IBM Security: Incident Responders Driven by Sense of Duty

A new survey of more than 1,100 cybersecurity incident responders by IBM Security reveals an interest motivation driver behind why they do their jobs: a sense of duty.

The “IBM Security Incident Responder Study” saw more than 75 percent of respondents saying that a sense of duty to help and protect other people and businesses “was by far the most influential factor attracting them to the profession,” beating out “continuous opportunity to learn” and “being rooted in problem solving” as the most influential factor of doing the work.

But this sense of duty among cybersecurity incident responders comes with a price: a majority of respondents said they’ve sought out mental health assistance due to their experiences responding to cyberattacks and listed “sense of responsibility toward their team/client” and “managing stakeholder expectations” as the most stressful aspects of responding to incidents.

Ransomware especially has exacerbated the psychological demands of incident responders, with more than 80 percent listing this form of attack as the most stressful.

“As cyberattacks threaten essential services to our daily needs, incident responders in these industries are faced with more pressure to defend the digital front line,” the report read. “In fact, 81 percent of respondents stated that the rise of ransomware has exacerbated the psychological demands associated to cybersecurity incidents.”

The report found that, amid a growing number of cyberattacks of late, 68 percent of incident responders said it’s common to be assigned to respond to two or more overlapping incidents simultaneously, and the high demands of cybersecurity engagements have impacted incident responders’ personal lives, with more than two-thirds saying they experience stress or anxiety in their daily lives, resulting in insomnia, burnout and negative impacts on their social life or relationships.

“The real-world repercussions that cyberattacks now have are causing public safety concerns and market-stressing risks to grow,” said Laurance Dine, global lead for IBM Security X-Force Incident Response. “Incident responders are the frontline defenders standing between cyber adversaries causing disruption and the integrity and continuity of critical services. IBM salutes all [incident response] teams across the cybersecurity community, and the essential role they play in defending the digital front line.”

IBM’s X-Force reported a nearly 25 percent rise in cybersecurity incidents its incident response team engaged in between 2020 and 2021.

To access the full report, click here .