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Tightening up Security is Everyone’s Responsibility

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Most information technology (IT) experts are very much unnerved by cyber criminals, says the biggest study involving surveys of IT professionals in mid-sized businesses.

  • 87% send data to cloud accounts or personal e-mail.
  • 58% have sent data to the wrong individual.
  • Over 50% have confessed to taking company data with them upon leaving a post.
  • 60% rated their company a “C” or worse for preparation to fight a cyber threat.

Here is an executive summary and a full report of the survey’s results.

A second study as well revealed high anxiety among mid-size business IT professionals.

  • Over 50% of those surveyed expressed serious concern over employees bringing malware into an organization: 56% for personal webmail and 58% for web browsing.
  • 74% noted that their organization’s networks had been infiltrated by malware that was brought in by web surfing; and 64 percent via e-mail—all in the past 12 months.

The above study is supported by this study.

  • 60% of respondents believed that the greatest risk was employee carelessness.
  • 44% cited low priority given to security issues in the form of junior IT managers being given responsibility for security decisions.

The first (biggest) study above showed that about 50% of C-level management actually admitted that it was their responsibility to take the helm of improving security.

And about half of lower level employees believed that IT security staff should take the responsibility—and that they themselves, along with higher management, should be exempt.

The survey size in these studies was rather small. How a question is worded can also influence the appearance of findings. Nevertheless, a common thread seems to have surfaced: universal concern, and universal passing the buck. It’s kind of like littering the workplace but then thinking, “Oh, no problem, the custodian will mop it up.”

  • People are failing to appreciate the risk of leaving personal data on work systems.
  • They aren’t getting the memo that bringing sensitive data home to personal devices is risky.
  • Web browsing, social sharing and e-mail activities aren’t being done judiciously enough—giving rise to phishing-based invasions.

IT professionals are only as good as their weakest link: the rest of the employees who refuse to play a role in company security will bring down the ship.

Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to AllClearID. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video. Disclosures.

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