Burnout in Cyber Security, How To Spot it And Overcome It.


Burnout in Cyber Security, How To Spot it And Overcome It.

As workloads continue to grow in response to ever-evolving cyber threats, burnout is a very real threat to many cyber security team's wellbeing and productivity. It no longer seems enough to clock in 9-5 when cyber threats are lurking 24/7.

In a recent survey done by Gartner, 62% of professionals stated that long crunch hours was the biggest contributing factor to their burnout, as well as 65% of cybersecurity leaders stating excessive workloads and responsibilities as the following contributing factor. Other factors that are contributing to burnout in the market are:

  1. The ever changing nature of technology
  2. The push for integrating AI
  3. The pressure to perform to new standards while maintaining a work-life balance

High turnover rates also contribute to the problem both because it results in staff shortages and because the short tenures of many professionals do not allow for the cultivation of resilience in the face of constant threats. Due to this, the pressure to work late nights or weekends for cybersecurity professionals has reached new heights. 


Symptoms of Burnout

Burnout can lead to chronic fatigue, persistent feelings of exhaustion both physically and mentally. As well as this, professionals may become detached and cynical both in their work and to their colleagues, leading to conflict and difficulty with effective collaborating. 

 As burnout takes its toll, cyber professionals may find it increasingly difficult to perform at their usual level. Mistakes may become more common, attention to detail may suffer, and overall job performance may decline. It's important for cyber professionals to recognize these symptoms of burnout and take proactive steps to address them.

Overcoming Burnout

1. Create Open Communication

Start by having an open and honest conversation with your manager about how you're feeling. Explain the symptoms of burnout you're experiencing and how they're affecting your work performance and well-being. Transparency is key to finding a solution together.

2. Assess Workload

Work with your manager to assess your current workload and identify any tasks or responsibilities that can be delegated, postponed, or eliminated. Prioritize tasks based on urgency and importance, and discuss realistic deadlines and expectations.

3. Focus on Training and Skill Development

Identify areas where additional training or skill development could help improve efficiency and effectiveness in your role. Discuss with your manager the possibility of attending relevant training programs, workshops, or conferences to enhance your skills and knowledge. 

4. Arrange Regular Check-Ins

Schedule regular check-ins with your manager to discuss your progress in overcoming burnout and adjusting your workload as needed. Use these check-ins as an opportunity to provide feedback on what's working and what's not, and to brainstorm additional strategies for improvement.

5. Seek Support

Don't hesitate to seek support from your manager, HR department, or mental health professionals if you're struggling to overcome burnout. Your manager can help connect you with resources and support services that can assist you in managing stress and prioritizing self-care.


How managers and organisations can help reduce burnout

Organisations must reevaluate how they recruit and retain talent if they wish to effectively reduce the cyber talent shortage. Creating a people-first culture where team members feel prepared and confident in handling cyber threats will bring the best outcomes. When people are constantly being told that they need to be “On the lookout” for new threats, it can lead to anxiety and inadequacy. It’s important to remember that it is impossible to anticipate every threat.  

1. Recognize and Reward Achievements

Acknowledge and celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of cyber professionals. Recognize their hard work and dedication through verbal praise, awards, bonuses, or other forms of recognition.

2. Offer Flexibility and Autonomy

Provide employees with autonomy over their work and decision-making whenever possible. Offer flexibility in how tasks are completed and allow employees to have a say in their work schedules and priorities.

3. Outsourcing less critical tasks

By delegating routine or non-essential tasks to external vendors or contractors, internal teams can focus their time and energy on higher-priority activities that directly contribute to the organization's cybersecurity objectives.



By implementing these strategies, cyber managers and organizations can create a supportive and healthy work environment that reduces the risk of burnout for cyber professionals. Ultimately, prioritizing employee well-being not only improves job satisfaction and retention but also enhances productivity and performance in the long run.

Burnout is not a sign of weakness; it's a common occupational hazard in high-stress fields like cybersecurity, and acknowledging it is the first step towards recovery and resilience.

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