Cybersecurity stress has been described as an industrywide epidemic amongst many cyber and security professionals. Talking about stress can be a difficult conversation for many, however, it is important to address workplace stress before its consequences affect both people and the business.
Stress can be one of the biggest underrated insider threats to a business. According to CIISec’s 2020/2021 State of Profession report, 557 security professionals have said that stress has become a major issue due the COVID-19 pandemic, with 80% also saying they have seen first-hand the effects of stress on their staff. These figures are a significant concern as it’s been shown that people are more vulnerable to the attempts of cyber criminals whilst feeling stressed. A Cyberchology (2020) report found that when stress levels are heightened, staff members are more likely to panic and potentially click on a malicious link or fail to report any security breaches to their IT team.
Workplace stress is becoming such an issue that, according to VMware’s 2021 Global Incident Response Threat Report, 65% of cyber professionals have said that they have considered leaving their job because of stress and CIISec’s 2020/2021 report states that 51% of cybersecurity professionals are kept up at night due to the stress of their job.
The facts and figures are clear that stress is a serious topic in the cyber community that needs to be more thoroughly addressed. Therefore, we asked our Human Factors Specialist, Ellen Kay, for her top tips for dealing with workplace stress and how we can spot signs of stress in others:
“I want to talk to you about one of the most common things in the workplace that break down teams and organisations around the world.
I’ve worked with MANY different companies, corporations, upper management and human resources, and they’re always talking about the impact of stress in their businesses. Stress is when your brain and body are knocked out of homeostasis. The stress response is what your body innately does to return itself back to order.
All organisms in nature, every creature, can tolerate short-term stress. But when the stressors add up and people keep reacting to threats and conditions in their external environment over and over again, they’ll keep their brain and body out of balance. And as a result, a system is going to break down. That means, individuals are going to break down. Teams are going to break down. Because no organism can live in emergency mode for an extended period of time.
Living in emergency means living in stress. And living in stress is living in survival. And what are the effects of that?
It turns out that the main cause of absenteeism in companies and organisations, has to do with stress and anxiety related problems that add to health problems. Over 75%of people who walk into a healthcare facility in the western world, walks in because of emotional and psychological stress. This emotional and psychological stress ultimately leads to other conditions and health problems, which cause people to be more sick. As a result, people become less creative, less innovative. They’re less productive and produce fewer outcomes. They communicate less and they’re less engaged in the workplace.
This has a direct effect on profits and growth in a business. They also tend to be more sick, and tend to be more competitive in a way that does not add real value to the business, they are more resistant to change, they’re more hostile, more resentful, more anxious and more depressed. They add to the toxic environment that they’re reacting to, which then causes the environment to become more stressed, which causes people to become more reactionary. And the cycle continues. It’s a huge problem all over the world.
It turns out that there’s a way to teach people how to make significant changes in their brain and body, and it’s actually a formula. The Human Factors offering at Cyber Quarter teaches this formula, and I want to share some of that information with you. Are you looking after your organisation, are you looking after your people, are you looking after you?”
To learn more about the impacts of stress and your business, sign up for our three upcoming Human Factors Briefings. Follow the links below to register your interest: