Human error is one of the largest threats to the cybersecurity of an organization. As remote work continues due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadian workers are reporting burnout, which can lead to more cybersecurity errors. According to Microsoft’s recent World Trend Index, Canadians are “trending more toward burnout” during the workday, with 47 per cent feeling exhausted versus 39 per cent globally, and 51 per cent feeling stressed versus 42 per cent globally.

Here’s how remote working burnout can impact an organization’s cybersecurity:

When organizations first transitioned to remote work at the start of the pandemic, security and IT teams tended to focus on protecting hastily installed remote work support systems. However, a year later, as systems become more secure, the risk for human error is more of a threat than ever.

Increase in Stress and Distractions:

In its Psychology of Human Error report, security firm Tessian found that stress, distraction and workplace disruption led to people making mistakes at work. In fact, 43 per cent of employees reported that they had made mistakes resulting in cybersecurity repercussions for themselves or their company while stressed or distracted.

Increase in Scams:

According to a recent report by non-profit Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG), there has been an increase in online phishing attacks targeting webmail and other cloud-based services since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cybersecurity experts have warned that remote workers are particularly vulnerable to phishing scams.

Increase in Demands:

When remote workers are distracted, stressed or suffering from burnout, the cost can be detrimental to organizations. The average ransom demand in Canada has increased by 33 per cent since late 2019, to a current average of $111,605. As online fraud and attempts to steal personal, financial and corporate information continue, it’s more important that ever for organizations to increase cybersecurity awareness and address employee burnout.