Lower-level cyber security professions are, on the whole, quite dull because they are tedious and repetitive. The same actions, such as running through checklists, examining logs like security and incident logs, checking dashboards for alerts, and creating tickets from a central security email address into an incident management tool, are repeated as part of daily activities.
Employees in cyber security may become demotivated due to the monotony of their duties, which can also cause a lot of stress. Many of these positions have a high employee turnover rate because workers feel discouraged by the repetition and resign.
One of my close friends used to work in a low-level, dull position in cyber security, where they worked in shifts, either the early or late shift. They had to complete a checklist for each change, with the morning shift needing them to complete it first thing in the morning and the late growth wanting them to end it near the conclusion of their shift.
They told me that going through the checklist, checking several dashboards, logs, and other tedious activities may take up to two hours. When they were studying, they said they felt like a robot because they were in automatic mode, as if they were running a computer program in their heads to check this and then check that.
Is Cybersecurity One of the Most Stressful Career Paths?
Cyber security can be a demanding job, especially if it involves incident management because a significant occurrence can require all hands on deck and the completion of tasks under time constraints. As a result, additional hours are needed to ensure that the issue is confined.
I had a simple 9-to-5 job at one of the organizations where I worked, except for one day when there was an incident. Initially, it appeared that the firm had been the victim of a successful cyber attack, necessitating the start of a complete incident management process.
I had to become involved since it appeared that an attacker had managed to penetrate one of the security safeguards on the project I was working on. Worse, the incident management process began just as I was about to log off for the day, so I had no choice but to stay at work and assist the incident manager and the incident management team.
This was a first for me; I’d never been in an accident before, so my curiosity got the best. However, some of the other callers, particularly those on the incident management team, had to work in these conditions regularly. They were in the unknown, where an event may occur at any time, and they needed to be prepared and on their “A” game to manage the problem as swiftly as possible.
The team had to pass the ‘on-call’ baton around as well. This means they could be soundly sleeping at home when the phone rings to inform them of a potentially serious incident. This meant that their 9 to 5 job could evolve into a 9 to midnight job or an all-nighter in the worst-case scenario.
Once the incident management process was started, the incident manager would ask the team many questions to figure out what investigations and activities they would need to complete. To ensure that the impact of any disaster is minimized, all of this would have to be done swiftly and precisely.
Is it necessary to be intelligent to work in cyber security?
Most cyber security occupations do not require a high level of intelligence, as most jobs include applying cyber security concepts, standards, and best practices to projects and situations. These cyber security concepts and bars can be deployed across any firm once they’ve been grasped.
I’m averagely intelligent and wouldn’t consider myself particularly bright, but I have no trouble finding positions in cyber security. Simply because I understand what cyber security is, what the most common threats and assaults are, and how the principles, standards, and best practices for protection may be applied.
Over time, I’ve acquired a mindset for thinking like an attacker, such as a hacker, which has helped me comprehend the procedures that must be implemented to thwart these types of hackers.
What Factors Influence Job Stress in Cybersecurity?
In the security profession, inadequate staffing and overloading are two of the most prominent sources of stress. Of course, not every employer falls within this category. I’ve had the good fortune to work in industries and businesses that need a high level of security, which has resulted in funding to meet personnel needs. If stress is not appropriately addressed, it can be a serious threat to any organization’s security posture. It’s not all terrible; everyone reacts to work demands differently, so potential cybersecurity workers need to be aware of their entering situation before embarking on a career in the field.
Factors that cause job stress in cyber security
Stress in a security career is not surprising, and many of the factors that contribute to it are well known. The findings of other experts in the area are a little more startling. Limited resources and pressures to perform have put a strain on the information security field. Understanding the core causes of these workplace pressures can aid in the development of more effective employee surveys and response activities.
1. A Lack of Available Resources
More than half of security executives believe they have enough resources to deal with security flaws, let alone new threats.
Strategic discussions regarding risk tolerance are needed to maximize budget, technology, and human resources in the face of resource constraints. Security teams must prioritize their resources to protect themselves from the most serious threats. A real-time ability to dynamically assess, rate, and respond to hazards is necessary.
2. Internal pressures that one must deal with
The stress of working in the security industry is strongly related to cultural differences. About 38 per cent of cybersecurity professionals say they’re fed up with attempting to persuade consumers to change their habits. In addition, 18% of CISOs say that their fellow board members are unconcerned about security or consider it inconvenient.
Weak security culture and a lack of effort to perform security awareness training are inevitable consequences of a lack of executive support for security. Without board support, CISOs face an uphill battle to implement change.
3. Workloads that are too heavy
A staggering 73% of security professionals polled by the Ponemon Institute said they are suffering from burnout due to an ever-increasing job load. According to the same survey, SOC analysts are particularly susceptible to feeling overwhelmed for various reasons. Sixty-five per cent of SOC analysts have contemplated a career change due to the stress of a heavy workload and a lack of visibility.
