Today, the security industry is over-saturated with technologies and tools. While many enterprises have established or are setting a foundation for their security operations strategy with Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) and Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR), there are countless point solutions arising to extend them, from SOAR to CASB, UEBA and more. Although each tool is introduced with good intention, 69% of security decision makers report their security team spends more time managing security tools than effectively defending against threats, according to ReliaQuest’s Technology Sprawl Survey.

This can have some detrimental and long-lasting effects on the organization, including reduced visibility, slower response time, lower ROI for the security program, and a lack of meaningful insights required to make effective security decisions.

One way that organizations are avoiding this cycle and instead improving visibility is by shifting their focus to optimizing their existing security programs, including their technologies, team, and processes. If the following signs sound familiar, it may be time for you to consider following suit:

1. You’ve invested resources in security tools that end up on the shelf.

As the industry produces more tools, your security operations is faced with the growing challenge of trying to fit them into your own unique infrastructures and to support your own business needs. When this happens, tools are often used in different ways than they were intended, and their full value is rarely realized. In fact, 60% of enterprise decision makers say that most of their security technologies are underutilized.

Are you confident your investments are being utilized to address critical threats?

2. Your security team’s time is spent primarily on maintaining and monitoring technologies or sifting through meaningless alerts.

As you implement more and more technologies, the organizational infrastructure required to manage these tools becomes increasingly burdensome. Seventy-one percent of enterprises report they’re adding security technologies faster than they’re adding the capacity to productively use them.

Perhaps in an effort to save time and energy, you’ve considered outsourcing your data to a managed security service provider (MSSP) or managed detection and response (MDR) provider. But, not unlike the tools, many MSSPs have adopted a similar “one-size-fits-all” approach that dilutes the service you hired them for. Instead of getting the individualized outcomes expected from service providers, security teams often end up on the outside of a black-box filtering service, spending time sifting through meaningless alerts with too little analysis. Not only is your team’s time taken up with reactive tasks, you’re also still lacking the visibility you need to mature and measure your security program. The outcome you’re looking for, therefore, is going to require a different solution.

Does your team have the bandwidth to respond to critical events?

3. You face increasing and unpredictable costs to access your own data.

At some point, many security leaders find themselves at a crossroads of having to choose either to increase threat visibility or manage security spend. Because many security technologies price on throughput or storage, the only way for you to see more of your own organization’s data is to buy access to it. When every tool requires a decision on access independent of all other tools, the costs can quickly add up.

Unfortunately, even when you do buy access to your data, data in EDR, in multiple cloud environments, and in third-party apps is not centrally collected, impeding investigations because your teams need to pivot among tools and cobble together data in spreadsheets and other inefficient ways.

Are you forced to decide on a trade off between visibility, speed, and increased spend?

How to Rethink Your Security Operations Strategy

The solution isn’t more tools, larger teams, or a black-box MSSP.

Instead, focus on optimizing your current security investments.

  1. Start by taking inventory of your current capabilities across your security tools and resources to understand where your program has strengths, gaps and overlaps.
  2. Evaluate and score these capabilities by how well and effectively they are used. You will discover that you are not using many of the capabilities you already possess.
  3. Score how critical these capabilities are in progressing your security program moving forward. After all, there is no use in implementing a capability if it doesn’t further your program.
  4. Determine how you can continue to measure each capabilities’ success against priorities. The goal is to ensure ongoing productivity, not just at a point in time.
  5. Then, align your resources by taking a close look at your internal team, evaluating how their skill sets complement your tools and where there are gaps.

When you have a solid understanding of your available technologies, people, and processes, you can turn your attention to connecting the silos through integration and automation.

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Six Best Practices to Improve Visibility and Accelerate Response