1(630)802-8605 Ravi.das@bn-inc.net

As we all know threats and hacks occur every day, and there is no end in sight to it.  It seems like that something new and even more stealthy and sophisticated is coming out by the minute.  For individuals and businesses alike, this is a hard chore to accomplish.  That is trying to keep up with all of this so that the defense perimeters will be solidified is enough to give anybody a massive migraine headache, if nothing worse (hopefully not at least).

Luckily, in the industrialized nations like here in the United States, Europe, and most parts of Asia, there is a plethora of Cybersecurity firms that make their constant living just monitoring the threat landscape and coming out with new recommendations and solutions in order to help keep both individuals and industry safe from whatever is lurking out there.

The people who work in these kinds of companies literally thrive on day to day excitement of what is going on out there, and trying to defeat the proverbial “enemy” in real world simulation attacks.  The technology they seem to employ is always working, on guard, 24 X 7 X 365.  But you know what?  These Cybersecurity professionals are humans just like you and I, and there is so much that they can take until they get fatigued, exhausted, or even just have a mental breakdown.

But, there seems to be a Catch 22 here.  Just as much as a Cybersecurity is overworked and exhausted, more demands are being placed upon them.  That is, the public and businesses are getting fed up with all of these Cyber attacks, and their patience is growing thin.  They want answers and solutions now, not a few days later.  But if you put yourself in their shoes, can you blame them?  After all, it is their livelihood that is at grave risk.

Just consider some of these alarming stats:

*Workloads on Cybersecurity teams is increasing by as much as 63%;

*41% of time and efforts are spent upon mitigating threats as they occur; as a result, not much time is being planned to avoid future threats;

*38% of the Cybersecurity teams are experiencing a high rate of burn out;

*24% of Cybersecurity teams cannot even prioritize threats in a timely manner.

(SOURCE:  https://www.securitymagazine.com/articles/88830-cyber-response-fatigue-management-overlooked-and-undervalued)

It is important to keep in mind that Cyber attacks just do not conveniently occur during the workday, they occur anywhere in the world, 24 X 7 X 365.  Cybersecurity professionals are not only called upon to combat these threats, but there is a lot of work that goes after the fact as well.  For instance, if the attack is large enough, forensics investigations will have to be conducted (this is also a laborious and time consuming process), excruciating examination of servers logs and files, etc.

Because of this, the Cybersecurity staff is unable to devote time to what is really important – creating an actual process map that can be followed when it comes to responding to a Cyber threat.  Granted, each and every attack is pretty much different in nature, but it is important to have a framework in place as a baseline in which how to respond quickly, without wasting too much in the response time.  There are frameworks out there which exist that a business or a corporation can adopt and implement fairly quickly.  These include:

https://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/what-we-do/aerospace-defense/cyber/cyber-kill-chain.html

https://www.securitymagazine.com/articles/88624-steps-to-turn-the-nist-cybersecurity-framework-into-reality

Once this framework has been adopted, it is absolutely critical that the organization carry out practice drills and rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse for mock attacks with their employees.  Really in the end, only practice makes perfect.  In the end, there is no easy answer to this issue of fatigue and burn out by a Cybersecurity team.

One solution would be to have literally a 24 hour security watch.  For example, a United States based corporation can keep guard during the waking hours of 8 AM to 5 PM, and an affiliate in India can keep an eye during our sleeping time which would be daytime for them.  For Penetration Testers, it is equally important to have backup staff when fatigue and exhaustion do hit in.

As this quote sums it up nicely:  “Fatigue and burn out can lead to impaired concentration and attention and should not be overlooked. For cyber response teams this can be a dangerous proposition, and it paves the way for a corporation to be the next cautionary tale.”  (SOURCE:  https://www.securitymagazine.com/articles/88830-cyber-response-fatigue-management-overlooked-and-undervalued).

After all in the end, the biggest threat may not be the Cyberattacker itself, but the exhaustion and fatigue which sets in to the professionals trying to combat them.  But the good news is that the Cybersecurity industry is supposed to be a well over $200 Billion industry by 2020, so this means that hiring should be strong for viable candidates in the long term.