New normal. Our new reality. These are the various ways that we describe everyday life in the time of a global pandemic. It means a lot of change, in a lot of ways, for a lot of people. While parenting is definitely more challenging when it comes to managing to homeschool and work from home at the same time, spending so much time on the computer can lead to cyber burnout. Helping the children with schoolwork, jumping on the fifth zoom call of the day, and then trying to stay connected with friends and family on the computer can just be too much. As an IT Managed service provider helping small businesses in the Boston area, we have a big mission to help everyone get their technology to work, and at times we're also feeling a bit stretched thin.
This is a time that we're all depending on technology to "just work". At Ekaru, our jobs already had plenty of “I need help RIGHT NOW” moments that require us to solve problems fast. Careers were depending on emails getting out, networks being up, and employees knowing how to use software and hardware effectively and safely. An ongoing cybersecurity program? It is a priority, but not often one that was at the top of the list – until a breach occurred. Then we're jumping and fixing and panicking right alongside our client. And how did the breach occur? Most likely through human error. The FBI is reporting that cyber threats are up 400% during the pandemic. The bad actors are counting on people being distracted and stressed.
Stressful? Yes, we’d say so.
Take that, throw in the complete overhaul of how the global workforce now does their job, mix it up with a global healthcare crisis, and you have a stress smoothie that anyone would have a hard time digesting. "Work from home" to most people means that they are now setting up a space to work effectively or designating an area for the kids to go to school. To the IT employee, it means at least a dozen other things to consider that go alongside which way to face your new desk or place the art station. Securing networks, passwords, supporting remote locations, and ensuring that not only are people working securely, but they are also working within the parameters that you’re able to support if something should go wrong. Stopping rogue downloads of software that they “think might help them do their job in this new scenario” are like trying to contain a balloon that a child has let go of. A small office with eight employees now means eight remote locations.
All of this has led to a cyber fatigue that can lead to all workers experiencing exhaustion and stress.
Avoiding Cyber Burnout
Emergencies are inevitable but assessing your technology ahead of a crisis is going to offset some of those unexpected failures. Take time to tend to your own business so that you can better serve your clients. Ensure that employees are taking time off. Giving your team acknowledgment of their efforts and accomplishments will always go a long way, even if you can’t afford large financial incentives, feeling valued is… well, invaluable. We continue to have ongoing conversations around cybersecurity status so that you can plan ahead, make changes, and provide a response in non-emergency times rather than in just times of crisis. A ransomware attack is the LAST thing anyone can really deal with right now.
The human factor in preventing breaches extends beyond the user, and in this case, is directed at taking care of the humans who support the effort as well. Take a break, get outside and away from your screen, and re-charge. Adapting to the day to day stresses, and staying focused on long term strategic goals is possible with a bit of balance.