Receiving alerts when a critical event occurs is the first step in responding to a security incident. But as any security expert knows, analyzing log data can get chaotic when you have to sort through the massive volume of events generated in your network.

Although most security information and event management (SIEM) solutions help admins overcome data overload by offering customizable alerts, it isn’t always easy to decide which events are actually critical. Keep in mind that alert overload can be just as dangerous as having too much raw security data.

So, which security events do you really need alerts for? Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer. While some less pressing security events can just be periodically reviewed by running audit reports, some events do require immediate attention (especially if they relate to preventing attacks or meeting regulatory mandates).

Enterprise IT environments vary greatly, so your enterprise’s list of critical alerts really depends on what systems you’re using to keep your business afloat. Your security team’s bandwidth also has a big effect on how you prioritize alerts. While larger teams can afford to continuously track more security events, smaller security teams may only be able to realistically respond to a few alerts.

All things considered, we’ve done some research to create a list of critical alerts. Here’s a preview of the top three critical alerts:

1. Modifications made to confidential data

2. Repeated server shutdowns and restarts

3. Login failures and account lockouts

Download our free e-book on the Top five critical alerts you need for IT security to learn more.