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The Cybersecurity Professionals Burnout is Real – Here’s How Automation Can Help

It’s no news that cybersecurity professionals are experiencing dangerous burnout levels.

In a recent PR, Gartner mentioned that nearly half of the cybersecurity leaders will change jobs by 2025, with 25% pursuing different roles entirely due to workplace stress. 

A global study by Mimecast, found that nearly a third of cybersecurity professionals are considering quitting their jobs. 

When asked about the risks they face relating to their role, stress (59%) and burnout (48%) were the top responses by CISOs, according to a recent survey by the executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles.

Matt Aiello, partner, and leader of the cyber practice at Heidrick, said:

“They’re choosing to punch out. What we hear in off-line conversations is that it’s a great role, but it’s very hard, and the regulatory pressures are increasing, and that makes being a CISO even more challenging.”

So, why have cybersecurity roles become so unbearable? 

 

The Roots of Cybersecurity Fatigue

To successfully investigate the roots of burnout, a deeper dive into the daily work processes of security teams must be taken. A closer look will show that, for some reason, many of these processes are still manual, siloed, and involve administrative work. 

Security teams today are required to deploy a variety of scanners to monitor an ever-growing attack surface – from cloud security to vulnerability management, application security testing, and SaaS security scanners. 

While this approach helps organizations better understand risks across the scope of possible attack vectors, it also brings downpours of findings to the security team’s desk, resulting in alert fatigue.

Consider that today’s average enterprise deploys 45 cybersecurity-related tools, each flagging thousands of daily findings, which security teams need to manually sift through at any given time. That not only makes workers more prone to error but also takes a toll on their well-being. 

And what’s the only thing in common with all these findings?

The security team cannot fix any of them. And so, they are forced to play matchmaker between remediation tickets and fixers – either development, DevOps, or IT teams. 

This process is managed inefficiently, as security professionals find themselves stuck managing administrative tasks and passing action items between teams and work environments. This bottleneck bogs down investigations around whether any given risk is critical and needs to be prioritized, further adding to the backlog and appropriating precious time in which those critical risks could have been addressed.

Adding to these technical frustrations is the enormous amount of pressure placed on these teams to bolster their organization’s cyber posture. Studies show that 75% of cybersecurity analysts spend their days worrying about missing incidents, a third of whom admit to worrying “a lot.” Their worries are understandable – failure to meet these mounting expectations and the security of the entire organization (and possibly their job) is put at risk.

Not only do these compounding issues have a tangible negative effect on security teams’ daily tasks, but the subsequent burnout can lead to high employee turnover in cybersecurity roles. Which, in turn, affects the retention of critical organizational knowledge and further fuels the remediation bottleneck.

The impact of this unsustainable remediation model is that it perpetually puts security teams on the back foot – consistently in “firefighting” mode, with more fires than they have buckets of water for. Business leaders and security managers must revisit their remediation strategy to relieve fatigue and burnout. They should strive to initiate a process that puts their security teams in a position of proactiveness rather than reactiveness. 

Accordingly, organizational leaders would do well to seek out any relevant tools to weed out duplicates, aggregate findings across security platforms, and significantly minimize backlogs. Such tools should also automate manual tasks and automatically assign tickets to the appropriate teams as soon as previous ones are closed, thus unclogging both the bottleneck and the backlog.

 

A Farewell to Fatigue

Finding and dashboard fatigue can create a vicious cycle of inefficiency – in which cybersecurity teams cannot keep managing the growing number of findings. They must constantly chase after risks, which in turn leads to employee burnout, high turnover rates, and an organizational security posture that is more prone to human error, yielding yet more findings and risk.

Throwing human resources at the problem won’t go very far – adding more employees into a system that chews them up and spits them out will only contribute to further employee burnout, not a safer enterprise. Instead, decision-makers and security leaders need to focus on optimization and automation, adopting solutions that allow security professionals to stress less and fix more. Security teams that are empowered by fewer findings and swifter internal processes will be more effective in their mission of keeping their organization safe. 

 

How Seemplicity Helps

Security teams that effectively leverage security orchestration and automation using a platform like Seemplicity can spend less time manually connecting the dots between fragmented security findings, siloed teams, and distributed tracking systems. 

Using a platform like Seemplicity will free up valuable time for security teams and allow them to focus on their actual work rather than spend time on administering remediation. 

We welcome you to sign up for a Seemplicity demo today. 

Security Remediation Game of Tag: You Are It!

Ah, Security Remediation. The game of tag we all know and love. Security teams “tag” Devs, DevOps, or IT teams with a security finding to fix, and then Devs put it at the very bottom of their to-do list as an issue to get to “someday.” Finally, a Dev gets around to fixing it… but wait! Security team didn’t tell them the specifics of what needs to be done! Back to the bottom of the pile, it goes. Thus begins this endless game of Security Remediation tag that leads to long security backlogs and increased friction between Security and Dev teams.

