Decrypting the Alert Management System
Functions of Alert Management System
The objective of the alert management system is to maintain and establish a standard set of procedures for handling and managing the security related events and alerts through the mode of recording, action, classification, implementation and closure activities. Every alert management system is designed to perform the following key security functions:
Routing: Routing is the way of directing the required information in a timely manner to the desired person so that it helps get the issue resolved.
Matching: It helps keep track of cyber attackers, who have previously caused harm to the systems and evaluates the risk associated with it.
Verification: This function of alert management helps in preventing further cyber-attacks by keeping up to date with the latest updates, regulations and policies, which are published regularly by the cyber security admins.
Scoring: Scoring is an important aspect as it calculates the scores and assigns them for every activity and data that is flowing through the system. It helps in further risk evaluation of the security operations.
Linking: This function of the alert management system helps by linking to more activities and proactively finding threats, by alerting the threats to the user and reducing the risk to operations.
Alert Monitoring and its Significance
The Alert Management system notifications serve as the first line of protection against system disruptions or modifications that might escalate into catastrophic problems. Infosec teams can reduce downtime and the significant expense that comes with it by automatically monitoring systems and providing alerts for outages, breaches and unsafe modifications.
The Alert monitoring pattern consists of both active monitoring and passive monitoring of components and services. The former defines the proactive steps and action to be taken that defines the behavior of the system. While the latter deals with the passive acknowledgement of the system or the service.
The Alert significance can be categorized by each organization independently based on events and warnings and specified guidelines. In general, there are three broad groups identified by AMS reporting mechanism:
Informational: These are the alerts that do not necessitate action and do not represent exceptions.
Exception: These alerts tend to provide information about a system or component’s dysfunction. In case of an incident or a problem, an issue is reported and is notified to the user.
Warning: These alerts are triggered when a system or service reaches a certain threshold specified by the security or IT admin. In such circumstances, it generates a warning event and an action is advised to resolve it.
Alert Monitoring Automation
The system should automatically monitor for critical problems and notify you when they occur and configure custom escalation policies without manual interventions. As a result of this, it becomes easier to quickly fix the issue without any delay or downtime and reduce response time. For example, if one of the systems is raising a red flag, such should be notified through the automated workflow so that it can be addressed and acted upon immediately.
Smart Alerting System
The alert systems must be smart enough to know if something is important enough to wake a subject matter expert in the middle of the night, or whether it can wait until the morning. This might be the difference between happy operations teams with quick reaction times and alert-fatigued teams that spend their weekends looking for a new job. Hence, it is up to the systems to intelligently highlight the important alerts that need quick attention.
De-duplication of Alerts
The alert monitoring systems will eventually show all types of alerts and from different sources. But it may be that these alerts are repetitive and hence the volume of the alerts increase. The more we see the same alert, the less we notice it. As a result of this, alert de-duplication becomes a critical feature of the monitoring system where the ideal strategy here is to reduce the number of notifications and reminders and group them clearly based on the rules defined as part of de-duplication.
The best practice is to have a centralized automated AMS that creates sensible thresholds for alerts and ensure that every event isn’t leading to tickets and incidents for security operations teams. Alert Fusion integrates technology that allows users to suppress, postpone, and expedite notifications based on their content and timeliness.
A good AMS should aim to improve the incident response management with its centralized and automated system that integrates with existing security tools, automates the workflow and also adds a note to your alert or dismiss it. However, there are situations when there are intermediate phases. As an example, you might escalate the warning for additional investigation, create a service ticket, or restart a server. AlertFusion offers centralization, de-duplication, visualization, analytics, reporting and automated solutions that allow you to do more than simply open and close doors.
By Jayanth Varma, Founder
CEO/Founder of AlertFusion. We aim to improve the productivity of our customers by tackling the challenges faced by their analysts day in and day out. We do this through centralising alerts, eliminating rework, and retaining key knowledge.