How To Avoid Cybersecurity Burnout

It is hard to succeed when it is your job to prevent the inevitable.

Cybersecurity workers are tasked with this challenge every day.

Many cybersecurity professionals are feeling the stress of keeping their organizations safe from an ever-evolving landscape of cyberthreats. Just one successful cyberattack can cost a firm millions of dollars and risk tarnishing its reputation for good—as high-profile companies such as Capital One, Equifax, Target and Sony have learned. Smaller firms with fewer resources can have an even harder time–that is, if they can remain afloat.

Although cybersecurity is everyone’s job, from the C-Suite to the frontline associate, cybersecurity professionals bear the brunt of preventing a cyberattack. They are often required to create the organization’s cybersecurity plan, including implementation, ongoing improvement, monitoring and response. They may be held responsible when other employees engage in risky online behavior, such as clicking phishing links and falling victim to various types of social engineering.

All of this stress and pressure can build up and lead to cybersecurity burnout.

Cybersecurity ratings firm BitSight reports 91 percent of CISOs suffer from moderate or high stress, and 65 percent of security operations professionals say stress has caused them to think about quitting. Meanwhile, BitSight reports 63 percent of organizations are experiencing a shortage of IT staff dedicated to cybersecurity.

So how does the industry combat this highly prevalent workplace fatigue in such critical roles?

TalaTek believes firms must create a culture of transparency and honesty. TalaTek founder Baan Alsinawi thinks cybersecurity professionals are most effective when they feel their best and their stress and concerns are acknowledged and heard.

Management can help promote this culture by encouraging employees to express their stress levels through ongoing trainings, check-ins, surveys and other tactics. Management can also help reduce burnout by making true, unplugged time off mandatory. And leaders can encourage their employees to consider new roles with different challenges.

TalaTek suggests these ways to avoid burnout:

  1. Help promote a workplace culture of well-being and self-care
  2. Monitor long bouts of work-related stress, anxiety and fatigue
  3. Keep an open mind about trying new roles
  4. Eliminate stigmas around transparency of feelings
  5. Promote open and honest dialogue about workplace stress
  6. Truly disconnect during time off

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