Money, Happiness, & Breaches: Views from Spiceworks IT Professionals

December 13, 2016 | Javvad Malik
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It is well-known that information technology (IT) is a high-stress field, filled with overworked employees trying to do the work of multiple employees. The skills shortage continues to be a major concern within the IT security sector, and until this situation is resolved, IT security will likely retain its reputation as a field that demands a lot from its practitioners. But is the situation still this severe, and how does it affect the IT industry at large? 

To shed light on this issue, we decided to ask the Spiceworks community, both online and at Spiceworld 2016, to tell us about their working lives. The results make for interesting reading and show that, despite the challenges of working in a high-stress field, the majority of those in the IT industry tend to like their jobs and take the work that they do very seriously. The full report is available here. and some of the key findings are outlined below.

Speaking of Happiness

The skills shortage continues to be a problem felt by many in the field. One third of IT workers said that they are too stressed to take time off during the holiday season this year, and half of those who do will still spend that time worrying about work pressures.  Additionally, over half of those surveyed (53%) believe that their colleagues are overstretched and overworked, and 41% report having unfilled vacancies in their teams for a month or more.

For the Love of Money

So what motivates those who work in IT to continue working in such a high-pressure environment? Surprisingly, money does not seem to be much of a consideration for IT professionals. In fact, only 40% of respondents cited salary as the most important reason for them to stay in their jobs, despite the high-stress nature of the work. Other reasons given were loyalty to their colleagues (40.7%), loyalty to their bosses (44.2%), and even that they simply loved their jobs (68%).

Breached and Insecure

It’s clear from the survey that workplace security procedures can take a back seat when the going gets tough. Over a third of respondents (37%) have allowed colleagues to bypass security controls or IT processes for work purposes. Of those, 54% would turn a blind eye if the people involved were higher up than them in the organization, while the others (46%) would apply this to any employee, believing that sometimes you have to turn a blind eye to let people do their work properly.

Conclusions

Workplace stress affects many IT and IT security professionals and the burnout phenomenon is well-documented. The stress isn’t isolated to just the workplace either, as it ends up having an impact on many professionals’ personal lives as well, even during the holidays.

Breaches and policy violations remain a tricky minefield for IT pros to navigate. While a certain degree of flexibility is undoubtedly needed at times, in doing so, security professionals unwittingly take on additional responsibility in the process – a situation that can’t be helpful to a workforce that largely believes it is already overworked.

Download the full report here.

Javvad Malik

About the Author: Javvad Malik
The man, the myth, the blogger; Javvad Malik is a London-based IT Security professional. Better known as an active blogger, event speaker and industry commentator who is possibly best known as one of the industry’s most prolific video bloggers with his signature fresh and light-hearted perspective on security. Prior to joining AlienVault, Javvad was a senior analyst with 451 Research providing technology vendors, investors and end users with strategic advisory services, including competitive research and go-to-market positioning.
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