The Toll of Cybersecurity on Mental Health

By Zachary Amos, Features Editor at ReHack

Is cybersecurity stressful? Many workers in this industry are dealing with understandably high anxiety. They face the reality that a cyber attack can occur at any moment and it’s unrealistic to think they can stop each one. Unfortunately, sooner or later, a successful attack will take place.

Many skilled cybersecurity workers feel so stressed and overwhelmed that they leave the industry altogether. With all that’s going on in the industry, to make matters worse, there’s also a need for more qualified cybersecurity professionals. Explore why cybersecurity is stressful, how employees’ mental health is at risk, what they face and ways to increase their mental well-being.

Why Is Cybersecurity Stressful?

Cybersecurity staff goes through various daily scenarios that pick away at their mental well-being. In many cases, they work long hours and have an excessive workload to get through while the thought of another cyber attack hangs over their heads. The company they work at could also be understaffed, which increases the amount of work and adds more stress to the cybersecurity team.

A recent survey found most of the daily work they must complete is tedious, taking up a lot of time. The report also found 66% of cybersecurity professionals believe they could automate much of their daily work. If that were the case, they would have more time on their hands to deal with more pressing issues. These reasons — coupled with the fact that the company could be understaffed — could result in cybersecurity workers feeling their organization cannot face all the attacks and that a successful one is imminent.

Unfortunately, many cybersecurity workers live with the hard truth that if a successful attack occurs — which could result in many people being affected and the company losing thousands of dollars if not millions — they would lose their job. With all that being said, it is easy to understand why they experience burnout and their mental health is taking a toll.

The Never-Ending Battle Cybersecurity Personnel Face

Cybersecurity workers live in a brutal never-ending battle of constant stress and mind-numbing work that eats away at their mental well-being. The struggle results from the large amounts of tasks they need to complete and the continuous pressure. Due to the amount of work they’re up against, their mental health starts to decline.

This causes their determination and focus to waver, which could lead to them not perform at their best, make mistakes or raise the attack vulnerability of the organization. If the business faces increased cyber attacks, it strains the cybersecurity staff more, decreasing their mental health.

Hence, the battle continues.

How to Improve Mental Health For Cybersecurity Staff

Cybersecurity workers can increase their mental health by utilizing recommended best practices — trying to relax more, getting regular exercise and having a good night’s rest. Easing stress will also require the organization to help ease the burden on cybersecurity workers. It can do this in various ways, such as implementing well-being programs.

These programs will benefit the cybersecurity personnel and the rest of the company’s employees. Here is a list of three actions businesses could implement to help with themental health issues cybersecurity staff face.

1. Hire Additional Cybersecurity Workers

Turnover is a significant issue in various worldwide sectors. Hospital turnover is at more than a quarter of all jobs and cyber specialists are quitting in unprecedented numbers due to stress. However, their leaving puts more pressure on the remaining staff, creating an unfortunate cycle.

While the industry currently needs more cybersecurity professionals, organizations should still prioritize looking for skilled workers to help if they are understaffed. Companies should do all they can to help these workers decrease their workload, even if it means training people to work in the industry. Another route they could consider is to train employees familiar with the industry but working in different departments to help.

2. Adequate Resources

Cybersecurity personnel require efficient resources and budgets to help them effectively protect their organization from attacks. If they don’t have adequate resources, they struggle to develop strategies to protect the company. This will add more stress on them, which affects their mental health even more.

3. Company Support

Cybersecurity workers need to feel comfortable discussing their mental health with their organizations. Companies should welcome open communication and make it a priority. If they don’t know their cybersecurity workers are having mental well-being issues, they won’t be able to take the necessary steps to help them.

They could implement well-being programs to help every worker, not just the cybersecurity staff. Businesses should consider looking at different ways to support their employees and ensure they receive the help they need.

Is Cybersecurity Stressful? Easing the Burden With a Combined Effort

Due to everything they must deal with, cybersecurity workers face constant difficulties that challenge their mental health. To address this situation, organizations and cybersecurity staff must come together to find creative ways to help decrease the effects. A combined effort is necessary to help cybersecurity teams and other employees get their mental well-being back on track.

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.



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