How To Reduce The Alert Triage Time In Security Operations: SOC Analyst Guide

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Security threats are rising day by day, from sneaky phishing emails to ransomware attacks. They are dangerous for both large and small organizations. As these attacks get more and more advanced and sophisticated, the cost of keeping an eye on and mitigating the threats is getting higher and higher. 

The number of security threats is increasing, making it difficult for SOC teams to manage alerts proactively.

Today, most companies are shifting their stuff to the cloud, which means having more alerts to handle. Therefore, businesses are realizing the need to move towards a better solution.

The business must be ready for the problem before it starts showing its head up. This is where SOC alert triage comes in handy. Keep reading to know what is alert triage? and how you can reduce the alert triage time to manage all the security alerts efficiently!

What Is Alert Triage?‍

Alert Triage is a process of recognizing the important alerts from a huge pool of security alerts and allocating the resources accurately. Whenever a security alert pops up in SOC, it quickly checks the alert and finds out whether it’s a serious threat or not and whether it needs to be dealt with instantly or not. Alert triage is an efficient and organized system that can manage all the alerts quickly and actively.

It can identify the alerts that are urgent to be dealt timely.

This way, it sorts out the high-priority alerts and informs the incident response teams so that they can deal with it at the right time.

The alert triage process comprises several stages, including:

  • Collecting alerts
  • Categorizing alerts
  • Prioritizing alerts
  • Analyzing alerts
  • Incident response
  • Ongoing improvement

Challenges With Security Alert Triage:

The challenges of security operations alert triage are:

  • Lack of Perfect Information: Sometimes, you may not get the perfect information from various sources (network, endpoint, identity). This makes it difficult to see a clear picture of the security situation
  • Difficulty in Determining Severity and Impact: It’s not easy to find out the serious alerts and what impact they can have on the system if the security team does not act. Therefore, it’s crucial to have a team of skilled people so that they can gather the right information and understand the information correctly to deal accurately with the alerts
  • Alert Fatigue: Having too many alerts can overwhelm the analysts and there is a great risk that he/she will start ignoring the important alerts. This can happen because of the overloading of information. It can be very difficult and challenging, especially when dealing with a huge volume of false positives 
  • Need for Time and Skill: SOC alert triage is a process that needs to present the information accurately and quickly so that the analyst can understand the alert and perform the necessary action after understanding the provided information. Because of this, it’s crucial to have the experts onboard and enough time to manage everything efficiently 
  • Integration Challenges: The team of cyber security experts use different tools to perform various tasks, sometimes these tools do not work well, because of poor integration. It makes the whole picture blur and difficult to understand what’s happening during the triage

Strategies to Reduce the Alert Triage Time:

To reduce the alert triage time, use these strategies:

Collaboration In SOC Alert Triage:

This is essential for good collaboration among the members of the SOC team. The collaboration of the analysts in figuring out the real threats reduces the overall effort and time.

Working in a team while sharing ideas, points of view, and skills improves the alert-checking process and increases accuracy. This creates a perfect learning environment in which one learns new things from each other and other learning channels.

Clear communication and working collaboratively make sharing information easy, allow the team to respond better, and resolve problems quickly and accurately. 

Alert Escalation: 

The analysts are in charge of handling security alerts. Lower-tier alerts can be handled by junior analysts, but higher-tier alerts require to be handled by an experienced analyst.

The higher tiers should be sent to the senior analyst so that necessary action can be taken as needed. This process of passing tough alerts to experienced analysts is called alert escalation.

This approach helps to reduce the time of alert triage. An experienced analyst can analyze the high-tier alert more precisely, going deeper into the depth of the problem. If things get more serious, the latest tools and resources can be used to resolve them by involving outside help. This process makes the team’s work better and more efficient. 

SOC Alert Triage Automation:

In a security operation Center (SOC), several security alerts come from various tools, making it difficult for the analyst to investigate the true alert. Not all the alerts are difficult, some are easy and can be easily resolved by the junior analysts.

But most of them are difficult to understand they require a highly experienced analyst to understand the problem and resolve it. Analysts can not check all the alerts. This means there is a great chance that they miss an important alert. This way, a sneaky attack can sneak without getting noticed. This risk can be mitigated by using alert tirage automation. 

The use of AI and machine learning algorithms enhances the efficiency of the process. The automation of the tools helps to check the huge amount of alerts and prioritize them on the severity for further human review.

The automation of tasks, allows the cyber security teams to focus on the investigation of the real threats that can harm the system.  

At this present time, tracking and tackling threats with a high speed is necessary. So that they can keep their systems and data safe from the attackers.

The organizations can easily do that by making the SOC alert triage process smoother and faster. By using AI and collaboration and the strategies that we have discussed above, the security teams can reduce the time spent on alert triage. This way, the organizations can stay one step ahead of cyber threats.