Building a Resilient World:
The ISAGCA Blog

Welcome to the official blog of the ISA Global Cybersecurity Alliance (ISAGCA).

This blog covers topics on automation cybersecurity such as risk assessment, compliance, educational resources, and how to leverage the ISA/IEC 62443 series of standards.

The material and information contained on this website is for general information purposes only. ISAGCA blog posts may be authored by ISA staff and guest authors from the cybersecurity community. Views and opinions expressed by a guest author are solely their own, and do not necessarily represent those of ISA. Posts made by guest authors have been subject to peer review.

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Is Employee Burnout a Threat to Your Organization’s Cybersecurity?

For your company to be successful, you need to treat your employees right. They need to feel safe and appreciated and know that their contributions make a difference to the organization. If they don’t feel valued or they are pushed too hard, they can quickly begin to experience burnout.

Employees who are burned out will be less productive, and they may start to feel apathetic about the company they work for, and when they are no longer engaged, then they are more prone to cause inadvertent security risks. Let’s talk about what leads to employee burnout, how it can affect your company, and what can be done to fix the issues.

Are Your Employees Burned Out? 

The first step is to understand burnout and the signs that your employees may not be as engaged as they used to be in the past. Burnout is an often diagnosable condition where employees either feel fatigued due to being overworked or they are dissatisfied with their work or how management treats them. Burnout is why so many employees are silently quitting by doing the minimum at work every day. Consider the COVID-19 pandemic, where many employees started to feel like there was more to life than working at a job that didn’t appreciate them as human beings. Many began to look for more meaningful experiences elsewhere.

The problem is that if you treat your staff like cogs in the machine, then they can lose respect for the company, and they are not likely to go out of their way to ensure that the business is safe and secure. The thing about cybersecurity is that everyone needs to be part of the team, so that together everyone can work to prevent threats, and burned-out employees are less likely to do so. 

The Damage that Burnout Can Cause 

Employee burnout is a threat to your organization, and there are a couple of reasons why this could be the case. To start, if your employees are doing the bare minimum, then they may skip important security steps like creating smart passwords, advising their manager of an out-of-date program, or if they have another computer issue that could become a vulnerability.

The other issue is that by allowing employees to become underappreciated, they could become an insider threat that can unintentionally hurt your company. Employees may not care to pay attention to the threats that they have been informed about in the past, like phishing scams. Many companies have hundreds of emails going through their servers every day, and if an employee clicks on a malicious link or attachment, then they increase the chances of malware, ransomware, or worse.

There is also the chance that your employees could become so upset that they may purposely try to cause harm to the company. That is why, if an employee leaves the company, your information technology (IT) team must ensure that they change and remove their role and restrict their access so that they cannot log in after the fact and try to cause havoc.

Eliminate the Possibility of Burnout 

To prevent these threats, your organization must value its employees and help them to succeed. Management needs to have open communication with the teams and have an open-door policy so the employees can come to them when they have issues or want to advance their careers, and they know that their leaders will listen.

It is also important to provide a healthy work environment that provides a work-life balance. That means not requiring overtime and instead allowing the staff to leave at the same time every day. Also, they should be allowed to take their breaks and lunches, so they don’t feel overworked and are provided a chance to relax and come back mentally refreshed.

Once you can see that your teams are feeling better, provide comprehensive cybersecurity training so that you can educate the staff on all current threats and the preventive measures that they can take to avoid an accidental breach.

In the end, it is crucial that your organization provides a positive work environment, so your employees feel like they are valued and appreciated. By putting forth this effort, you can prevent a potential cyber breach.

Katie Brenneman
Katie Brenneman
Katie Brenneman is a passionate writer specializing in lifestyle, mental health, education, and fitness-related content. When she isn't writing, you can find her with her nose buried in a book or hiking with her dog, Charlie. To connect with Katie, you can follow her on Twitter.

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