private individuals, public businesses, and even professional sports teams. It can feel like no one is truly safe, especially when you consider the evolving (and sometimes dystopian) nature of these threats.

Given the threat landscape, it’s no wonder those managing cybersecurity for small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) feel outgunned. 

According to a recent report—following a Coro-commissioned survey of cybersecurity decision makers from a range of industries in the United States—73% of IT teams at SMEs miss critical security alerts due to (among other things):

  • Lack of staffing (40%)
  • Not enough time (38%)
  • Noisey tools (38%)
  • Limited cybersecurity knowledge (33%)

In this post, we’ll dig deeper into these four problem areas burdening cybersecurity teams, and see what can be done about them. 

Biggest time drains in cybersecurity

It might seem counterintuitive, but the more cybersecurity tools you’re using, the greater risk you’re creating. And the danger isn’t just coming from increased potential attack vectors due to poor tool integrations; it’s a multifaceted problem. 

According to the report, 75% of IT professionals spend between 4-6 hours per day managing their cybersecurity tools; so at least half of their day and upwards of all of it. Some folks (14%) are spending more than an entire shift (7-9 hours) managing tools.

The biggest time sinks involve:

  • Monitoring security platforms (52%)
  • Patching vulnerabilities (42%)
  • Responding to high-priority alerts (38%)
  • Responding to low-priority alerts (38%)
  • Managing endpoint agents (37%)
  • Integrating other security tools (36%)
  • Analyzing alerts (36%)

It’s understandable that if you are operating several cybersecurity tools at once, you’ll need to spend more time watching them for updates, tweaking their integrations, and then fixing any issues they uncover. 

But what’s also clear from this list is that teams are drowning in alerts.   

How the noise of cybersecurity tools impacts protection

Operating a range of different cybersecurity tools results in a flood of incoming data. As a result, IT folks are spending a good portion of their days trying to make sense of it all, separating the legitimate concerns from the false positives, and remediating any issues.  

If you can imagine a single cybersecurity tool as a mobile phone, imagine a bunch of phones all buzzing from constant push notifications and a small team of people trying to interpret and respond to all of it, all day long. 

How too many tools hamstrings staffing

On average, according to our report, cyber teams at SMEs are attempting to manage over 10 different cybersecurity tools. To get more specific, the majority of organizations (74%) are using anywhere from six to 15 different tools at a time. And there are some businesses (13%) using upwards of 20 different cybersecurity tools. That’s a lot of noise. 

It’s no wonder IT professionals say they don’t have enough staff, and why it’s easy for important alerts to slip through the cracks. Did we mention that there’s already a serious shortage of cybersecurity professionals? 

According to a 2023 report from ISC2, a nonprofit member organization for cybersecurity professionals, the industry workforce shortage has risen to a record high of around 4 million. You can imagine that gap is not just impacting the quality of the candidates teams are getting, but also making retention very challenging. 

How too many tools hinders cybersecurity knowledge

Whether you have cybersecurity staff on your SME IT team who are still cutting their teeth in the industry or seasoned veterans, the more tools you’re throwing at them, the more incapacitated they’ll become by the functionality learning curve and volume of noise. 

It’s extremely difficult for teams to become experts on a variety of ever-changing tools. Even if they’re able to master a handful of them, there will be some tools that potentially don’t get used as often but are still constantly blurting out alerts. 

Consider that ICS2 also found that 60% of organizations are having difficulties retaining qualified cyber security talent, and turnover rates are approximately 20%. So even if you have a staff who has a firm grasp of all your tools, when some of them leave, they’re taking that institutional knowledge with them, and you’ll need to start the onboarding process with new staff all over again. 

How tool consolidation helps

True, you could just invest in a better SIEM to get all your tools flowing and reporting into the same place, but that’s more of a band-aid. When a home’s lawn is overgrown, it needs to be trimmed. Similarly, when a tech stack is sprawling and out of control, it needs to be cut down. 

Simplification through tool consolidation alleviates a lot of these issues for teams. Maybe that’s why 85% of SMEs are planning to consolidate their cybersecurity stack in 2024, according to our report. 

If you can take all or a majority of your tools and cut them down into a single cybersecurity platform, teams will only need to:

  • Manage one security platform
  • Handle streamlined alerts
  • Learn one tool

Through a consolidated platform approach to cybersecurity, teams can regain their time, energy, and resources. And the gains teams made can be put into proactive activities that’ll really move the needle on your protection. 

Beyond that, teams won’t need to be spending their days fussing with integrations. If you’re using a single platform, every component is talking to each other seamlessly. 

As for choosing the right vendor, that’s a separate article, but we can get you started by pointing you in the right direction

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