IBM Study: Cybersecurity Incident Responders Have Strong Sense of Service

It’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and IBM Security announced global survey results that look at the critical role of cybersecurity incident responders as physical and digital worlds are converging. The study says that the frontline responders to cyberattacks are primarily driven by a strong sense of duty to protect others, a responsibility increasingly challenged by the surge of disruptive attacks.

In 2021 cyberattacks against energy companies quadrupled from the prior year. Manufacturers saw more ransomware attacks than any other industry, and incident responders are faced with more pressure to defend the digital front line. 81% of respondents stated that the rise of ransomware has exacerbated the psychological demands associated with cybersecurity incidents.

1,100 cybersecurity incident responders in 10 markets took part in the survey conducted by Morning Consult and sponsored by IBM Security. Key highlights include:

  • A Sense of Service – Over a third of incident responders were attracted to the field by a sense of duty to protect and the opportunity to help others and businesses
  • Fighting Multiple Battlefronts –68% of incident responders surveyed stated it’s common to be assigned to respond to two or more overlapping incidents simultaneously
  • Impact on Daily Life –67% are experiencing stress or anxiety in their daily lives. Insomnia, burnout, and impact on social life or relationships followed as effects respondents cited.

Check Point Software Technologies research indicates a 50% increase in overall network attacks per week in 2021 compared to 2020. However, there’s a finite number of security professionals specifically trained and skilled to respond to cybersecurity incidents.

Most respondents feel their leadership has a strong understanding of the activities IR involves. At the same time, 95% say it provides the necessary support structure for them to be successful, and 84% state they have adequate access to mental health support resources, with many respondents (64%) seeking out mental health assistance due to the demanding nature of responding to cyberattacks.

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