Vectra’s 2023 State of Threat Detection Report - The Findings

Today’s security operation centre (SOC) teams have to defend against increasingly sophisticated and fast-paced attacks across an ever-growing attack surface. However, as well as an increasing volume of attacks to manage, SOC analysts are being bombarded with security solutions, complex tools, and alerts.

Vectra’s 2023 State of Threat Detection Report looks into these complexities, the challenges that SOC professionals are facing and what needs to be done to improve threat detection.

Key Findings from Vectra’s Report

Vectra’s independent global study of 2,000 SOC analysts provides key insights into the challenges that SOC professionals are facing. Some of the key findings from the report include the following:

  • 67% of SOC teams receive an average of 4,484 alerts per day.
  • 67% of security alerts are ignored.
  • 71% of analysts admit their organisation may have been compromised without their knowledge.
  • 97% of analysts worry they’ll miss a relevant security event because it’s buried in a flood of security alerts.
  • 83% of alerts are false positives. 
  • 67% of security analysts are considering or actively leaving their jobs.
  • 41% of analysts agree that security vendors flood them with pointless alerts because they’re afraid of not flagging a breach.

Why Threat Detection is Fundamentally Broken

The majority of SOC analysts say the size of their organisations' attack surface and the number of security tools and alerts they manage have significantly increased in the past three years. This rapid increase has led to three fundamental issues:

  1. Lack of Confidence - SOC analysts are left feeling uncertain due to the huge amount of noise they have to deal with; they don’t know when and where an attacker has compromised their organisation or, indeed, if they’ve been compromised at all. The major disconnect between SOC analyst effectiveness and threat detection tool efficacy is leading to a significant lack of confidence.
  2. Ineffective Tools - existing tools measure metrics such as reduced downtime, time to detect and respond, breaches prevented and more, yet these metrics are useless if organisations are continually breached anyway. Ineffective tools leave SOC analysts spending too much time triaging alert noise. The result is that detection blind spots and false positives are both on the rise.
  3. Talent Shortage - the huge volume of alerts is leading to analyst fatigue and burnout. With significant manual demands wearing down analysts, many are considering leaving. In an industry that already has a 3.4 million person talent deficit, this will only add to the security skills gap and create even more work for those that remain.

What Needs to Change?

If we don’t address the broken security model and redefine how the effectiveness of security tools is measured, the situation is only going to get worse as alert volumes increase. Vectra recommends creating a security confidence index metric to hold vendors more accountable for attack surface visibility, detection accuracy and analyst productivity. However, as less than half of respondents agree that vendors should take more responsibility, there is still a long way to go.

The report also points out that security vendors aren’t solely to blame. Organisations need to take responsibility too. Many respondents claim that security tools are often purchased as a box-ticking exercise to meet compliance requirements. Improvements can only be made if organisations rethink the decision-making process and stop buying tools that hinder analysts and add to their workload.

Ultimately, if nothing is done, the issue of more attack surface, more alerts, more cost, more inefficiencies and more breaches will continue to escalate. While SOC teams can’t control the growth of the attack surface or threat landscape, they can control signal and burnout challenges. After all, effective security doesn't mean simply detecting possible attacks; it means prioritising real attacks. The more signal clarity they have, the more resilient, efficient and effective SOC will become.

If you would like to download Vectra’s State of Threat Detection Report, click here. If you would like to enhance your threat detection and response capabilities contact InfoTrust today.

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