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The Dangers of Alert Fatigue on Cybersecurity

Remember the Boy Who Cried Wolf? The boy panicked and shouted warnings of an approaching wolf but was wrong about it so many times that the sheepherder eventually ignored one of these warnings, only for the wolf to really come and attack the sheep in the end. The fable is just as relevant today, and it’s especially relevant when it comes to your cybersecurity and alert fatigue.

Your employees who monitor security get a range of alerts throughout the day and, after enough time investigating only to find the causes are benign, they often ignore these false alarms. Little do they know, they’ve become a real-world example of the unprepared sheepherder.

This problem is called Alert Fatigue, and here are a few ways you can protect yourself (and your employees) from it.

Prioritize your alerts to minimize alert fatigue

This is the most sure-fire way to address important security concerns. Color code your alerts as red, yellow, or green depending on the severity of the attack. Employees will then know which to fight off first.

Not sure how to accomplish a color-coded system? A managed service provider can help. An MSP who specializes in cybersecurity services will manage those alerts and optimize them so that they are prioritized correctly. 

They’ll examine the existing alert systems and your most common alerts. From there, they’ll cancel or redirect low-priority actions and immediately contact your team if something worrisome arises.

Recognize a wolf when you see one

Aside from making sure that false alarms aren’t constantly dulling the senses of your team, it’s also important to make sure that real cyberattacks are given the seriousness that they deserve.

Be aware of the context surrounding the alerts so you can help your managed services provider understand which of them are legitimate threats. They can, for instance, see where alerts come from and what triggered them through effective log management. If they spot unauthorized access across the logs of two separate pieces of software on the system at the same time, for instance, that’s a stronger indicator of a real breach than just one log.

You’ll maximize the efficiency of that process if you can tell your MSP what you’re most concerned about and which alerts are most frequent.

Make sure alerts are going to the right places

There may be some alerts that aren’t crucial for the average worker but might be more important to members of your IT team. Security services can help you customize alerts systems so that those alerts go to different places and employees. Members of the team will be less likely to suffer from alert fatigue because they’ll only see red flags that concern their line of work.

The solution to Alert Fatigue is not to turn off all alerts, nor is it to take every alert with the same level of seriousness. Instead, cybersecurity services can help you understand which threats are real and which alerts should be turned off, allowing you to rest knowing that you’re going to be alerted when a wolf is actually at your door.

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