IT managers blame staff for security breaches

A survey of European IT managers has revealed that a quarter of them blame their employees’ web habits for their company’s security breaches.

IT managers blame staff for security breaches

The survey took in 750 IT managers and employees in Europe, and found that employees claim to spend an average of two hours a day on the internet, with around half an hour of that spent browsing non-work related sites.

Ever suspicious IT managers, however, believe the figure to be higher: around 48 minutes a day or four hours a week. Despite this belief, just under half of them admit they haven’t installed any web-filtering software, even though a third of their employees visit high-risk websites including peer-to-peer file sharing sites and free software download sites.

Internet usage policies are rare, with around 16% of IT managers saying that trust was sufficient in order to prevent web abuse, though nearly a third then went on to rate “employee behaviour” as the most frustrating obstacle when it came to maintaining security.

Employees were also shown to be a trusting lot, with 66% sure their company was protecting them against web threats.

Intriguingly nearly a fifth of those managers interviewed equated company size with the level of security needed, believing that smaller companies were exposed to lower levels of risk and therefore required a reduced level of security. 7% blamed their lower levels of security on small budgets and 27% thought their companies didn’t place web security high enough up the agenda.

“We urge all small to medium size businesses to make IT security a business-critical issue. Leaving their employees to make security decisions based on what they feel is right is not only putting company confidential data at risk, but also adding strain to the IT department,” said Mark Murtagh, technical director of Websense, the company that conducted the survey. “Internet use policies need to be automated to ensure that hidden dangers are found and protected against.”

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