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Fighting back against cybersecurity burnout

Fighting back against cybersecurity burnout

Industry ExpertTop Stories

Andrew Hollister, CISO, LogRhythm, explains how addressing burnout to reduce cyber-risk should be treated as seriously as any other business risk and considers how CISOs can put priorities into perspective.

Andrew Hollister, CISO, LogRhythm

In a rapidly expanding threat environment, the challenge for Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) isn’t just evolving threat tactics but making sense of overwhelming security information. When protecting environments, security teams are increasingly faced with the stressful situation of determining and responding to the most urgent threats. This is leading to rapid rates of burnout within the industry.

The vast array of information that is now entering the cybersecurity space is met with a widening skills gap causing more cybersecurity experts to experience burnout. Statista found that 70% of CISO respondents in the UK had experienced burnout in 2023. For a space that already deals with staffing shortages and constant industry changes, this creates a massive challenge when it comes to having a healthy and high-functioning security team. 

Given the pivotal role that technology plays within almost every business, addressing burnout to reduce cyber-risk should be treated as seriously as any other business risk. CISOs need to align their priorities to ensure staff well-being and cyberdefense is a top concern. They need processes and platforms to liberate security teams from time-consuming processes.

The burnout effect

Cybersecurity burnout is usually the result of a stressful and unmanaged working environment within the industry. Employees who experience prolonged stress are often being stretched too thin and are working without the suitable tools and processes to allow them to carry out their roles in a sustainable way. 

Burnout can be intensified by several factors including:

  • False positive results – The continuous stream of alerts experienced by security teams makes it more challenging for analysts to cut through the noise and focus on the threats that matter. As a result, there is a risk of false positives leading to ruined momentum, lack of morale and the increased risk of missing critical positive alarms.
  • The cybersecurity skills gap – The cybersecurity skills gap remains a serious threat to the industry. The 2023 ISC2 Cybersecurity Workforce Study reports that four million cybersecurity professionals are still needed to adequately safeguard digital assets. Recruiting, upskilling, and retaining employees is key to ensuring that an organisation can protect its assets from cyberattacks and relieve pressure on security teams. 
  • The ever-growing threat landscape – The rise in cybercrime has also delivered more varied, sophisticated and harmful attacks on unsuspecting businesses. With the threat landscape constantly evolving, cybercriminals are leveraging modern technologies to evolve attacks. This can add mounting pressure and demand on already stretched security teams. 

By automating manual processes, companies can ease the burden on security teams and become more efficient. Organisations need to focus on putting proper plans and processes in place to streamline the analyst experience.

Enabling and emphasizing security efficiency

CISOs can play a major part in reducing and eliminating the risk of burnout within the security team. A team that is highly stressed is not as effective as it could be, leaving organisations in a more vulnerable position against emerging threats.

Addressing the on-going burnout challenge requires a multifaceted approach consisting of compiling a comprehensive security plan, educating users on emerging risks, and investing in cybersecurity talent. As well as this, having dedicated solutions designed for analyst efficiency in place plays a pivotal part in easing the security burden. 

Deploying an appropriate cloud-native SIEM platform can help to relieve the pressure felt by overworked security professionals as well as help CISOs with putting priorities into perspective. 

Security teams benefit from:

Easy on-boarding. A key advantage to using a cloud-native SIEM platform is the reduction of the burden on in-house teams to deploy, customise and operate their security solution. Effective and user-friendly capabilities make it more efficient to on-board new security professionals, avoiding any analyst frustrations and potential burnout.

Optimised user experience. Deploying a dependable solution with easy-to-navigate interfaces and guided workflows drastically reduces the time required for analysts to familiarise themselves with the platform. Automated updates within the platform enable continuous rapid delivery of enhancements while integrating easily with other cloud services and on-prem applications. This boosts analyst productivity by streamlining tasks and facilitating quicker decision-making.

A powerful partner. A cloud-native SIEM vendor with strong support and professional services capabilities can help accelerate analysts’ time to value and maximise the value of your investment. For most organisations, the difference between success and failure with a cloud-native SIEM comes down to the support, capabilities and fit of the vendors they choose.

Reduced visibility gaps. Cloud-native SIEMs don’t replace the need for analysts, but instead augment their experience and provide a reliable solution to lean on. With the right cloud-native solution, managing large volumes of data gets easier. The SIEM allows clear prioritisation with intuitive analytics that highlight patterns of suspicious activity. This reduces overwhelm by bringing organisations’ biggest visibility gaps into focus for streamlined risk management and SOC performance.

Beyond utilising a cloud SIEM, having support from executive teams and boards is critical for security teams to operate at their most efficient to reduce burnout. Gaining buy-in and alignment with CEOs is critical in making sure security teams have the budget and resources needed to reduce pressures on teams.

Investing in security hires will also help to maintain a healthy working environment. If your team is constantly struggling to find and retain top talent, having a plan in place for your staffing models can help reduce burnout on existing staff and prevent future issues with new recruits. 

At the same time, it is important to educate on security best practices across the entire organisation to share the responsibility of being security first.

Reducing the cybersecurity burden

With the increased threat of cyberattacks, a widening skills gap and stretched security specialists, CISOs need to address the growing danger of burnout in their operations. 

While there is no silver bullet for this issue, introducing a solid plan, board-level support, processes for education and the right platforms can have a transformational impact on risk posture. Being aware of the causes of burnout is an essential part of successfully relieving some of the stress security teams experience.  Having this awareness in place will not only protect data but also reduce the burden on overwhelmed security teams, improving burnout rates and overall job satisfaction.

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