Cyber security, the Myers-Briggs way

Heightened stress and personality-related blind spots are complicating cyber security challenges for companies, particularly in the hybrid working environment.

Increased cyber security risks amid COVID-19-related contingencies have been well documented this year, and now a new report from Myers-Briggs says that, because stress affects different personality types in different ways, each individual employee has their own specific blind spot when it comes to cyber security.

Conducted with the help of IT security company ESET, Cyberchology: The Human Element investigates the attitudes of 2,000 consumers and over 100 chief information security officers in the UK, examining the link between cyber security, personality, and stress in a virtual world.

When stress levels are heightened, staff may be more likely to panic and click on a malicious link or fail to report a security breach to the IT team, depending on their personality type. The paper therefore encourages businesses to implement a holistic cyber security strategy, devised by both HR and IT teams, that takes individual personalities into account.

John Hackston, head of thought leadership at The Myers-Briggs Company, commented: “Cyber security has long been thought of as the responsibility of IT departments alone, but in order to build a holistic cybersecurity strategy that accounts for the human factor, IT and HR departments must work together. Using psychometric testing and self-awareness tools, HR can help to identify the makeup of teams and pinpoint potential vulnerabilities. IT teams can use this insight to create comprehensive security protocols and a proactive cyber strategy to stay one step ahead of potential threats.”

Meanwhile, 75% of companies say that half of their business is being undertaken by employees who are now working remotely – but were not doing so before COVID-19, showing a highly dispersed current workforce. With CISOs reporting a 63% increase in cybercrime since the COVID-19 lockdown began, and remote working here to stay for many employees, businesses are more at risk than ever.

Jake Moore, cyber security specialist at ESET, stated: “Remote working has brought greater flexibility to the workforce, but has also dramatically altered business processes and systems. The combination of fractured IT systems, a lack of central security, the sudden shift to home working, and a global climate of stress and concern is a perfect breeding ground for a successful cyber attack. The fact that only a quarter of businesses have faith in their own remote working strategy is shocking and shows there is much work to be done to secure working from home.”

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