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UK businesses are spending big on security, but drowning in false positives

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(Image credit: Shutterstock / Gorodenkoff)

Businesses in the UK are spending serious money on cybersecurity tools and programs, but instead of tightening up on security, these tools only increase the number of false-positive alerts.

This is according to a new report from CDN provider Fastly, which says false positives are having a major impact on the bottom line.

Polling 250 UK information security and IT pros, as well as an additional 500 from all over the world, Fastly found that UK businesses use 11 web application and API security tools on average. These tools set them back roughly $500,000, but approximately 40 percent of all security alerts they create are false positives.

As a result, almost a quarter (23 percent) lost revenue in the past year, with the average loss sitting around 12 percent. Sometimes, false positives prompt businesses to bring their systems down, resulting in downtime that is just as devastating as an actual attack.

Consequently, Fastly argues, current security tools may be causing more problems than they solve. For most respondents, web application and API security have grown more difficult in the last two years, yet they anticipate an increase in API implementation.

Due to the vast amount of false positives, almost half of UK businesses (47 percent) now run tools in log or monitoring mode and only switch to blocking mode when they are absolutely certain of the accuracy of the detections. 

“Security tools should fuel innovation, actively support service resilience, and minimize disruption to software delivery workflows, rather than slowing build cycles and producing disjointed, unactionable, or irrelevant data,” said Kelly Shortridge, Senior Principal Technologist at Fastly.

John Grady, Senior Analyst at ESG, added: “The responsibility for protecting enterprise assets, data, and users from cyber threats no longer falls solely on the security organization, even as the threat landscape becomes increasingly complex. Application security in particular, is a team sport that requires input and cross-functional collaboration across many parts of an organization."

“As a result, security professionals have become frustrated with the complex and siloed nature of traditional application security solutions that fail to address these issues. Modern businesses require uniform tools and approaches that can minimize vulnerabilities between their public cloud infrastructure, microservices-based architecture, and legacy applications, while supporting a variety of personas.”