By Zachary Amos, Features Editor at ReHack
Technology-based industries are the fastest-growing in the world, and they don’t show any sign of slowing down. The rise in digital activity comes with an increased need for cybersecurity measures and services that protect online businesses, banking, education, commerce and more.
Cybersecurity is all about protecting digital assets, but it’s also important to remember the real people behind this industry’s operations. Cybersecurity and information technology (IT) workers are shouldering the ever-increasing burden of keeping the online world safe.
Preventing burnout among workers should be a top priority for all cybersecurity companies and contractors.
5 Ways for Cybersecurity Workers to Avoid Burnout
IT employees face unique challenges as technology becomes a bigger part of daily life and cybercrime rates rise. Avoiding burnout requires addressing its root causes and maintaining a healthier work-life balance every day.
1. Establish Priorities
The first step to preventing burnout is identifying what matters and what doesn’t. When a worker has too much on their plate, burnout is inevitable.
Why waste time and stress on tasks that don’t matter that much? Businesses should set aside time to determine their priorities. That way, workers can focus on the most important responsibilities with a clear head and won’t get bogged down in the details of less essential duties.
Employees can regularly check in with their team and their schedules to determine personal priorities at work. What’s most important on a quarterly, weekly or daily basis? For example, many workers find it most efficient to tackle harder tasks earlier in the day when they’re fresh.
2. Implement Comprehensive and Up-to-Date Training
The cyber industry is evolving rapidly. Even the best IT professionals might struggle to keep up with every change on their own, and uncertainty or frustration with an unknown process is a major source of stress.
That’s why cybersecurity companies should offer up-to-date training for new employees and refresher courses for all team members. Keeping employees in the know allows them to approach projects with confidence and avoid unnecessary strain.
Actively participating in these training sessions is a great way for workers to feel confident in their skills. Additionally, seeking ongoing learning opportunities helps people get better acquainted with relevant systems. This confidence will make a difference when it comes time to handle potential issues.
3. Create Actionable Plans
Similar to providing comprehensive training, giving workers a clear plan to follow in case of contingencies allows them to work calmly and confidently. Issues are inevitable in this complex industry, but catastrophe doesn’t have to be.
Creating a straightforward guide that helps workers determine their next steps will simplify their lives, whether handling daily tasks or mitigating a data breach. Taking more of the guesswork out of frustrating situations reduces undue mental stress.
Cybersecurity employees can reference these plans whenever necessary, whether as part of training and reviews or when a serious disruption must be resolved.
4. Adopt Automation
Cybersecurity is all about protecting technology from threats — so why not use tech to help protect workers from burnout? Implementing automated processes can help IT workers keep up with their responsibilities without pushing their limits.
Humans will always be essential in implementing and moderating cybersecurity measures, but they can leave smaller tasks up to automatic or artificial intelligence (AI) systems. For example, AI can check huge amounts of data to ensure it’s secure and alert a human employee if extra care is necessary.
Relying on AI for simple tasks is a great way for IT workers to relieve some of the burdens of their daily responsibilities. Learning to work with these technologies frees them to focus on the things that require a more creative human touch.
5. Practice Self-Care
Burnout comes down to people who are dealing with too much stress and don’t have the resources to address it. Businesses can take practical steps to reduce burnout risks on a wider scale. They should also encourage employees to take care of and book time for themselves on an individual level.
Cybersecurity workers should set healthy boundaries. Remembering their priorities and addressing the most important tasks will ensure the essential work gets done and leave some wiggle room for everything else. Companies can encourage healthier work-life balances by allowing flexibility, fairly compensating employees and providing benefits that give them peace of mind outside work.
Avoid Burnout in the Cybersecurity World
Cybersecurity is an essential part of business today — and so is avoiding burnout. IT experts are at an increased risk of stress from their jobs due to growing pressures, but taking steps to minimize burnout allows them to be happier, healthier and more productive.
As the Features Editor at ReHack, Zac Amos writes about cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and other tech topics. He is a frequent contributor to Brilliance Security Magazine.