How Artificial Intelligence (AI) Helps Bridge the Cybersecurity Skills Gap

The widespread shortage of skilled security operations and threat intelligence resources in security operations centers (SOCs) leaves many organizations open to the increased risk of a security incident. That’s because they are unable to effectively investigate all discovered, potentially malicious behaviors in their environment in a thorough and repeatable way.

According to ESG, two-thirds of security professionals believe the cybersecurity skills gap has led to an increased workload for existing staff.

“Since organizations don’t have enough people, they simply pile more work onto those that they have,” wrote ESG Senior Principal Analyst Jon Oltsik. “This leads to human error, misalignment of tasks to skills, and employee burnout.”

Security teams need to effectively prioritize and streamline workloads to focus on what’s most important first. But how can organizations quickly identify and investigate threats when they are already struggling as a result of the widespread shortage of security skills?

They face numerous challenges, including delayed remediation efforts as a result of the sheer volume of alerts and false positives; tedious and time-consuming investigation processes that involve using a variety of systems and tools to detect, investigate and escalate threats; overwhelmed and overutilized SOC analysts; ever-increasing data volumes as IT infrastructure become more diverse; and unresolved security threats.

AI Helps Streamline Threat Identification, Investigation and Remediation

An effective way to improve SOC analyst productivity and effectiveness and reduce dwell time is to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to identify, analyze, investigate and prioritize security alerts.

AI in cybersecurity can be used as a force multiplier for security analysts by applying it directly to the investigation process. Through the application of analytics techniques, such as supervised learning, graph analytics, reasoning processes and automated data mining systems, security teams can reduce manual, error-prone research, make investigation outcome predictions (high or low priority, real or false), and identify threat actors, campaigns, related alerts and more.

A Framework to Help Bridge the Security Skills Gap

MITRE ATT&CK, a framework for understanding threat tactics, techniques and procedures based on real-world threat observations, is gaining traction as the standard for threat assessment and cybersecurity strategy. When combined with the MITRE ATT&CK framework, AI provides firsthand information about the tactics and stages of an attack potentially being used by a threat actor, adding insight and confidence to what the AI has discovered. It also speeds up response because analysts have an immediate understanding of what tactics have been adopted by bad actors. Not only does this shorten the hours of work by skilled analysts, it also ensures that all alerts are analyzed in a consistent way.

Below are some of the benefits gained by an organization that implemented an AI solution in its SOC:

  • Return on investment (ROI) of 210 percent
  • SOC analyst productivity savings of $1.8 million
  • Improved organizational security by $651,936
  • Decreased average investigation time from four hours to 10 minutes
  • Reduced total working hours SOC analysts spend on investigations from 65 percent to 15 percent

Register for the Webinar to Learn More

To learn more, download the Forrester Consulting report, “The Total Economic Impact (TEI) of IBM QRadar Advisor with Watson.”

Register for the July 23 webinar, “The Forrester TEI Report: Achieve 210% ROI by Empowering SOC Analysts With AI,” to hear more about how AI can help your organization bridge the cybersecurity skills gap from Forrester TEI Consultant Richard A. Cavallaro.

Register for the July 23 webinar

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Chris Meenan

Product Manager for QRadar, IBM Security

Chris Meenan is a Product Manager working on the QRadar Security Intelligence Product within the IBM Security division....