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The Cost of Cybersecurity Employee Burnout

Employee burnout is not a new phenomenon, but it is on the rise today, particularly in the world of cybersecurity. The labor shortage and the rising rate of cybercrime have created the perfect storm for employee burnout, but modern companies can’t last without adequate cybersecurity. Beyond SOC team performance concerns, cybersecurity employee burnout is costing companies millions of dollars. 

For companies to withstand the onslaught of security threats, they must resolve the burnout problem that is affecting their employees, and they need the right cybersecurity tools to do so.

What Cybersecurity Employee Burnout Can Cost You

Why is employee burnout so prevalent in cybersecurity professionals? Beyond the rise of cybercrime and the labor shortage, there is simply too much work to be done. Many cybersecurity analysts spend 50% their time investigating and triaging thousands of security alerts. Their remaining time is spent on other critical tasks such as process improvement or threat hunting, but these are often pushed to the side to deal with alerts, many of which are false positives 

This often leads to alert fatigue, where employees deal with so many alerts that they simply do not have time in the day to address them all - resulting in missed and ignored threats. Once alert fatigue sets in and alerts are commonly ignored, it’s only a matter of time until an organization is faced with a devastating breach. 

Many organizations make the mistake of believing that the only costs of a cybersecurity breach are financial. While that is one cost - and a major one - companies are susceptible to losing much more should they face a cybersecurity crisis. 

In addition to the financial cost of a cybersecurity attack, which is generally between $3.5 and 4 million and rising each year, companies may face heightened security risks, business downtime, and the depletion of their company image. These fatal costs, combined with a severe enough cybersecurity attack, are enough to bring down even the most renowned of businesses. If a severe security alert goes ignored, it will likely result in a security breach. Consequently, sensitive company data can be leaked, costing companies millions of dollars. 

Beyond the breach's financial cost, companies will likely also face serious business impact. On average, attackers stay within an organization for 280 days before being detected and isolated. During this time, the business may or may not be impacted, but vital data is being compromised in the background. Once the organization has finally identified and controlled the breach, other company operations are significantly delayed, if not put to a halt entirely. As a result, businesses lose even more time and money outside of the potential cost of legal fines, litigation, or even ransomware payments. 

Company image also takes a significant toll following a severe security breach, particularly if customer data has been compromised - which we’ve seen in far too many cases over the years. According to a Forbes Insight Report, 46% of companies have suffered reputational damage due to a data breach. Two of these organizations include Target and Sony Pictures Entertainment, proving that no matter how big of a brand you are, you are not invincible to the damage of a cybersecurity breach. Once a breach occurs, customers lose trust in your organization and your ability to protect their information. 

As a result, customers will take their business elsewhere - specifically away from your company. The lost business makes up 40% of the average cost per incident, factoring in lost potential revenue. While recovering the lost data will be challenging, recovering lost customers will be even harder, as will gaining new customers. 

For organizations to combat the rising threat of cybercrime, they must first address the issue of employee burnout in cybersecurity employees. Studies show that nearly 75% of organizations recognize that they are more vulnerable to threats today because of inadequate manual efforts. Alert triage processes are drastically slowed by manual efforts and 67% of low-priority requests are ignored simply because employees are overwhelmed and overworked.   

Fortunately, solutions are available that alleviate much of an IT team’s workload - particularly the tedious and repetitive alerts that take up their time. AI-Assisted Cybersecurity can alleviate some of the burdens of this workload, plus assist employees in their decision making and thus reduce fatigue. While AI-Assisted Cybersecurity handles security alerts with speed and efficiency, employees can focus on more strategic and value-add projects, restoring productivity and a sense of purpose in their work. 

Weighing the Costs 

With these tasks delegated to the software, employees can combat burnout, saving companies from the aforementioned costs. But, while 21% of companies have seen the benefits of automated cybersecurity, many are still hesitant to take on the investment. Too many companies make the mistake of assuming that they can’t afford to introduce solutions such as AI-Assisted Cybersecurity. Still, they fail to account for the cost of the alternative. 

In 2020, 41% of organizations still had yet to deploy any kind of AI and automation security. While this showed a 7% increase since 2019, that is still far too many companies exposing themselves to the risk of losing millions of dollars. Last year, the average cost of a data breach in companies with no security automation deployed was $6.71 million. In contrast, the average cost of a data breach for organizations with a fully deployed security automation solution was $2.9 million

That’s $3.81 million that organizations could have saved had they deployed a security automation software. Even for organizations that only partially deployed security automation, the average cost of a data breach was $3.85 million, which is a massive cost reduction.

This is because organizations with deployed security AI and automation (even if only to a partial extent), are able to more quickly detect and contain a breach than companies without automation deployed. Remember when we said that on average, it takes organizations 280 days to identify and control a breach? With security automation, it only takes an average of 184 days to identify, and 63 to contain the breach. That’s 33 less days that a hacker is active within an organization. With security automation, companies reduce the time that a hacker has to compromise data and thus drastically reduce the cost - and damage - of the breach altogether. 

By deploying even a partial (although full deployment is most effective) level of cybersecurity supported by AI and automation, companies can save millions of dollars - which for many, could be the difference between losing or keeping their company. 

While AI-Assisted Cybersecurity is still an investment, it is well worth the price. Plus, when compared to the cost of a breach, the cost of AI-Assisted Cybersecurity seems laughable. No matter the organization, AI-Assisted Cybersecurity is a feasible and cost-effective solution to employee burnout and cybersecurity management. Regardless of whether an organization has an endless cybersecurity budget or a very limited one, AI-Assisted Cybersecurity could save them millions and result in more energetic and productive employees. 

AI-Assisted Cybersecurity is the Solution

The cost of cybersecurity employee burnout is tremendous. If your organization’s cybersecurity workforce is experiencing alert fatigue, burnout is likely to follow, as is a major security breach. Fortunately, AI-Assisted Cybersecurity can save you from facing these issues, catching security breaches before they cost you everything. Security automation solutions such as AI-Assisted Cybersecurity significantly reduce the average cost of security breaches, as well as the likelihood of a breach to occur at all. 

Managing a business is all about weighing costs. While most of these decisions are difficult, this one is not. AI-Assisted Cybersecurity supports cybersecurity employees and IT teams with tedious and repetitive, although still important, tasks. With AI-Assisted Cybersecurity, companies can manage security alerts with greater speed and accuracy than manually while providing employees the time to focus on more value-add projects. 

As a result, employees can focus on enhancing their organization’s security while security automation technologies work in the background to support them. Ultimately with AI-Assisted Cybersecurity, companies can achieve greater cybersecurity - at a fraction of the cost of a cybersecurity breach.