Technology professionals have always been faced with unique and stressful work-related challenges.
As organizations have rapidly modernized over the years, IT teams have become both internal and external customer support teams as well as guardians of growing and complex networks. Not only are they responsible for building and maintaining a technology roadmap that ensures operational efficiency and a good customer experience, they also must secure and monitor the network to protect the enterprise from cyberattack.
In the last few years, IT teams have been forced to adjust to the massive shift to remote work, as well as the proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) and the growth of Operational Technology (OT) and other connected devices using the network. This has only added more security vulnerabilities, many of which cannot be resolved using traditional IT security tools.
The rise in cyberattacks also has taken its toll, as the threat of a network breach, malware and ransomware force many IT teams into longer work cycles. In many cases, though cybersecurity budgets have increased, staffing and the amount of resources necessary to effectively cope with all the challenges and threats has not been adequate.
As a result of these changes, stress, anxiety and burnout are affecting CTOs, CIOs, CISOs and other IT professionals. According to US News and World Reports 2022 report on the “25 Most Stressful Jobs in the US,” IT Managers have the 5th most stressful job in the US, while Information Security Analysts have the 24th most stressful job.
According to ZDNet, more than 90% of cybersecurity experts report feeling stressed out in their jobs, and many of them admit that this stress is having a negative effect on their ability to complete their task. Approximately 60% said they rarely disconnect from their work. Over 25% said that work-related stress impacted mental and physical health, as well as having a negative impact on their personal life.
How to help CTOs, CIOs and IT Professionals
So, how can organizations better help their CTOs, CIOs, and IT professionals? What steps can be taken to both reduce stress and enhance operational efficiency among your technology team?
Budget to support your people
As organizations start to plan and budget for 2023, it is not enough to ensure you have a cybersecurity strategy in place that protects your enterprise data and technology. You also need to allocate funding so your IT team has the tools to do their job, the necessary training to enhance their skills, and team support to get work done without experiencing burnout.
Three steps you can take:
Ensure there is a “fast track” path for innovation
All technology teams have multi-year plans that are designed to take the organization forward. However, every CTO and technology leader should have a “fast track” budget and processes to pilot innovative technologies to determine if they can deliver better security and operational efficiency, and reduce long-term costs.
This agile approach will foster a more innovative workplace. Moreover, stress is reduced, because instead of fearing making expensive mistakes that will weigh down budgets for years to come, technology leaders can target needs and test solutions to validate their impact. The solutions that do not meet the requirements can be dispensed, while the solutions that are successful can progress and have their deployment expanded. This process can immediately improve the cybersecurity posture as it leads to the adoption of proven security solutions and eliminates the less effective and more costly tools.
Implement security designed for connected devices
The number of connected devices that use IT networks is growing every month. It is not just the large remote workforce that is integrating their personal devices into their work environment that technology leaders need to worry about. There also is growth in connected Operational Technology (OT), Internet of Things (IoT) and Industrial Control Systems (ICS) that organizations and their supply chains rely on for day-to-day operations.
Organizations have been slow to recognize that one cannot solve security vulnerabilities created by OT and IoT devices using solutions designed for IT networks. Connected devices are designed to collect and transmit valuable data, however their compact nature and simplicity often comes at the expense of built-in security or encryption. Additionally, if your organization finds it difficult to manage software and operating system patches across all computers, imagine trying to update patches for each device that also uses your network. Finally, since many connected devices lack IP addresses or compatible operating systems, they are present, but not often visible to IT security solutions – making them impossible to protect.
The reality is that connected devices present unique security vulnerabilities to network administrators and technology professionals. Bad actors exploit the unsecure data and workloads from connected devices to create a point of entry to your network. Once beached, your network is now susceptible to malware, ransomware or takeover.
Securing a network from these threats, organizations need solutions specifically designed to identify all OT and IoT using a network, conduct microsegmentation on all workloads coming from the edge, and then secure and monitor each workload to protect it from breach.
One platform solution to secure these connected devices is Onclave’s TrustedPlatform™. The TrustedPlatform™ is a network overlay that goes beyond standard microsegmentation by cryptographically securing OT and IoT workloads on IT networks. By identifying each segment and wrapping it in cryptographically secure enclaves, the platform secures the pathways from connected devices to the network, whether it is on-premises or in the cloud. This effectively stops attackers from using your most vulnerable systems to attack and gain access to your most critical infrastructure and data.
In addition to securing OT and IoT workloads, the TrustedPlatform™ provides internal management and automation of all identities, certificates and trust keys without the need of special training, agents or additional staff. This simplifies management and helps to lower costs.
Take action to secure your enterprise and support your team
The evolution of work into remote work and hybrid models, as well as the rise in cyberattacks and the growth of vulnerable connected devices, has increased the stress levels of technology teams in industries such as healthcare, manufacturing and government.
Making sure you set aside funding in your budget to support your people, encourage piloting innovative, future-proof technologies, and secure your most vulnerable OT and IoT assets are three effective ways to reduce stress and improve operational efficiency and lowering costs.