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Employees: Security Policies Are Unrealistic

Many say they must break rules to get their jobs done
Current IT security policies frequently don't reflect the reality of how employees use their computers, according to a report published today by Cisco Systems.

The report, a deeper analysis of internal threat data collected by Cisco earlier this year, indicates that many users break their companies' security policies because following those policies would prevent them from doing their jobs.

"What this says is that security policymakers need to rethink the way they are developing those policies," says Marie Hattar, vice president of network systems and security solutions at Cisco. "IT people think that users aren't following them because they are apathetic or don't understand the risks. But the users are telling us that the policies aren't realistic."

Across the globe, about 80 percent of respondents said they think IT security policies are unfair. Forty-two percent said they don't comply with policies because those policies don't align with the reality of what they need to do their jobs. More than three-fourths of IT pros said they believe their policies need more frequent updates; the majority of employees agreed.

"Employees' disregard of corporate IT policies will increase as long as the policy is too rigid or impractical to allow them to get their jobs done," Hattar says.

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