Content, Content, Security Staff Acquisition & Development

Can SecOps Teams Overcome High Staff Turnover, Stress, Skills Shortages?

Business solution or exit strategy. Businessman runs to the exit door

Security operations (SecOps) teams are being asked to do more with less, prompting higher stress levels that negatively impact both their work and personal lives, ThreatConnect said in introducing its recently released Cybersecurity Under Stress report.

“Cybersecurity needs a rethink but is far from being broken,” wrote Adam Vincent, ThreatConnect co-founder and chief executive. “The industry is on a trajectory to make security leadership more business-driven, aligned with all parts of an organization,” he said. “One of the biggest challenges that cybersecurity leaders face today is gaining business buy-in for what needs to be done and the specific initiatives that need to be put in place to protect the organization,” said Vincent. “Cybersecurity should not become a black hole of investment but rather an integral part of business.”

The study's findings are gleaned from responses to a cybersecurity retention and job survey of 503 IT security decision makers across the U.S. and U.K. Overall, the report found a worrisome level of staff turnover, skills shortages, burnout, and low staff morale, the Arlington, Virginia-based risk assessment security specialist said.

Here are some findings from the study:

Top three barriers to recruiting people with cybersecurity skills:

  1. 38%: Finding people with the skills and qualifications required to do the job.
  2. 34%: Stress, workload.
  3. 32%: Long, irregular hours.

On cybersecurity capabilities:

  • 80%: Their company is focused on the right cybersecurity things and understands the most important risks.
  • 79%: Their cybersecurity team can regularly demonstrate its effectiveness and the return on cybersecurity investments.
  • 77%: Believe their company has the right security systems to defend against complex cybersecurity attacks.
  • 74%: Think their company can keep up with the volume and sophistication of cyber threats.

On staff turnover:

  • 32% of IT managers and 25% of IT directors might quit their jobs in the next six months.
  • 6.85: The average number of staff with direct responsibility for IT security.
  • 20%: On average, over the past 12 months, respondents estimated a staff turnover rate.
  • 67%: Said staff turnover has increased in the past 12 months.

Top three reasons employees are leaving their current job:

  1. 32%: Finding a better salary elsewhere.
  2. 27%: High stress levels.
  3. 27%: Lifestyle changes.

On workplace stress:

  • 32%: Very stressed about their current job.
  • 55%: Stress level has increased in the past six months.
  • The most common causes of stress are heavy workloads (32%), long hours (31%), tight deadlines (21%) and a rise in security incidents (18%).
D. Howard Kass

D. Howard Kass is a contributing editor to MSSP Alert. He brings a career in journalism and market research to the role. He has served as CRN News Editor, Dataquest Channel Analyst, and West Coast Senior Contributing Editor at Channelnomics. As the CEO of The Viewpoint Group, he led groundbreaking market research.