The role of the security analyst is currently in flux. Gone are the days of sitting at a computer, monitoring a dashboard, and picking off issues as they come up. With digital transformation and the rise of remote work policies, there’s a noticeable expansion in threat surfaces, leading to heightened complexity within the security stack. As a result, security teams are stretched thin, woefully undermanned against rising adversaries, and being asked to do more with less. This is putting a strain on morale as security analysts struggle to keep up with securing distributed and dynamic infrastructures.
It's clear that security analysts need better training, better tools, and optimized processes to meet the challenges ahead in 2024. So, how are responsibilities and challenges changing for security analysts in 2024? Below we explore the topic and answer the question.
By now we’re tired of hearing the phrase, “evolving threat landscape.” Spoiler alert – heading into the thick of 2024, this won’t change. Digital transformation and work from anywhere policies have decentralized infrastructure and expanding threat surfaces at a rapid pace. The cloud has empowered innovation, agility, and growth, but has also made the IT stack complex. Business is done in a browser, far from the hardened data center, reducing analysts’ visibility and control over workloads. Artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) are fueling a rise in cyber attacks that can evade security solutions. Attacks are being developed at scale and made available for purchase by anyone with a credit card or cryptocurrency. Any breach has the potential to take down critical business systems, hold them for ransom and exfiltrate proprietary information.
In one paragraph we’ve provided a 10,000-foot view of the avalanche of challenges that security analysts face – and that’s not considering what new trend or technology threat actors could glom onto next. These changes to the landscape are forcing security analysts to rethink how they operate as part of the business. Rather than simply check boxes, they’re now being asked to consider security through a business lens—carefully weighing and mitigating risk to the organization.
Consider a scenario where an organization is contemplating migrating a key business system to the cloud or is weighing the options between extending remote work policies and returning to the office. Previously, such decisions were primarily driven by business consideration, with the security team tasked with securing the new infrastructure or workloads post-decision. However, the role of security teams is shifting. They are now integral to the decision-making process, providing crucial insights on how these changes could impact risk levels, including potential vulnerabilities and the consequences of system or user breaches.
This shift brings new challenges and expectations, fundamentally altering the skill set required for a security analyst to excel. Today, there is a growing demand for so-called soft skills, like critical thinking, risk assessment, and communication, alongside the traditional technical skills analysts have always needed.
While the horizon for 2024 may appear clouded in challenges, not all is lost. Today’s security analysts are employing a like-for-like strategy, utilizing AI/ML, automation, and business intelligence. This approach not only enhances threat detection and response, but also aligns cybersecurity more closely with business goals. But the efficacy of AI/ML technologies is directly tied to the data they receive – underscoring the necessity for thorough visibility and control of essential security data in modern cybersecurity strategies.
In the quest for enhanced visibility and control, there’s a growing trend towards solutions that centralize security event data from a multitude of tools into one unified platform. This approach allows security analysts to effectively monitor, analyze, and automate responses to security incidents, ensuring swift remediation. The ideal solution in this category empowers analysts with a comprehensive understand of the IT stack’s dynamics, asset utilization, and the associated risks to the organization.
One solution gaining attention for its effectiveness in this area is extended detection and response (XDR). XDR stands out by offering an integrated approach to challenges security analysts face, combining deep visibility with proactive control.
Here are three ways security analysts are using XDR solutions as their roles continue to evolve throughout 2024:
As complexity rises, tackling the most critical issues first is extremely important. Prioritizing risk starts with establishing an open and honest conversation with the operations team. Find out what IT assets and data sets are most critical to their KPIs and what impact would they have on the business if they were compromised or taken offline by a malicious threat. XDR solutions can provide visibility into these crown jewels through consolidated asset management, risk management, threat intelligence and vulnerability management.
Automating previously manual tasks is also a great way to streamline security analysts’ time. Things like asset discovery, patching, and other tedious maintenance can be offloaded to machines, freeing up humans to tackle more sensitive projects that require more critical thinking — such as advanced threat intelligence. XDR solutions provide visibility into these tasks and automates them at scale — ensuring that they are completed quickly, accurately, and completely. XDR solutions can also identify trends across security events — identifying seemingly unrelated behavior across disparate systems as coordinated efforts by threat actors.
Security analysts need a different set of skills as the security landscape and their responsibilities change in 2024. This requires the twin strategy of hiring the right people and developing skills in house through additional training and education. As security becomes more aligned with the business side of the organization, diversity of skills becomes even more important. Don’t be afraid to hire people from outside the IT industry who possess the potential to be great analysts. In fact, we’re seeing people from sales and support teams make successful moves to IT due to their critical thinking and communication experience — two skills that are in high demand among security analysts.
The business world is changing and dragging cybersecurity along with it. Security analysts are now expected to assess and manage security risks through a business lens — providing critical assessments for high-level business decisions. This has made the role of the security analyst change quite a bit over the past year, and the role is expected to continue to evolve as the world continues to transform in 2024. XDR solutions can help security analysts meet these new challenges by providing visibility and control into critical security information that flows across the organization — allowing them to prioritize risks, automate manual tasks and develop the right skills.
Bitdefender is a cybersecurity leader delivering best-in-class threat prevention, detection, and response solutions worldwide. Guardian over millions of consumer, enterprise, and government environments, Bitdefender is one of the industry’s most trusted experts for eliminating threats, protecting privacy, digital identity and data, and enabling cyber resilience. With deep investments in research and development, Bitdefender Labs discovers hundreds of new threats each minute and validates billions of threat queries daily. The company has pioneered breakthrough innovations in antimalware, IoT security, behavioral analytics, and artificial intelligence and its technology is licensed by more than 180 of the world’s most recognized technology brands. Founded in 2001, Bitdefender has customers in 170+ countries with offices around the world.View all posts
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