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Cybersecurity professional burnout poses threat to security defenses

It is not just the gullible consumers that are at great risk as the number of cyber-attacks increases. Cybersecurity professionals and other IT executives who are involved in protecting the computer networks in organisations too are impacted.

Increased cyber attacks and a severe shortage of manpower to deal with such attacks are taking a toll. Increased demands from the top management to ensure attack-proof networks and a growing number of ‘alerts’ are making them busy, leading to burnout, according to a latest report by cybersecurity solutions company Sophos.

The burnout and fatigue among them are leading to security breaches and slower response times to cybersecurity incidents. Businesses in India are experiencing a productivity loss of 3.6 hours per week amongst cybersecurity and IT professionals, with companies in the Philippines (4.6 hours/week) and Singapore (4.2 hours/week) having the worst impact.

Challenging environment
This is also leading to resignations and employees moving on unable to bear stress.

“The routine aspects of the role, create a feeling of monotony. An increased level of pressure from the board and/or executive management. Persistent alert overload from tools and systems and increase in threat activity and the adoption of new technologies that foster a more challenging, always-on environment,” it said in the report

The Future of Cybersecurity in Asia Pacific and Japan report found that burnout is felt across almost all aspects of cybersecurity operations, with 93 per cent of respondents saying that feelings of burnout increased in the last 12 months, the highest across Asia Pacific and Japan. “In addition, 25 per cent of respondents identified that cybersecurity burnout or fatigue contributed to, or was directly responsible for, a cybersecurity breach, and 22 per cent of companies experienced slower than average response times to cybersecurity incidents,” the report said.

The report is based on a survey of 919 responses from Australia (204 companies), India (202), and Japan (204).

India findings
The study found that 34 per cent are “not diligent enough in their performance”; and 48 per cent felt heightened levels of anxiety if subject to a breach or attack.

“About 36 per cent experience feelings of cynicism, detachment and apathy towards cybersecurity activities and their responsibilities, while 31 per cent of resignations were a result of stress and burnout,” it said.

“At a time when organisations are struggling with cybersecurity skills shortages and an increasingly complex cyberattack environment, employee stability and performance are critical for providing a solid defence for the business,” Aaron Bugal, field CTO at Sophos, said.

“Burnout and fatigue are undermining these areas and organisations need to step up to provide the right support to employees especially when, according to our research, 25 per cent of Indian respondents identified that cybersecurity burnout or fatigue contributed to, or was directly responsible for, a cybersecurity breach,” Aaron said. The Hindu BusinessLine

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