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Inflation: The Unseen Threat to the Cyberworkforce.

January 9, 2023

Inflation is eroding budgets and employee compensation in the cyberworkforce.

When it comes to the culprits of inflation, there are many places to point blame. Pandemic-induced supply chain shortages, followed by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and disrupted supplies of commodities from the region, certainly top the list. 


Gartner asked C-suite executives what they were focusing on in 2023; supply chain shortages and the war were at the top of their list. After that, it was people, purpose, prices, and productivity. This focus reflects a radical shift in priorities and a recognition that people make the business successful and secure. 


“The last time we saw this type of sharp change in business leaders’ top priorities was in 2009 through 2010, during the financial crisis,” says Mark Raskino, Distinguished VP Analyst at Gartner. “In 2022, the Gartner CEO and Senior Business Executive Survey showed that catalyzed by multiple macro trends and economic factors and business leaders are reprioritizing some key areas of enterprise purpose and management focus.” 


One of those areas is cybersecurity. When you consider human error is still one of the primary reasons for a data breach, any bad day can bring an organization to its knees. Verizon reports that 34% of cyberattacks were made directly or indirectly by employees. Attacks lead to costs. Those costs are passed on to customers. And inflation rises. So while human issues may be a less obvious victim of—and contributor to—inflation, CEOs recognize the threat everyday employees make to security and the bottom line. 


Emotional intelligence is a security issue. 


While the threat of inflation due to Ukraine exports, Russian sanctions, and the Ukraine war are genuine, a silent killer is lurking in the lunchrooms and boardrooms of today’s organizations: low emotional intelligence in the overall workforce and the cyberworkforce. 


Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to both recognize and manage our own emotions and to influence the feelings of others. Understanding others’ feelings is vital because, as human error and vulnerability increase, so does the likelihood of a successful cyberattack. 


We now work in digital spaces that are filled with vulnerabilities. Cyber hackers are getting more sophisticated daily, using emotional manipulation techniques to bait workers while facing high levels of chronic stress exacerbated by the pandemic. This level of pressure and manipulation impacts a person’s problem-solving and decision-making, often leading to mistakes, errors in judgment, and, quite possibly, a lapse in security. 


Tightening budgets are exacerbating issues. 


According to Gartner CIO Research Chief Janelle Hill, “Top executives want to see the money, whether that’s a top line or bottom line. Given the times with inflation and a potential recession, with all the problems in the world, we are saying your executives are running out of patience. It’s time now to show them the money.”


“I have never met a CIO who says, ‘I’ve got plenty of money, plenty of people, plenty of resources.’ They always feel they are short,” says Hill. She recommends that CIOs and IT leaders prioritize what to spend on and what to pause


As the belt tightens and labor costs rise, companies are asked to “do more without more.” The new mantra is “recruit, retrain, retrain, retain.” So many are turning to technologies like automation or augmentation to extend labor at lower costs. It comes down to driving growth despite the possibility of higher operational costs in the new year. 


Getting better information is critical to growth.  


In digital business, there’s optimization, and then there’s transformation. CIOs have tended to favor optimization. Daniel de Hass, CFO at iBASEt, believes, “If companies can figure out how to work smarter globally by maximizing the value of technology, it will lead to more effective operations and higher productivity per employee, which ultimately improves the bottom line.” 


“We consider everything from ERP export modules to relational databases like MySQL and power visualization software like Power BI to help us make better sense of data in a dynamic environment,” he adds.


When it comes to cybersecurity compliance automation tools like ConfigOS’ DashView, it brings all this data to a “single pane of glass” in an easy-to-use Splunk-based application. In this way, you’re simplifying an extraordinarily time-consuming and cumbersome process for your cyberworkforce and gaining visibility into your company’s infrastructure security and compliance posture by continuously evaluating and monitoring failed security controls. 


A tool like DashView adds visibility, insights, and actionable intelligence to your hardening process. And the automation process reduces the possibility of human error, that’s behind most data breaches. 


Raising prices is one of many ways to combat cyberworkforce shortages. 


When payroll costs go up, businesses increase prices as much as possible to maintain their profit margins and stay in business. But, as you’ve seen, you can manage cyberworkforce issues with automation and scale using your existing workforce. 


Moreover, employees need to be relieved from the “do more for less” ethic of the past couple of decades. The more pressure on employees, the more they can fall prey to phishing and hacking attacks. Everything from budget issues to actionable intelligence can impact workforce costs and the costs of your product or service. 


SteelCloud can help you take immediate action to help fix the worker shortage and curb inflation. Automate your cybersecurity compliance with ConfigOS and monitor your progress with DashView to gain error-free work, simplified tasks, and actionable intelligence that can improve your security status and bottom line. 

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