Is Cybersecurity Burnout Weakening Your Stance?

Cybersecurity is a multifaceted domain, and it takes an entire organization to manage it correctly. From dealing with imminent threats, such as hacks and breaches, to suddenly discovering that the latest open-source bug has compromised your mission-critical systems, maintaining a strong defensive stance can be a formidable task.

Could you be overlooking one of the most prominent threats to your organizational IT security stance?

Career burnout is a real phenomenon that hampers your efforts to stay up-to-date about relevant vulnerabilities and respond in kind. Here are some ways to know the signs of potentially crippling fatigue and fight back.

Understanding Job Burnout
According to the Mayo Clinic, job burnout is a type of stress characterized by exhaustion related to work. It can be physical, mental or emotional. It can even cause someone to doubt whether their work has value or if they're actually as skillful as they thought they were.

Countless factors can induce job burnout. From making people take on more responsibilities without increasing their pay to fostering toxic corporate cultures, companies that fail to accommodate stress properly risk more than just employee goodwill. In the world of cybersecurity, these firms also jeopardize their own futures.

Keep Your IT Workforce Aware of the Dangers
It's critical to identify the signs of burnout, but employers aren't the only ones who need to stay in the know. You also need to train your cybersecurity team to recognize possible risk factors and let you know about them. 

Come together to make positive changes in your workplace by looking out for:

Come together to make positive changes in your workplace by looking out for:

  • Feelings of job disillusionment, dissatisfaction or cynicism,
  • Excessive criticality,
  • Unexplained stress-related health effects, such as mysterious headaches and pains,
  • Appetite and sleep habit changes, or
  • Irritability, fatigue and impatience.

Understanding the Current Professional Climate
According to well-recognized experts, like Cisco and McAfee, we're in the midst of a significant cybersecurity skills shortage. With more companies recognizing the value of business intelligence, Big Data and connected retail systems, however, demand is booming. The pool of qualified workers isn't necessarily keeping up.

Don't Discount the Dangers of Overworking Your Most Talented Staff
What does the skills shortage mean for your IT security department? As your company's use of e-commerce, business management or comprehensive marketing systems increases, you'll find it more imperative to maintain healthy workload assignment and scheduling practices. 

Stopping your staff from getting overwhelmed could be the key to catching the next threat before it becomes a problem. Be open to feedback from team leaders, managers and low-level employees so that you don't get caught off guard in the middle of an incident.

Managing Your Workloads
Issues as diverse as workplace lighting, noise pollution, worker privacy and freedom of mobility can all impact your staff's tendency to succumb to burnout. Unfortunately, these factors aren't always easy to modify. For instance, an open floor plan may not work in your rented office space, and letting people take breaks at will isn't always conducive to rapid project completion. 

Start With the Things You Can Change
Tired of nursing overwhelmed cybersecurity workers back to maximum efficiency? Supplementing their capabilities with automated job scheduling and project management tools is a great way to reduce the amount of incidental information that they're responsible for remembering. 

You can make huge strides with basic changes. For instance, equipping your office with standardized anti-virus software lets everyone use data, BYOD hardware and networked systems without creating new nightmares for your already hard-pressed security experts.

By making simple shifts that improve your general security stance, you'll find it much simpler to keep burnout out of your IT department. 

Rehan Jiaz is an entrepreneur, business graduate, content strategist and editor overseeing contributed content at He is passionate about writing stuff for startups. His areas of interest include digital business strategy and strategic decision making. 

What’s Hot on Infosecurity Magazine?