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April 19, 2024

SME Security Staff Overwhelmed by Tool Complexity

SMEs are bombarded by a constant stream of warnings from security software that’s specifically designed for large corporations. These enterprise tools generate thousands of alerts, most of which are irrelevant to the smaller scale of an SME. It’s kind of like being flooded with fire alarms that go off every few minutes but having no way to tell if it's a serious blaze or just a burnt toaster. 

The sheer volume of these false positives overwhelms security staff, who waste time investigating non-threats instead of focusing on real attacks. This "alert fatigue" creates a security blind spot, which leaves SMEs vulnerable.

“The reality is that enterprise security tools have failed SMEs,” said Guy Moskowitz, Coro CEO and co-founder. “With limited staff, SMEs struggle with the complexity of managing their security, torn between budget constraints, limited resources and the need for much better security coverage – this is mission impossible.”

To back up Moskowitz’s statement, let’s look at some of the numbers provided by Coro’s 2024 SME Security Workload Impact Report.

According to the report, nearly three-fourths of SME security professionals have missed, ignored or failed to act on critical security alerts, with respondents noting a lack of staff and a lack of time as the top two reasons.

Focusing on the lack of time aspect, respondents gave their feedback on the most time-consuming parts of their day. These included monitoring security platforms, managing and updating endpoint devices and agents, vulnerability management or patching, and installing, configuring and integrating new security tools.

To be more specific (and to give an idea of how much time is spent on cybersecurity alone), on average, 4 hours and 43 minutes are lost every single day wrestling with a complex web of security tools. This translates to nearly a full workday per week consumed by cybersecurity administration alone. 

The culprit? A bloated "security stack.” The average SME juggles11.55 different security tools. Having so many disparate tools creates confusion, redundancy and wasted effort.

The survey did point out that monitoring these security platforms creates a bottleneck effect. More than half of respondents identified this as the most time-consuming task. This constant vigilance is necessary, but with so many alerts and data points to sift through, valuable time gets sucked into chasing down false positives.

Respondents also said it takes 4.22 months for a new cybersecurity tool to become operational; with equal time spent on installation, configuration, training staff and integration with their existing security stack. Also, 53% of respondents must deal daily or weekly with vendors’ updates of these endpoint agents.

These inefficiencies impact an SME's ability to maintain a strong security posture. Security professionals are bogged down in administrative tasks, which leaves less time for proactive threat hunting and strategic security planning.

Therefore, SMEs moved toward simplifying their cybersecurity defenses. In fact, 85% of them plan to consolidate their tools within the next year. This shift is driven by the desire to improve their overall security effectiveness, not just by reducing workload.

“The most effective way for SMEs to escape this cybersecurity hell is to adopt a single platform that covers the entire security span and is designed to reduce workloads through one dashboard and one endpoint agent,” said Moskowitz.

The SME Security Workload Survey was conducted on behalf of Coro by OnePoll in late 2023.

Edited by Alex Passett

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