 

Endless Risks, Limited Time: Navigating the Security-Dev Conundrum

 

Security tools are everywhere. Businesses run multiple initiatives to manage risk, from cloud security to vulnerability management, application security testing, penetration testing, and bug bounties – the list is endless.

Risks and vulnerabilities generated by these tools can pile up overnight. Security teams must prioritize the remediation efforts, act as traffic controllers, and manually get the findings to the right “fixer” teams – developers, DevOps, or IT.

The problem? Devs, DevOps, and IT teams have sprints, daily tasks, and projects to finish. Their focus is on writing code and pushing products to market. As a result, security and compliance requests tend to be added at the end of the to-do list. Remediation tickets are often pushed back or dropped because there is no time for them, the fixes are too complex, or the devs simply don’t understand the security context.

The struggle is real: security teams battle with snowballing risks and nag the developers, again and again, to get the issues fixed. At the same time, devs try to stay focused on their work and avoid being dragged down into the Security team’s remediation backlog rabbit hole.

This escalates the friction between Security and Dev teams and causes a long backlog of security findings waiting for remediation, which keeps snowballing into an unmanageable mess, and the risk grows with it. Security teams are stuck in a constant loop of chasing developers and DevOps to fix the issues while developers keep pushing their compliance items further down their list of priorities. It is a vicious cycle that needs to be broken.

 

Why are Dev Teams Reluctant to Handle Security Tickets?

 

There are several reasons why developers are reluctant to handle security tickets.

First of all, security fixes can be tricky and require specialized knowledge. Devs are also missing the all-important context. They often will get tool-specific lists with no prioritization across findings, which makes it hard for them to understand which fixes should take priority.

Second, dev teams have limited resources and existing workloads that must be completed. Security remediation tasks can sit at the end of their list and are often pushed back or dropped due to time constraints.

Moreover, remediation is seen as “just another item in the list of tasks,” not a priority since devs are measured on the number of features they can deliver, not on how many remediation tickets they managed to close.

And finally, remediation sits outside of the product’s core development process. Security teams use different tools, have different processes, and work under different timelines than dev teams. Security issues are not necessarily aligned with sprints, workloads, or ticketing tools. Security tasks are not integrated into the development ecosystem and, therefore, not a part of their CI/CD process. This disconnect makes it hard for developers to understand what is expected from them and why they need to do it.

 

Automation of Security Remediation Workflows – The Answer?

 

But what if Security Remediation could be automated? Then Security teams wouldn’t have to spend time playing tag. They would just send the Dev team an automated ticket with the details of what needs to be fixed and how. And Dev teams would immediately get to work on fixing it before something serious happens in production.

Security backlogs can be managed more quickly, with Security teams able to automate much of the Security Remediation process, from assessment to prioritization and assigning tickets to developers. Security information can be integrated into the developer’s workflow with context and priority, enabling them to understand the risk of each item and what needs to be done quickly.

 

How Does Automation Improve Remediation Efforts?

 

  • Devs receive the right ready-to-fix items, at the right time, with all the context they need
  • Embedding security tasks into day-to-day development workflows
  • Empower devs to own & manage the security backlog like any other backlog
  • Manage all security tasks in the same ticketing systems as other tasks

 

How Seemplicity Helps

 

The trick is to bridge the Security and Dev worlds. Seemplicity’s platform helps Security and Dev teams work together, empowering developers with the context they need to knock down security tasks from their to-do list. Seemplicity’s automated remediation workflow delivers prioritization of findings and guidance for Dev teams. Security tasks can be managed in the same ticketing systems as other tasks and are integrated into their CI/CD process.

With Seemplicity, Security and Dev teams have a shared understanding of the security process with fewer manual steps, improved visibility to security tickets, no back-and-forth between Security and Dev teams, and security tasks integrated into their existing workflows.

Seemplicity empowers Security and Dev teams to:

  • Integrate remediation efforts with existing ticketing and reporting tools to automate the entire remediation ticket lifecycle seamlessly.
  • Automate ticket opening and assignment to the relevant board or project as soon as a risk is identified.
  • Continuously track and update remediation progress and automatically close fixed issues.
  • Tag tickets with user-preferred labels and fields.
  • See all status updates and comments in one place without the need to login to multiple systems.

Remediation tasks don’t need to be a distraction to dev teams. With Seemplicity, Security and Dev teams can work together more efficiently, managing security tickets the same way they manage other tasks – with fewer manual steps, improved visibility, and security tasks integrated into their existing workflows.

Now that’s a win-win for everyone! So get ready to automate your Security Remediation workflows with Seemplicity.

Are you ready to stop playing remediation tag? Get started with Seemplicity today!