New normal. Our new reality. The various ways that we describe everyday life in the time of a global pandemic. It means a lot of change, in a lot of ways, for a lot of people. While parenting is definitely more challenging when it comes to managing to homeschool and work from home at the same time, there is another group that might not be getting as much press when it comes to feeling overwhelmed. The IT industry.
If you’re employed within any aspect of the IT support industry, your job already had plenty of “I need help RIGHT NOW” moments that required you to jump when someone said jump. Careers were depending on emails getting out, networks being up, and employees knowing how to use software and hardware effectively and safely. An ongoing cybersecurity program? It is a priority, but not often one that was at the top of the list – until a breach occurred. Then you were jumping and fixing and panicking right alongside your client. And how did the breach occur? Most likely through human error.
Stressful? Yes, we’d say so.
Take that, throw in the complete overhaul of how the global workforce now does their job, mix it up with a global healthcare crisis, and you have a stress smoothie that anyone would have a hard time digesting. ‘Work from home’ to most people means that they are now setting up a space to work effectively or designating an area for the kids to go to school. To the IT employee, it means at least a dozen other things to consider that go alongside which way to face your new desk or place the art station. Securing networks, passwords, supporting remote locations, and ensuring that not only are people working securely, but they are also working within the parameters that you’re able to support if something should go wrong. Stopping rogue downloads of software that they “think might help them do their job in this new scenario” are like trying to contain a balloon that a child has let go of. A small office with eight employees now means eight remote locations.
All of this has led to industry-wide fatigue that can lead to staff quitting from exhaustion and stress, which would further burden an industry that is already facing a skills shortage.
Avoiding Cyber Burnout
Emergencies are inevitable but assessing your clients ahead of a crisis is going to offset some of those unexpected failures. Take time to tend to your own business so that you can better serve your clients. Ensure that employees are taking time off. Giving your team acknowledgment of their efforts and accomplishments will always go a long way, even if you can’t afford large financial incentives, feeling valued is… well, invaluable. Having honest conversations with your clients is also important. Explain that you need to have ongoing conversations around their cybersecurity status so that you can plan ahead, make changes, and provide a response in non-emergency times rather than in just times of crisis.
The human factor in preventing breaches extends beyond the user, and in this case, is directed at taking care of the humans who support the effort as well.
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