Cybersecurity has become an essential practice for businesses and organizations of all sizes.
This is one of the reasons why data scientists, ethical hackers, and other cybersecurity specialists are in high demand. However, this also means that cyberattacks can occur in any industry, regardless of the company size or location.
It’s clear that online threats have the potential to create a stressful environment for any cybersecurity specialist, especially those working in large organizations.
There are dozens of different elements that can cause a stressful situation for a cybersecurity specialist.
However, there are also countless steps these professionals can take to reduce stress, like joining a VPN free trial, conducting research, and finding the best platform for use across their entire organizations.
So, does a career in cybersecurity have to be stressful?
Let’s find out.
Is Cybersecurity Stressful
Yes, over half of cybersecurity professionals stay up at night because of job stress and work challenges. Stress and burnout are major issues in the industry.
It’s partly due to overwork. According to studies, half (47%) of the professionals work for 41+ hours weekly while others work up to 90 hours.
Why Is Cybersecurity Stressful?
Today, stress is an epidemic across the entire cybersecurity industry. The professionals do not open up about the issue. However, the industry needs to face and deal with workplace stress.
It’s not hard to know why the cybersecurity job is so stressful. All cyber teams are overworked and understaffed. Plus, there’s a shortage of resources which has a serious impact.
According to studies, ¼ of cybersecurity leaders suffer from physical and mental problems. The issues stem directly from workplace stress. Others depend on alcohol and medication to cope with work pressures.
Overall, the stress issues risk various organizations’ security posture. Leaders in the industry should understand that it has much pressure. Then develop a response plan that’ll create a healthier workforce.
Here are the reasons behind epidemic levels of professional stress.
The cybersecurity workload is ever-increasing, and this leads to burnout. The workload frustrations include alert fatigue and poor visibility.
Companies need to find the solution to this issue by considering the employee’s perspective. Things that increase workloads include excessive manual work and false positives.
Various organizations can address this by automating their services and properly funding cybersecurity.
A majority of cybersecurity professionals admit they work for over 40 hours weekly. Workers with such long hours tend to be less attentive at work. Later, it can increase performance risks and security stress.
Addressing long work hours in the industry is quite hard. That’s because it has skills shortages – current employees are compensating for it.
However, there’s a need to understand how professionals use their time. Plus, CISOs (Chief Information Security Officers) should address various tasks that can be outsourced or automated.
It can offer internships opportunities to continuing students or do skill training. All of these will help reduce professionals working hours in a week.
There are various cultural battles in the organizations that contribute to stress. Professionals accept that they get frustrated trying to educate other company employees to change their computer behaviors.
In addition, some organization executives view security as an inconvenience. Therefore they underfund it. Poor executive support makes the cybersecurity teams have a struggling culture.
The security teams find it hard to conduct security awareness training because of inadequate funding. CISOs are pushing for change in various organizations by seeking full board support.
Lack of Resources
There aren’t enough resources to address various cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Inadequacy of resources has an impact on professionals.
Organizations need to maximize talent, budget, and technology to solve the resource pressures issue. Cyber security teams should direct more resources to protect their most crucial vulnerabilities.
There can be workplace stress if an individual feels poorly equipped with skills or knowledge. However, professionals don’t like talking about the skill shortage issue.
CISOs should regularly measure and respond to any internal stress impacts and skill gaps. It can boost individual skills through simulation training. Alternatively, they can partner with third-party vendors.
Security professionals are usually on call 24/7 yearly, and this must cause burnout. Truly security is a 24/7 job, but teams need to have unique approaches. They can create a fair on-call schedule and compensation.
Things that can reduce on-call stresses include incident response and automation capabilities. The mentioned reduce manual investigations and false-positive alerts.
Most Stressful Jobs In Cyber Security
Cybersecurity is among the most in-demand jobs today. It has different positions, and each comes with its responsibilities.
Security involves working with computers, and professionals don’t leave office buildings. But you are a firefighter or police officer.
You must monitor potential cyber threats and carry out damage control if the attack is severe. The most stressful dimensions in this industry include overwork, Poor hours, in-job pressure, etc.
However, note that not all cybersecurity jobs are demanding. Here are some of the industry’s most stressful positions.
Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)
CISO is the head of the team. That automatically makes it a demanding position. The primary role of CISO is to ensure the organization’s technical infrastructure is secure.
To hold this position, you need to be knowledgeable about cyber security. You have to implement and update security plans other than overseeing security operations.
Note that cyber threats don’t have a definite plan. Therefore you have to be well prepared to address any issue.
There’ll be a professional team under you. But it’s guidance that will help the company overcome any threat. Overall, CISOs face a lot of in-job pressure.
A CISO must ensure the team is on top of ever-evolving security threats. It’s surely an incredibly rewarding job but not relaxing at all.
Their primary role is to check an organization’s computer system for any threats. You need to know how to identify computer performance and network traffic anomalies.
However, the role involves more than simply watching the organization’s network. In the event of a cyber threat, you’ll have to develop the steps an organization will use.
You will perform similar functions to an incident responder. For example, you have to identify threats and develop and implement plans to prevent potential loss and damage. Plus, you’ll have to educate others on security awareness.
To others, this job sounds quite easy but is surely tricky. Your primary role is testing the organization’s infrastructure for any security weaknesses in this position.
You’ll only carry the test on the specific areas outlined by the employee. It would be best if you were extra careful when doing the tests. Have a clear understanding of your test boundaries to avoid any legal consequences.
Discovering a weakness that you weren’t to detect is a contract breach. Meaning it can put you in serious trouble with the law. As a penetration tester, you need to be so precise.
Ensure you are on the exact penetration level testing expected from you. Penetration testers are in high demand. Therefore you’ll find yourself working for long hours.
Plus, many penetrators fear missing out on a particular weakness. A hacker can exploit it later, and they will carry all the blame for incompetency.
They play the same role as penetration testers. Companies hire them to assess infrastructure security and make better recommendations.
A cyber security consultant should understand security policies. Your job also includes training or educating employees about security awareness.
However, you should know that your role won’t be just pointing out potential security issues. You’ll also do some penetration testing and engage customers on security concerns.
Meaning you must be friendly and articulate. These characteristics will make you better at educating others on security matters. Plus will ensure you’re up-to-date with always changing cybersecurity threats.
In addition, it’s hard-working with individuals who aren’t keen on keeping their data safe. As a professional, you must learn to remain calm and confident during an acute attack.
You need great social skills to survive in this profession. It involves communicating to others about the need for the best security technology and usage.
Solving Cybersecurity Stress?
Companies can tackle issues causing cybersecurity stress using surveying and active listening. There’s a need to understand how cybersecurity stress comes from bigger issues.
Skill shortages, workloads, technology, and culture are the most common issues. There are various solutions like automation, training, and pushing for culture changes. All these will reduce burnout.
Is Cybersecurity Potential Stress Worth It?
It all depends on an individual. All cybersecurity jobs come with a certain responsibility level and can cause stress. Separating work and home life in this profession is almost impossible.
It is because you can be called at any time to deal with a cybersecurity threat. Like any other profession, it’s important in the modern world.
However, it’s so challenging since the threat and technology are ever-evolving. If you love challenges, it can be an ideal job for you.
Cybersecurity is a fulfilling career with many challenges. It’s among the top-paying careers globally. Despite the risks, the career feels rewarding when you know you’re protecting others from threats.
All you need is to go slow on yourself – be patient. There’s no perfect cybersecurity professional out here. All professionals make mistakes and face various challenges.