Getting Too Many Alerts About Device Issues? Your Organization’s Security Could be at Risk
For any organization looking to make sure its physical security devices are running properly and securely, getting the necessary visibility is a critical step.
But as organizations gain that visibility, there’s a risk that they’ll actually get too much information. When they get too overwhelmed with information to be able to use it effectively, having more information can actually result in less visibility. Perhaps even more disruptive is the frequency with which they often receive that information. When teams receive too many (often irrelevant or duplicate) alerts about their devices or systems, those alerts become little more than annoying background noise.
That’s largely because of alert fatigue, which occurs when team members get worn out and overwhelmed by the volume and frequency of alerts they receive. Alert fatigue is a serious challenge for physical security teams, often contributing to inefficiency, unnecessarily high costs, and real security risks.
To use their information effectively, physical security teams should tackle the problem of alert fatigue head-on. This post will explain how alert fatigue takes shape, the damage it can do, and how physical security teams can overcome it.
How alert fatigue develops in the world of physical security
One of the main reasons physical security teams suffer from alert fatigue is that they simply receive too many alerts. The huge quantity of alerts they receive can often make it difficult to quickly identify which alerts are worth paying attention to and which ones can be ignored. In many cases, that’s because a single technical issue can result in numerous alerts that do not even identify the issue.
For instance, if a network switch goes down, resulting in downtime for 20 IP cameras, in some organizations physical security professionals will get 20 separate notifications about the cameras – with none of those alerts identifying the switch as the source of the issue.
Also adding to the problem of alert fatigue, it is common for alerts to be sent to too many employees – not just to the relevant professionals. For example, if a network switch stops working properly, in some organizations an entire physical security team could be notified – even though they’re not actually the ones tasked with addressing this IT issue. Or, if a physical security device must be replaced because it is approaching its end of life, alerts could be sent to many professionals who are not responsible for replacing it.
It’s common for many stakeholders to have some role in managing physical security devices, including both IT and physical security professionals (among others). As a result, without a reliable way of automatically identifying the most important recipients for any given alert, reining in the sending of alerts effectively can be virtually impossible.
This reality undermines physical security
What’s wrong with having too much information? Isn’t it better to have too much information than to be left uninformed?
A lack of information is certainly a major problem for many physical security teams, but getting too much information, too often, can similarly prevent them from providing the safety that organizations need. In large part, that’s because excessive alerts can distract physical security professionals from more important work. Professionals who are busy dealing with irrelevant alerts are less available to deal with whatever other incidents arise.
And as mentioned earlier, being ceaselessly bombarded with too many alerts can prevent physical security team members from noticing those alerts that actually are relevant and important for them. If they know that most of the alerts they receive are irrelevant, they may pay less attention to all of them. A critical alert sandwiched between dozens of irrelevant alerts can be far too easy to accidentally overlook.
In addition to making it more difficult to deliver reliable physical security, alert fatigue can be a real waste of time and money. When employees spend much of their valuable (and expensive) work time on irrelevant alerts, it takes more work hours to accomplish the same tasks. As a result, excessive alerts can leave organizations paying more money for less actual security.
This leads to teams losing trust in their technology tools, which in term causes them to waste budget in a more direct way: if physical security stops paying attention to alerts, they are essentially paying for a tool they aren’t even using, and have no faith in.
A more efficient way of distributing information can reduce alert fatigue
To overcome the problem of alert fatigue, physical security teams and other necessary stakeholders (e.g. IT) should only be receiving precisely the information they need. This will result in both a far lower volume of alerts for each specific team member, as well as a much higher level of efficiency and shorter time-to-resolution when problems arise.
With the right technology configured in the right way, physical security teams can help make sure that any given alert is sent only to the most relevant team members. For instance, SecuriThings lets customers set rules governing which employees receive specific types of alerts.
SecuriThings can also automatically identify when a single technical issue affects multiple devices, such as when a problem with the VMS or a network switch prevents numerous IP cameras from broadcasting properly. Then, it can use that information to send a single alert for the main issue at hand, rather than sending alerts for all of the affected devices. And because each alert includes critical details to help with root cause analysis, those who do receive alerts will be better prepared to act on them.
Not only can this kind of approach help prevent alert fatigue, but it can empower physical security teams to cooperate and collaborate more efficiently – both with each other and with their colleagues in different departments. That’s why so many leading organizations across a wide variety of industries trust SecuriThings to manage, maintain and secure their physical security devices – and combat alert fatigue.
Alert fatigue is a serious and widespread problem in the world of physical security, but it’s not inevitable. By using technology effectively, physical security teams can make sure that fewer alerts are sent, that they are sent only to the most relevant professionals, and that those alerts that are sent provide actionable information. This way, they can improve their overall physical security posture while preventing inefficiency – helping them achieve enterprise-ready physical security.
For a closer look at how to help your physical security team deliver more security, more efficiently, check out The Guide to Enterprise-Ready Physical Security.