Information overload impacts worker performance
Do you remember in class how, after around twenty to thirty minutes, paying attention to a lecture got increasingly difficult? For those suffering from ADD or other neurodivergent problems, it was a nightmare. But for others, even with great concentration, that blurry, foggy sense of “information overload” eventually settled in. Some suggest the brain can only manage about 40 minutes of solid concentration before finally breaking off.
What am I getting out? The loading of info leads to patterns of burnout. When too much is too much, your brain switches off. That burnout has now extended into the cybersecurity realm and its related strategies. And when that happens, everyone pays less attention in a time where attention is crucial to quality cybersecurity defense.
The trend started with the shift to remote work back in 2019. But with that shift came intense demand to shore up network defenses, most of which could only be accomplished through educating employees. But this saturation of info, this “extended class time” is eroding focus and having the reverse effect. When you get burned out, you lose focus, engagement, and often want to do the bare minimum. Fatigue sets in and things just get worse.
A survey conducted by “1Password” emphasis this point. Surveying 2500 adults in both the US and Canada, those of which worked in remote environments, 80% of staff felt burned out. 84% of security specialists mentioned the same feeling.
Attention reduced where it’s needed
You know the feeling. You’re spaced out, looking at things as needed, and your investment in work, task or even hobby has vaporized. It’s fine when you can take a break, but remote threats don’t take a vacation. Adding to the problem is cybersecurity requires a near-constant state of scrutiny. One can easily mistake a phishing email for a legitimate one if they’re not paying attention.
Small flaws and problems, the security breaches skirting through digital holes, are unfortunately no longer ignorable concerns. Imagine a “legitimate” email which instead of being a trusted contact, handed over login info to a hacker. That might transform into a ransomware scenario several months down the line, and if you know anything about ransomware, you understand its devastating consequences.
More so, a distracted, disinterested burnout means new information, policies, and practices won’t transfer over. At Bytagig we emphasize a strong knowledge base – and encourage – but burnout is a result of too much time and stress, meaning even well-meaning programs remain ineffective. And it’s not just staff, either. The survey also discovered survey team leads also struggled with burnout.
Addressing the burnout issue
It’s a serious problem, as you can imagine. Ignoring the long-term consequences of a disenfranchised workforce not effectively practicing security rules, it indicates degrading performance overall. Like we’ve talked about before, a workforce drowning in cybersec policies, atop their routine tasks, is overwhelming.
So, what can be done? If you feel your remote workforce is hemorrhaging, how can you address it? Especially, since, the introduction of new policies tends to worsen the problem. There is no primary “fix all” solution, but companies, teams, and organizations can seek out ways to diminish the burnout caused by info overload.
Simplify the policies.
Watering down security policies into easy, digestible formats is key to reducing remote burnout.
Automated solutions and implementation.
Where you can automate basic tasks, implement it. Automation can greatly assist burnout by pruning grunt tasks, letting your workers focus on the important things.
Talk to your staff.
Create awareness about burnout, and address it by talking to staff. See what can help them. Offer time off or listen to feedback about simplifying cybersecurity rules. Once you open a dialogue, your team will feel more inclined to listen.
However, even with the best intentions, sometimes burnout is a product of too much work and not enough resources. You may need third-party help to compensate.