Cyber security staff are working weekends more than ever before – and it needs to stop

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More than eight-in-ten cyber security professionals in the UK are working weekends because of the pressure of their job, according to new research.

In a new report from security firm Bitdefender, based on a survey of 1,200 cyber professionals in France, Germany, Italy, Singapore, the UK and the US, the company said the pressure means that 71% of UK respondents are planning to look for a new job within the next year.

Globally, seven-in-ten said they often have to work at weekends, with the figure rising to 81% in the UK. It's just 59% in Singapore.

In terms of what they're concerned about, the main threats were ransomware, cited by a third, followed closely by software vulnerabilities and zero-day exploits, and phishing/social engineering at 28%.

Nearly half (44%) of respondents identified data breaches or leaks as a significant worry, while 43% expressed concerns over unauthorized access to cloud services, and another 42% were troubled by misconfigured cloud storage.

Researchers warned that the current threat landscape, combined with rampant skills shortages, is creating a more intense culture of overworking for security professionals.

This, in turn, is having a detrimental effect on their health and impacting broader cyber resilience.

"A shortage of qualified cloud cybersecurity talent makes this all the more challenging," researchers said.


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"Many IT professionals may possess deep expertise in one specific cloud platform, such as Azure, yet find themselves less familiar with others, like Google Cloud or AWS. This skill disparity can lead to gaps in an organization’s overall cloud security posture."

As a result of this lack of internal expertise, two-in-five professionals engage third-party cyber security experts to help lighten the load.

Burnout in cyber security is rampant

The survey findings align closely with previous research on overworking in the cyber security industry. Last year, a study from Centripetal showed that one-third of security professionals experience interruptions in their personal lives due to the pressure of the job.

70% of respondents told the firm their lives are interrupted at least once a week, while almost one-fifth were working more than a full day’s worth of unpaid overtime on a weekly basis.

In a similar study from CyberArk this year, more than two-thirds of C-suite executives said work-related burnout is affecting their ability to make critical, high-level decisions.

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance journalist writing for publications including the BBC, Private Eye, Forbes, Raconteur and specialist technology titles.