Independent research into the mental health of IT professionals has found that budget cuts are negatively impacting wellbeing in the cyber security sector.
The research, commissioned by Integrity360, surveyed 205 IT security professionals on their attitudes towards their organizations IT budget, their main concerns within the job, and the availability of mental health support and services.
Almost 60% stated that their mental health had declined as a result of budget cuts, with over half (55%) also staing that the current economic climate was restricting access to mental health services within their organizations.
Challenges facing IT decision makers
Of the main challenges facing those in IT, 48% said that protecting sensitive data caused the most stress followed by managing risk and compliance (28%), defending identities (26%) and ransomware ranked at 25%.
Of the different professions within the industry, CIOs were found to have the highest impact on their mental wellbeing (30%) when working on security consolidation, with CTOs and security analysts having significantly lower concerns at 18% and 14% respectively.
The shortage of qualified professionals within the cybersecurity industry has forced many IT departments to do more with less, increasing the workloads on already struggling workers. 63% of those surveyed noted that working within cybersecurity contributed to increased levels of stress and anxiety.
Fortunately, close to 70% said that adequate support was provided by their organization however 75% would like more to be done to provide wider access to mental health services.
Speaking on the results of the survey, Brian Martin, Head of Product Development, Innovation and Strategy at Integrity360 said, "Cyber security budgets have always been challenging and this year has certainly tested many businesses.
“A myriad of issues from budget, economic downturn and skills shortage have all impacted the workload placed on those tasked with tackling cyber threats and compliance and it’s no surprise this is having a detrimental effect on mental wellbeing.
“Businesses need to find solutions to support their employees and ensure that the systems they are working so hard to secure are up to the task. Enlisting third party help or outsourcing to an MSSP could be a good place to start.”
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Benedict Collins is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Pro covering privacy and security. Before settling into journalism he worked as a Livestream Production Manager, covering games in the National Ice Hockey League for 5 years and contributing heavily to the advancement of livestreaming within the league. Benedict is mainly focused on security issues such as phishing, malware, and cyber criminal activity, but he also likes to draw on his knowledge of geopolitics and international relations to understand the motives and consequences of state-sponsored cyber attacks.
He has a MA in Security, Intelligence and Diplomacy, alongside a BA in Politics with Journalism, both from the University of Buckingham. His masters dissertation, titled 'Arms sales as a foreign policy tool,' argues that the export of weapon systems has been an integral part of the diplomatic toolkit used by the US, Russia and China since 1945. Benedict has also written about NATO's role in the era of hybrid warfare, the influence of interest groups on US foreign policy, and how reputational insecurity can contribute to the misuse of intelligence.
Outside of work Ben follows many sports; most notably ice hockey and rugby. When not running or climbing, Ben can most often be found deep in the shrubbery of a pub garden.