With organisations experiencing a constantly growing wave of cyberattacks, many IT security teams are feeling the pressure. Stressful work environments and long hours are resulting in staff feeling overwhelmed and burnt out.
This is not an isolated problem. Industry research has found 66% of cybersecurity professionals claim to have experienced fatigue during 2022. There is no indication that this situation has improved this year.
Meanwhile, another study has revealed that 65% of CISOs admit their ability to fully protect their organisation from cyberthreats is being compromised by their workloads.
A lack of work/life balance
These studies indicate there appears to be a lack of work-life balance for many IT security professionals. This often stems from the fact that staff must be on constant alert for cybersecurity attacks or incidents. This excessive preoccupation with work-related issues can lead to burnout.
While at work, many security staff are faced with constant, repetitive manual tasks such as system monitoring, incident detection, and reporting. The sheer volume of this work can cause team members to become worn out.
Such tasks can include needing to check large numbers of IP addresses, viewing countless alerts, and having to undertake constant system patches and updates.
Tackling the problem
There are a range of tactics that CISOs can use to reduce the risk of their security staff being overwhelmed and suffering burnout. They include:
- Educating end users:
Making staff aware of phishing and other social engineering attacks can reduce the likelihood an organisation will suffer an attack. This, in turn, will reduce the burden on the security team.
- Automating manual processes:
Automating the repetitive and time-consuming tasks undertaken by security teams can alleviate some of the pressure on the IT team. It would help them stay focused on tasks that require more concentration and attention to detail.
A recent report on the topic revealed that a lack of prioritisation and automation has already lost organisations thousands of hours in staff time and productivity. Massive backlogs are being generated that security teams simply do not have the time or resources to manage.
- Educating end users:
- Consolidating security tools:
Many organisations find that lowering the number of tools in use and deploying an integrated platform can significantly reduce the workload for security teams. It removes the need for unnecessary extra steps and streamlines workflows and operations.
Following such a strategy helps an IT department to concentrate on equipping the limited number of security professionals available with the best possible toolsets to optimise their knowledge and productivity.
Any failure to integrate cybersecurity tools into a heterogeneous security framework will lead to operational inefficiencies and wasted time and resources. This, in turn, will weaken an organisation’s overall security posture.
- Addressing skills shortages:
Another factor that is contributing to stress and burnout is the ongoing shortage of security professionals. Even if a security team has the budget to increase headcount, finding the right people can prove very difficult.
One solution being followed by some organisations is to offer certification programs to existing staff. This enables them to expand their security knowledge and helps to shrink the skills gap.
Providing such training and certification opportunities for security personnel benefits both them and the organisation for which they work. For example, cybersecurity vendor certification programs give team members an opportunity to complement their academic qualifications and update their knowledge with current cybersecurity skills. This, in turn, can better enable them to deploy and operate new products and technologies that can better protect their infrastructure.
By taking steps such as these, organisations can both reduce staff stress and burnout while also improving their overall security preparedness. In world where the threat landscape continues to evolve and grow, it’s a strategy that makes business sense.