Over the last few years, dialogue about burnout in cybersecurity has increased – and for good reason. While cybersecurity has always been a rigorous field, cybercrime is dramatically rising. Remote work, accelerated digital transformation, and organizational shifts to the cloud have expanded attack surfaces and increased the need for tools that can provide comprehensive attack surface visibility – in addition to more people to manage them. But as the responsibilities of IT and security professionals intensify, so do the effects of burnout. In fact, the primary factors that contribute to cybersecurity burnout include:
- Alert fatigue: IT and security professionals encounter thousands of alerts per day. From security alerts to data issues, fielding ongoing notifications during work hours (and often after hours) can be exacerbating. This can affect decision-making, delayed mitigation, or even missed notifications, weakening security posture.
- Constant stress: Cybercrime is relentless and not limited to a 9-5 schedule. With psychological downtime nearly impossible, perpetual anxiety caused by the constant threat of cybercrime can weigh on cybersecurity professionals.
- Inefficient processes: Organizations constantly add devices, SaaS applications, software, and more to their tech stack, and managing all these assets can be tedious and time-consuming. Many organizations still rely on manual asset audits, which takes brainpower away from strategic and impactful work.
As the pressure on security and IT professionals continues to grow, burnout can lead to declining decision-making quality and overall performance, leaving organizations vulnerable to security gaps. Given the current economic climate, we wanted to share how cybersecurity burnout is being addressed and prevented, and how the rise of cyberpsychology can help make way for more mental health resources in the workplace.
Leadership support is reducing burnout
This year, economic uncertainty heightened concerns about burnout. As organizations reduced headcounts and budgets, cybersecurity teams braced for massive strains. Fortunately, conversations about burnout and its impact have led to proactive strategies to support teams. In fact, according to new research, IT and security teams actually experienced an increase in budgets and headcounts.
With strategies that provide upskilling and training development opportunities, plans to eliminate manual processes and implement more AI-based tools, cybersecurity and organizational leadership are actively taking steps to prevent creating overworked teams. Today, IT and security leaders are reporting:
- 40% say they are feeling less burned out today than they did a year ago.
- 67% say there is less stigma around mental health today than a year ago.
- 66% have access to mental health resources.
Increasing headcount and budgets are positive steps to reduce burnout. However, education about the impact of constant digital interaction will also be crucial to recognizing and mitigating the psychological stress today's IT and security teams endure.
The rising importance of cyberpsychology
‘Burnout' has become an increased and welcomed part of cybersecurity vocabulary – giving rise to open conversations about IT and security professionals’ mental health and wellness. However, to truly and further recognize the impacts of burnout in cybersecurity, we need more research.
In the late 1990s, cyberpsychology – the study of how people interact with technology and the emotional effects of usage on our behavior – emerged as online activity increased. And while the initial purpose was to understand consumer interaction with the internet, social media, and other aspects of online interaction, the principles apply to cybersecurity professionals as well. In fact, cybersecurity is already a focus area of some cyberpsychologists.
Cyberpsychologists who study cybersecurity could bring more knowledge and understanding to the rise of burnout in the field – and how we can avoid it. As the field grows in popularity, we’ll likely see new reports emerge offering perspectives on how IT and security leaders can better manage workplace stress and burnout among their teams.
In the meantime, consider hosting roundtable discussions about the implications of unmanaged stress and examine the effects of continuous cybercrime anxiety. These discussions can produce strategies to enforce digital downtime and team support to prevent burnout.
How automation is reducing cybersecurity burnout
Organizational digital infrastructure is only growing and with it – the need for cybersecurity professionals. With current shortages of skilled IT and security personnel already impacting cybersecurity efforts across nearly every industry, providing IT and security teams with solutions that enable swift action can help prevent further workforce shortages. For instance, by automating tedious, manual tasks, we free up IT and security teams to focus on more strategic activities – and eliminate some of the more significant factors contributing to burnout.
Solutions like Axonius offer teams much-needed reprieve by helping teams better manage and inventory their organizations’ assets. It takes 86 person-hours with eight different tools, on average, to manually compile an asset inventory, maxing out teams already stretched thin. By introducing automation into that process, Axonius not only gives teams time to focus on strategic planning and decision-making, it also takes away some of the anxiety that stems from lack of visibility. Axonius gives IT and security teams the ability to see all assets, uncover security gaps, and automate response actions.
To learn more about the realities current IT and security professionals face and how leaders are responding, download our ebook.