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As cyber security threats continue to rise and change, IT teams find themselves under ever-increasing pressure to ensure their company remains resilient against evolving threats. Ongoing political unrest, the global economic downturn and, of course, the war in Ukraine have all contributed to an even more dangerous landscape.

These heightened stresses have only served to increase the strain on already over-stretched IT professionals, who are having to spread themselves thin to cope with rising threats. Many businesses have gaps in basic, technical IT security skills within their company, meaning the talented individuals with the required skills are being stretched further to fill the gaps.

With the ‘Great Resignation’ seeing huge numbers of tech workers considering if they should jump ship for a better deal, and cyber-attacks set to continue increasing worldwide, businesses face a big cyber security challenge. So, what can you do to reduce burnout, increase morale, and retain the vital people who can protect you against rapidly evolving threats?

Open up communication and make tech voices heard

Who better to ask how to support IT teams than the people themselves? Before making any decisions on cyber security strategy, business leaders should be involving the experts who will be implementing it.

This shouldn’t be a one and done solution either – regular check-ins are essential to understand staff needs and to evaluate where needs most attention, allowing businesses to redistribute resources accordingly. Feedback should be actively encouraged and rewarded with attentive, prompt action.

Employees want to feel heard; if their voices are listened to, they are more likely to feel valued, satisfied and show loyalty in return.

Show skilled professionals how valuable they are

One thing that business leaders will learn from more open communication is that staff with in-demand cyber security skills are realising their worth. The growing skills gap means IT experts are hot property, and those talented professionals will no doubt be keeping an ear open to offers.

If they are to attract and retain top talent, businesses therefore have to be prepared to pay for it. If you don’t, you risk losing these sought-after individuals to the companies that are willing to invest, creating even more security gaps. This is even more urgent with the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, as people are looking for ways to help them manage rising costs –  36% of UK workers are currently job hunting so that they can earn more to keep up with cost of living.

Additional benefits, such as improved flexibility and training, are important too. Security teams will also feel empowered if they see clear investment in the tools they need to work efficiently and integrate security across operations. Again, listening to what employees need and want to keep them settled and happy is essential.

Invest in training and balance the workload

It’s important too though that not everything is piled onto the individuals with existing cyber security skills. It seems obvious in 2022 that everyone should have some sense of security awareness. However, businesses cannot afford to be complacent with best practice.

If wider staff are consistently trained to be the first line of defence, the specialists are able to put their limited time to better use. As most business leaders know, the biggest cause of security breaches comes from human error.

By investing in training for all staff, organisations can reduce the likelihood of human error from their wider workforce, but also from their cyber security specialists, by lightening the burden on them and decreasing the chance of burnout. Regular training to focus on simple issues like phishing scams and multi-factor authentication are an easy way to reduce the risk of easily preventable issues. 

Cyber security skills are at a premium and are only set to become increasingly valuable as threats rise and develop further. We offer help to business leaders to alleviate this stress, because we know today’s cyber security landscape and staff retention are two significant issues to juggle in an increasingly uncertain world. But if businesses ensure they are providing a thorough support network, built on the feedback of their IT teams, they can avoid staff burnout, create a cyber-conscious organisation and allow their specialists the time and space to do what they are paid to do best.