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Key Factors and Measures to Address Burnout In The Cybersecurity Field

Key Factors and Measures to Address Burnout In The Cybersecurity Field

The underlying threat to organizations

By Kunal Purohit, Chief Digital Services Officer, Tech Mahindra

In Today’s world Cyber-attacks may be on the rise, but one of the biggest threats to an organization’s cybersecurity isn’t just hackers — it’s burnout among cybersecurity teams.  The responsibility of cybersecurity specialists has grown because of the evolution of technology and the rise in cybercrimes and threats. Professionals in the fast-paced and demanding field of cybersecurity require a high degree of expertise and focus. They must keep up with the most recent threats, vulnerabilities, and technology because it is a sector that is continuously changing. This can be time-consuming and demanding, particularly when combined with a heavy workload.

2022 data from a survey shows that 84% of cyber security professionals experienced extreme stress or burnout, 65% have considered leaving their job because of stress, and 53% of workers have resigned.

Employee burnout in the cybersecurity field is detrimental for several reasons. It leads to increased mistakes as overworked cyber defenders tend to overlook essential details, it causes a lack of motivation needed to come up with critical solutions, and it results in higher resignation rates that trigger further burnout, as teams don’t have the workforce to complete all the tasks needed for a job that runs 24/7.

The talent shortage within the cybersecurity industry continues to be a persistent issue and was cited as a top reason for burnout among cybersecurity professionals. There are nearly 770,000 unfilled cybersecurity positions in the U.S alone. When there’s a gap in the workforce, employee burnout tends to increase.  When teams are left with an insufficient number of cyber defenders, those remaining are expected to work in multiple different roles, sometimes more than they can handle. This often means signs of stress and burnout are ignored, and it leaves no room for career growth. Leaders that prioritize work over their employees’ wellbeing will eventually create an unproductive work environment where employees will disengage or leave.

Other key contributors to burnout are inefficient work processes. There are often too many security tools and too little communication among teams. Tools that are not integrated increase frustration, as additional unnecessary steps may be required to complete a single task on list that keeps growing. Traditionally, information technology (IT) and security departments have operated in rigid silos, with cybersecurity working behind closed doors in solitary environments and, as a result, creating a fragmented security framework. This lack of integration creates challenges for teams as they are reacting to changes in IT solutions and policies being implemented, making it harder to operate efficiently.

Cyber security workplace burnout is not an unsolvable problem; there are ways to address them. Following are the measures that organizations can adopt and educate their customers about it as well.

Re-evaluate and Better your Recruiting processes – This means recruiters should prioritize specific characteristics and soft skills, such as critical thinking, communication and problem-solving, that make a great cybersecurity professional rather than wait for the perfect resume. This will expand the talent pool and encourage innovative ideas essential for solving today’s significant cybersecurity challenges.

Better training programs – Help the potential recruits develop the necessary skills for the job while emphasizing the education of their employees. Even for those with years of experience in cybersecurity, education is a constant aspect of the job, especially as the threat landscape continues to evolve. One of the most effective methods is to use phishing simulations and exercises. These can help employees understand the importance of cyber security and the potential consequences of a breach.

Creating a positive work environment – attracts and retains talent is equally vital to recruiting talent. A people-first culture where team members feel empowered and prepared to face whatever threats they encounter is the ultimate solution. Leaders should encourage employees to try new projects and roles and voice their opinion on what needs to shift, whether it be team structure, changes to work schedules, or training opportunities.

Use security automation to enhance human analysts – Humans are the weakest link in any organization’s security posture. No matter how many technological security layers you have in place, it only takes one person to click on a malicious link or open a malicious attachment to potentially bring down your entire operation. By automating repetitive and mundane tasks, security analysts can free up their time to focus on more strategic tasks that require human expertise.

Outsource some security tasks – By working with a security provider like Tech Mahindra, businesses can tap into a team of experts who religiously keep up with the latest threats and vulnerabilities. This way, companies can be sure that their data and systems are always protected against the latest threats.

Create a comprehensive security plan – The feeling of being constantly on alert can often lead to burnout. Creating a comprehensive security plan can help to ease some of this burden, as it can provide a clear and concise overview of the steps you need to take to keep your data and systems safe. By taking the time to sit down and create a plan, you can make sure that you cover all the bases and reduce the chances of becoming overwhelmed or burning out.

Get rid of unrealistic expectations of cyber security professionals – When people are constantly being told that they need to be “on the lookout” for new threats, it can lead to feelings of anxiety and inadequacy. It’s important to remember that no one is perfect and that it’s impossible to anticipate every single threat.

Take some burden off your IT team by ensuring that your whole organization is cyber security aware – By doing this, you’re not only easing your IT team’s workload but also giving them the bandwidth to focus on bigger projects.

To Summarize, the leaders must hold themselves accountable to reinvent the way they manage their teams to promote better collaboration and growth. As a result, this will foster a work culture where cyber defenders can do their best work. In a world full of unknown threats, the threat of employee burnout among cybersecurity teams can and must be controlled.

About the Author

Key Factors and Measures to Address Burnout In The Cybersecurity FieldKunal Purohit is the Chief Digital Servies Officer at Tech Mahindra.He heads TechM’s digital and analytics capability solutions units (CSUs) globally. These units build new solutions for enterprises going through digital transformation.

Kunal can be reached online on LinkedIn and at Tech Mahindra | Connected World, Connected Experiences.

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