Stress management should begin from the perspective of the employee. The closest people to work are the finest source of information about productivity issues. To orchestrate and automate the SOC, cognitive technologies can alleviate SOC analyst concerns about false positives or unnecessary manual work. If you can’t afford to automate your SOC, it’s time to reevaluate your resources and see if security operations are being underfunded. On average, only one-third of security budgets get to the SOC, according to Ponemon.
Requirements for On-Call Service
According to Ponemon, 71% of security professionals say they’re on call. It’s an obvious prescription for exhaustion. It is possible to reduce on-call stress even more through automation and incident response capabilities. To ensure that on-call schedules and compensation are equitable for all employees, each team must devise a system that works for them all.
Hours of Operation
According to Nominet, 88% of cybersecurity professionals work more than 40 hours a week. To put it another way, workers who put in long shifts are more likely to neglect their duties, leading to increased stress and decreased productivity.
It’s not easy to deal with extended work hours, especially when your brilliance compensates for a shortage of security abilities. Many jobs may be automated or outsourced, and CISOs need to know how security teams spend their time. It is possible to help security professionals maintain a 40-hour workweek by increasing the number of internal options for ongoing education and skill training.
Achieving Stability in Change
Cloud and Internet of Things (IoT) developments necessitate the rapid growth of security controls. Forty per cent of security professionals are concerned about securing new IT efforts, according to ESG research. Unpredictable requirements to protect technology initiatives that begin without cyber’s awareness or input annoy 39 per cent of security pros.
This kind of stress can be alleviated by a culture of secure digital transformation, which can reduce innovation risks and costs. Security and IT departments can work more effectively if they have access to the same tools.
Risks to Mental Health
When mental health difficulties are paired with workplace stress, the consequences can be devastating. Stress can significantly impact mental health, especially if an individual has a pre-existing ailment or is at greater risk for developing mental health issues. It has been established that security positions cause exhaustion, frustration, and other mental health issues that may be quantified.
People with mental health issues are more likely to suffer from workplace stress. A new study by Black Hat suggests that members of hacker communities may be more likely to suffer from mental health issues than the general population. There may be a significant incidence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among cybersecurity professionals, particularly those who served in the military.
A specialist in cybersecurity and CEO of Mental Health Hackers tells me that “opening a workplace discourse and teaching individuals to cope with stress can go a long way in assisting employees’ mental health,” but “occasionally people require professional treatment,” she says. “Even with insurance, therapy can be expensive, and finding providers can be difficult. Some companies are using internet services to fill this gap.”
3 Most Stressful Jobs in Cybersecurity
It’s important to remember that not all positions in the field of cybersecurity are created equal. Some of these topics may be recognizable to you, while others will be completely new. Your work experience is mostly determined by how well you fit in with the rest of the cybersecurity team. As a result, here are the top five most demanding positions in cybersecurity:
Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)
It’s easy to see how a CISO’s job might be taxing. As the team leader, it’s your responsibility to ensure the safety of your company’s technological infrastructure. You are in charge of security operations, and you update and implement security plans.
You must be prepared to deal with important risks at any time of the day or night because cyber threats don’t follow a set timetable. A team may be working for you, but it’s ultimately up to you to lead the organization through any cyber attack.
As fulfilling as being a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) is, it’s also extremely stressful. As a CISO, you are under a great deal of internal pressure. Managing a team while keeping an eye on the latest security dangers is a delicate balancing act.
Your job as a penetration tester is to look for security flaws in a company’s infrastructure. However, your company will need that you look for these flaws in a particular precise location. To avoid any legal ramifications, you must carefully verify the test’s parameters with your customer.
You could face substantial legal repercussions if you uncover a flaw you were not specifically employed. They must be quite accurate in the level of penetration testing they’re supposed to undertake.
The need for penetration testers is significant, and you may have to work irregular hours, much like the CIO. Most pen testers dread being accused of incompetence if they fail to find a vulnerability and are blamed for it.
Your responsibilities as an incident responder are varied. You must be able to detect security threats, but you must also be the person who, if an assault on your system is successful, knows how to stop it.
An incident responder must be available to counter any continuing threats. As a result, you’ll find yourself working irregular hours and being on call. After an attack, you should better understand how to avoid future episodes of this nature.
The position of an incident responder is one of the most challenging in cybersecurity. It’s one of the most sought-after options. Too few people have the training and experience needed to be incident responders. Successful incident responders must be adaptable, knowledgeable about cybersecurity, and quick to respond to new situations.
To what extent is it worth dealing with the potential for stress?
Most cybersecurity positions include some level of responsibility and can cause significant stress, so there’s no doubt. With the possibility of being summoned to deal with a security danger at any time, it’s tough to keep your professional and personal lives distinct. That’s all up to you.
Like a police officer, a firefighter, or an emergency doctor, a cybersecurity expert is a vital aspect of modern society. It’s a difficult job (extremely difficult), and you’ll never be familiar enough with cybersecurity dangers to be able to take a break.
This job is ideal if you’re up for a challenge and willing to work nights and weekends. We need more people like you who enjoy working with computers and have a strong desire to protect people’s possessions from hackers.
There are few things more satisfying than knowing that you’re doing your part to keep people safe from harm by working in the lucrative field of cybersecurity.