The latest Kaspersky report, “Taking care of corporate security and employee privacy: why cyber-protection is vital for both businesses and their staff,” highlights the ‘human side’ of cybersecurity incidents by examining the discomfort and losses employees face following corporate breaches. According to the report, 30 percent of employees who are involved in the aftermath of an incident missed an important personal event, had to work over night (32 percent) or suffered additional stressors (33 percent). A quarter of respondents even had to cancel vacations (27 percent).
Work-related stress encroaches on personnel work-life balance, efficiency and motivation, with 76 percent of employees feeling it impacts personal relationships, and 16 percent reporting they even quit their current job because of it. Stress levels must be considered, especially now when so many employees are working from home and struggling to maintain a productive working routine, says the study. For businesses, stress can create an overall decrease in employee efficiency, affecting business performance and ultimately leading to direct financial losses.
The chart below reveals the personal consequences that IT and IT security managers face following a data breach. Stress is again the most likely ramification: a third (33 percent) of administrators fell into much more stress than they would usually, regardless of the size and IT maturity of the company.
If a data breach occurs, IT and IT security teams have to investigate the incident, make the necessary updates, fix the system and take measures to prevent an attack being repeated, notes Kaspersky. As a result, a third of managers worked over night or had to incur overtime at work (33 percent for SMBs and 32 percent for enterprises). This can also result in other tasks and deadlines being pushed back in more than a quarter of both SMBs (27 percent) and enterprises (26 percent).
“When talking about corporate cybersecurity incidents, we often focus on the effect it has on business like financial loss, customer trust and other corporate consequences, but there is another aspect to consider such as how employees deal with such cases,” comments Alena Reva, vice president of human resources Americas at Kaspersky. “It’s needless to say that additional stress at work or a disrupted work-life balance affects employee’s productivity and, even more critically, their mental and physical health. This shouldn’t be underestimated as these factors can affect business if staff members share their negative feelings outside the organization, impairing its reputation and brand as an employer. This can be especially critical for businesses that recently experienced data breach as its wider reputation is already under attack.”
According to Kaspersky, the following steps can help organizations keep the impact of a breach on staff to a minimum:
- In the time of crisis, be transparent with your people. Keep employees informed on what’s going on, what it means to the business and to them and make sure they know who to contact about any issues. It is especially important for when employees are working remotely for a sustained period when staff are often isolated from each other. If a data breach affected employees’ personal data, make sure they acknowledge it from you and not from the media or newspapers.
- In ‘peace time,’ it is best to prepare a list of steps for an IT department in case of an incident: who to inform first, who is responsible for what and what steps should be made. This helps employees feel prepared and can relieve potential panic and stress.
- If a breach occurs, focus on properly investigating the causes and consequences instead of just searching for any guilty staff.
- Any crisis can be seen as a time of opportunity. Explain to employees that their help in this situation is crucial and they can prove themselves and their actions will be positively noted.
- Create a corporate culture where all employees understand the importance of cybersecurity. Teach them how cybersecurity incidents can occur and what the consequences are. Explain to employees how following simple rules can help a company avoid cybersecurity incidents via training courses, such as the ones provided in the Kaspersky Automated Security Awareness Platform.
- Breaches can draw media attention, which results in unwanted public exposure. Kaspersky Incident Communications training helps to upskill corporate communications teams to operate optimally during a cyberattack.
For more information, please visit the official Kaspersky report.