Mental Health In The Infosec Field

Shedding light on high burnout rate and other mental health issues we consistently face

The news of Simone Biles, possibly the greatest gymnast in the world, pulling out of Olympic competition due to mental health reasons shocked the world. I cannot commend her enough for shedding light on such an important topic. The brain and body are more connected than we think, and more needs to be done in society and the medical field to reconcile it1.

As security professionals, there is a lot of stress that we must endure as part of our day-day jobs trying to protect the company’s information from bad actors and good actors alike.

Here are some examples:

  • P0 Security Incidents, especially longer running ones or any that requiring public notification / spotlight

  • Security vulnerabilities outside of your control to remediate

  • Dealing with the baggage of previous security cultures

  • Delicately convincing others their baby is ugly and that something needs to be done about

  • Constant uphill battles throughout tenure

  • Being second guessed for every decision

  • Educating and communicating clearly on risks or security of a situation

  • Accepting the business’s decision to not remediate an item

At the end of the day, burnout from issues like the above are rooted in one or more of the following:

  • The culture of the company

  • Org structure - A bad org structure is a recipe for disaster2

  • Human relationships and their/your capacity for empathy, emotional intelligence, and tolerance/respect

Any of these factors may be largely influential in your burnout or survival of a situation.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been lucky to work with excellent clients and companies. However, I have many friends that are in situations that seem almost impossible to overcome, no matter how saintly they are.

Mental Health In Cybersecurity Resources

I want to leave you with a list of resources that expand more on this topic. Mental Health, along with Neuroscience and Cognitive Psychology, are topics near and dear to my heart. I would love to expand on this more in the future.

Click to tweet this!

Hope you are mentally well.

Take care.

Ayman

1

Currently reading this book which is great on this topic: https://www.amazon.com/How-Emotions-Are-Made-Secret-ebook/dp/B00QPHURT6

2

I’ve seen CIO’s and CISO’s be the same person! Complete conflict of interest!