Chris Swagler | June 23rd, 2022

IT professionals face enormous pressure to keep companies secure, and the stress is leading many workers to develop alert fatigue. There are warnings about “increasing and unsustainable stress levels” in companies’ IT workforce from persistent ransomware threat and large-scale attacks, which is causing this form of stress and anxiety. This is driven by the unrelenting threats from ransomware and supply chain attacks like the 2020 SolarWinds breach and the 2021 Kaseya ransomware incident, both of which had far-reaching and long-lasting consequences for impacted companies.

Preventing cyberattacks brings a heavy burden on those responsible for keeping networks and wider organizational systems secure. IT professionals are stressed in their roles with numerous specialists conceding that it’s negatively impacting their ability to perform their jobs. IT professionals in leadership positions are feeling these pressures as well. According to a report, 33% of C-Suite executives, including CISOs, CTOs, ITOs, and IT strategy directors were highly stressed. More IT professionals are experiencing increasing alert fatigue due to pressures, including potential catastrophic consequences for companies that rely on their vigilance and the potential to be blamed for any incident. Burnout and fatigue have worsened among IT workers with the shift to remote working, which makes network security more challenging for companies.

The diminishing oversight IT professionals have on devices in a remote setting makes it difficult to verify that security policies are followed. Additionally, numerous IT departments are unprepared to deal with the challenges that remote working offers. CISOs and other company leaders are under additional pressure from this responsibility: securing a remote workforce was the biggest concern, according to a survey of C-suite professionals. The impact of digital transformation on companies’ security posture was next, which researchers claimed underlined the difficulty of securing hybrid environments. Senior executives are admitting that their stress levels are affecting their decision-making and can have implications on companies’ security posture.

The stress companies are seeing across the industries is also leading to an increase of talented people leaving: a particular challenge when many security defenses and mitigation processes are human-dependent, requiring monitoring and response. Resulting from constant cybersecurity threats, IT personnel are often burdened by increased workloads and longer hours. Those outside of the C-Suite felt pressured to respond to every security alert, despite this being an impossibility, while others were expected to always be on call or available. To cope with the associated stress, researchers discovered a widespread adoption of counter-productive measures, including switching off overwhelming alerts. Lacking tools to perform their roles properly and staff shortages were the major challenges for companies. Resources are stretched thin without a specific focus on one attack type and it’s easy to see how the IT team would feel disheartened by the challenges they face.

The shift to remote working has encouraged cyber criminals, with ransomware incidents increasing dramatically during the last two years. Even though companies are recommended not to pay threat operators in exchange for encrypted data, IT professionals do so to avoid downtime and reputational damage if the attacks become public. Paying threat actors doesn’t guarantee the safe return of data. Many companies who paid said that records or sensitive information were exposed regardless and others were unable to restore all their data. Additionally, after paying the ransom, some companies were hit with an extortion demand.

With ransomware threats on the rise, it’s important for companies to always remain vigilant on the current threat landscape, keep network data offline, and regularly enhance their network security posture. At SpearTip, our certified engineers work continuously monitoring companies’ networks at our 24/7/365 Security Operations Center for potential ransomware threats. SpearTip examines companies’ security posture to improve the weak points in their network and engages with companies’ people, processes, and technology to measure the maturity of the technical environment. The ShadowSpear Platform is a cutting-edge all-in-one solution that delivers a cloud-based solution collecting endpoint logs and detecting sophisticated unknown and advanced ransomware threats.

If your company is experiencing a breach, call our Security Operations Centers at 833.997.7327 to speak directly with an engineer.