Cybersecurity stress is a real and growing problem for many companies. It just takes one glance at the news to see why. CNBC reports that many cybersecurity attacks cost more than $200,000 to address. As a result, a growing number of companies are going out of business when they suffer an attack.
The traditional approach to this rising level of cybersecurity stress is to put in more work hours and hire more staff. On the ground level, this approach takes different forms: put more effort into testing, take more training courses, or issues more security bulletins. All of these practices can help. However, continually working too many hours will only burn out your IT security team. Instead, you need to use the following techniques to cut your cybersecurity stress levels.
Reducing Cybersecurity Stress Without Compromising Your Standards
Put all of these techniques to use together to maximize your stress relief. These steps take some work to implement. Once they are in place, you will be one step ahead of problems, and that means less cybersecurity stress for everybody.
1) Use Proactive Monitoring To Detect Issues Early
In IT security, there’s almost nothing as stressful as dealing with a crisis. This can take different forms. It might be a publicly reported data breach involving millions of customers. Or it could be a fatal flaw discovered via an IT security audit. Now, we have some good news for you.
Many IT security problems are preventable by using proactive monitoring. To use this technique, you simply need to identify leading indicators for good IT security. For instance, you would probably agree that user account management has a key role to play in preventing security problems. A leading indicator for effective user account management could be “all inactive user accounts are closed after 30 days of inactivity.” You might decide to tighten up that timeframe even further for certain privileged user account types.
Review all of the IT security crises and incidents that your company has suffered in the past five years. In reviewing the root causes for these incidents, develop a few leading indicators you can monitor regularly.
2) Continuously Assess Manual IT Security Processes
Manual processes in cybersecurity create risk and need to be carefully reconsidered. In some cases, manual work is the only way to go. For example, it is difficult to see a way to automate creating a business case for multi-factor authentication because a business case has to reflect your company’s financial situation and goals.
Some other activities, like tracking user access requests and approvals, can be automated. Instead of asking managers and employees to track these requests using emails and spreadsheets, use a software solution to keep track of that data using Identity Enforcer.
Set a reminder on your calendar to review manual processes with your team every quarter. In between these reviews, pay close attention to cases where employees complain about repetitive tasks.
3) Use Automation To Solve User Setup Time
Doing the same tasks over and over again gets boring in IT security. After all, you probably didn’t go into the technology profession for repetition. You were probably more excited by the challenge of the field. Yet, if your analysts are stuck setting up new user accounts for each new employee, repetitive tasks will keep coming up.
These types of dull tasks slowly make work less appealing. It also means less time for your staff to come up with new ideas, take training and ask creative questions about improving your cybersecurity. Left unchecked, such tedious tasks quietly increase cybersecurity stress levels.
There is a better way! Use a software tool like Group Requestor to set up your new users. This tool will mean all customer service, all sales, and all finance staff start with the same baseline type of user accounts. On occasion, you may still need to give people special user accounts. However, the majority of time group management for user accounts will take care of most of the heavy lifting for you.
Ask your IT security employees to review how many user ID requests (i.e., new setup, access removal and related changes) have come through in the past 30 days.
You will probably be surprised at the volume! Once you have that number, consider whether you can free up staff time and fight off burnout by using an automation tool like Apollo, which manages password resets around the clock.
4) Retain Outside Experts To Assist With IT Security Incidents To Avoid Pushing Your Staff To Exhaustion
Burning the midnight oil in cybersecurity is a recipe for failure. That’s why retaining outside experts for IT security incidents matters. Without this support, your IT security team will be compelled to put in very long work days when a crisis hits.
When your cybersecurity staff are exhausted from working through an emergency, they are more likely to make mistakes. According to medical research, “the fatigue of sleep deprivation is an important factor likely to compromise performance of speed and accuracy of the kind needed for safety on the road and in other industrial settings.”
IT security requires expert judgment, the creative ability to think like a hacker, and meticulous attention to detail. All of these tasks become more difficult to perform when your team is exhausted from handling a crisis. To minimize cybersecurity stress, maintain a relationship with a cybersecurity firm that can help you navigate incidents when they occur.
5) Require IT Security Participation On New Projects and Technology Projects
The last proactive way to reduce cybersecurity stress requires a change to your project management processes. Avoid surprising your IT security staff! Bring them into projects, especially tech projects, early on so they can provide an expert opinion while systems are being developed.
Update your project management checklists and procedures to require IT security’s participation as a stakeholder.
Cybersecurity Stress Can Be Managed and Reduced
Using the techniques and software tools mentioned here will reduce your surprises, stress and anxiety. You will be able to spot problems before they become overwhelming. Your staff will not have to spend the entire day working on repetitive administrative tasks. The choice is yours. Invest in the tools and processes that proactively reduce stress and burnout or take a reactive stance to your cybersecurity and suffer the consequences.