Burned Out Employees Put Corporate Security at Risk

The pressures of remote working and caregiving during the pandemic have taken a significant psychological toll on UK employees, leading to risky behavior online which could expose their employer to cyber-threats, according to Forcepoint.

The security vendor polled 1000 UK adults to better understand how life under lockdown is affecting the corporate cybersecurity posture.

Over half (52%) of respondents reported increased personal pressure over the past year, with younger employees more likely to suffer than their counterparts over 55-years-old.

Almost two-thirds (64%) of younger employees said that their stress level makes it difficult to focus, versus 29% of older workers, and 70% claimed they’re under pressure to be available outside of normal working hours, compared to half (48%) of older workers. Some 71% said they also feel stressed out by competing demands from their personal and professional lives, compared to 40% of older employees.

This appears to be translating into risky behavior: 41% of younger respondents reported making more mistakes when working from home, such as copying the wrong people into emails. Over half (54%) said distractions negatively impact decision making and 46% use shadow IT to perform certain tasks more easily.

Most (71%) caregivers also reported stress in trying to balance work and home life, with 70% claiming they feel the pressure to be available outside of normal working hours. Half (49%) said they find it difficult to make day-to-day professional decisions while working from home.
Potentially as a result, 45% said they tend to make more minor mistakes when working from home, and 40% said they need shadow IT to get their job done.

“Companies and business leaders need to take into account the unique psychological and physical situation of their home workers when it comes to effective IT protection. They need to make their employees feel comfortable in their home offices, raise their awareness of IT security and also model positive behaviors,” argued Forcepoint principal research scientist, Margaret Cunningham.

“Knowing the rules, and then designing behavior-centric metrics surrounding the rules can help us mitigate the negative impact of these risky behaviors.”