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, 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.