Security News

Survey Reveals 88% CISO’s are Under Stress & the Toll it Takes

A new report on the working life of the CISO examines the impact of continued stress on the mental health and personal lives of CISOs. This brings down to underlying causes of stress  which includes the responsibility for fighting increasingly sophisticated threats and communicating their business case effectively to the board, has put them under strain.

The report finds that this stress is directly affecting work life balance and a lack of support from the board.

88% of CISOs consider themselves to be under moderate or high stress, only slightly down from 91% last year. This 3% decrease can hardly be considered an improvement as per The CISO Stress Report: Life Inside the Perimeter, One Year On from Nominet the UK based cyber security company.

Nominet gathered 800 online survey forms with C-Suite executives and Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) in the US and UK. Respondents all worked at organizations with 3,000 or more employees, across a range of public and private sectors.

Key findings:

  •  31% reported that their stress had impacted their physical health.
  • The number of CISOs turning to medication or alcohol has increased by a quarter year on year, from 17% in 2019 to 23% in 2020.This results in a high rate of burnout, with the survey reporting that the average tenure of a CISO is just 26 months.


Dr Dimitrios Tsivrikos, Lecturer in Consumer and Business Psychology, University College London says

“Given the unstable political, social and technological challenges that we are facing in the new decade, it is unsurprising to see that individuals working in this sector (CISOs) are incredibly stressed. This is very much in line with key psychological findings concerning people working in the security and technology sector and, most likely, we anticipate that these individuals will be reporting some of the highest levels of stress within the industry.

“Indeed, work-life balance is one of the key components that may contribute to work stress, and a closer look into lifestyle choices, and realizing that people in this industry can provide a great insight will help us to understand how we can support such individuals.



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