Employees revealed as greatest challenge to IT security

A  survey by SecureData has revealed that 40% of IT professionals view operations teams as the biggest risk to security, above malware and external threats

 

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60% of IT professionals view employee carelessness as the biggest risk to an organisation’s security

Security service provider SecureData today revealed that 60% of IT professionals view employee carelessness as the biggest risk to an organisation’s security, well above the usual suspects like data theft (13%), external malware (10%) or technology failure (7%).

The findings are based on responses from 110 IT professionals, half of whom are in major organisations with over 5,000 employees. While 40% of respondents viewed Operations teams as the greatest risk to security, Finance teams were also seen as a significant worry (13%). Interestingly, at a time when cloud security is being hotly debated, no one cited this as a primary security concern.

> See also: UK organisations have the highest mobile scurity fears in the world

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% of respondents felt that educating employees was the most important step to improving security, but 25% added that implementing a clear security management policy was their weakest area.

Meanwhile, almost half (44%) 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%) or department heads (12%).

'There’s a huge opportunity here for organisations to tighten security simply by better educating their staff,' Commented SecureData’s CEO Etienne Greeff. '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.'

> See also: Sky employee leaked customer data

50% 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.'