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Careless employees are the greatest challenge

by Brian Sims

IT networks suffer from various threats, including malware, hacking and other external risks, however, 60 per cent of IT professionals view employee carelessness as the biggest risk to an organisation’s security, according to a report from SecureData. The findings are based on responses from 110 IT professionals, half of whom are in major organisations with over 5,000 employees. While 40 per cent of respondents viewed Operations teams as the greatest risk to security, Finance teams were also seen as a significant worry (13 per cent). Interestingly, at a time when cloud security is being hotly debated, no one cited this as a primary security concern. While IT professionals have been quick to spot the risks posed by non-security conscious employees, agreement on how to tackle the challenge is less certain. 40 per cent of respondents felt that educating employees was the most important step to improving security, but 25 per cent added that implementing a clear security management policy was their weakest area. Meanwhile, almost half (44 per cent) of those questioned said that the ultimate responsibility for security decision-making is left in the hands of more junior IT managers, rather than C-level staff (44 per cent) or department heads (12 per cent). Commenting on the findings, SecureData’s CEO Etienne Greeff says,” There’s a huge opportunity here for organisations to tighten security simply by better educating their staff. Don’t leap to technical answers and complex solutions. This is not about budget-busting new technologies, but going back to basics: plan and deliver a simple, straightforward security policy that employees can easily follow.” 50 per cent of respondents see a holistic approach to security as crucial to meeting the security challenge, with 36% stating that detecting threats quickly is the weakest area of their current approach. Greeff concludes:” It’s encouraging to see so many recognising the importance of a holistic approach to security. Assessing risk, detecting threats earlier, protecting valuable assets and responding quickly when there is a breach will help restore trust in colleagues across an organisation. But this leadership must come from the top, with the C-level stepping up to tackle the security knowledge gap in their organisations.”

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