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National Stress Awareness Day: The hidden cost of stress in the security industry, and how organizations can help

National Stress Awareness Day: The hidden cost of stress in the security industry, and how organizations can help

Stress kills. To some, stress may manifest as a temporary problem that can be managed with a jog, some quality time with friends, or some yoga. Yet, the fact of the matter is, long-term, chronic stress releases adrenaline on a regular basis, which can ultimately lead to heart and nervous system complications.

This is obviously an issue for millions of people around the world, but the impact of stress is keenly felt in the security industry, particularly this year. As remote working became a necessary norm for millions around the world, IT and security teams everywhere have been charged with ensuring that organizations can work securely outside of the office environment and that security threat is responded in kind: more than a third of companies have suffered a data breach since switching to remote working.

However, stress and burnout have been an unfortunate part of the security industry for decades now. With an ever-expanding threat surface, increased economic reliance on data, and a chronic skills shortage in the industry, it is no wonder that so many cybersecurity professionals find that stress and work go hand in hand. So, what can your organization do to ensure your security teams’ stress remains manageable?

Take the time to understand

The day-to-day tasks of security teams can be so far removed from the everyday workings of a business that the teams can begin to feel isolated. Working to ensure that the whole business understands what the security teams are doing will not only help to foster a security-first culture in the company, which will naturally alleviate the team’s workload, but will also help the security team to feel more connected to the business as a whole.

Realize stress is natural, and human

Stress is an extremely unpleasant feeling, but what can compound this stress and ensure it manifests itself in damaging ways is isolation. While avoiding stress should be a goal for everyone, it is, of course, not a realistic one. If a security team is working to a tight deadline, or in the middle of a severe security incident, it’s more than natural that stress will occur, especially with such high stakes.

Take definitive action to support your security team

If this stress is something that is known by those in positions of power at the business, then they can make the appropriate provisions for support. These provisions can be as varied as access to mental health services, time in lieu, or even just a message of support or a gift from the team. As the old adage goes, a problem shared is a problem halved, and making the effort to hear and understand what others are going through will prove that your organization cares about balancing workloads and the stress of security teams.