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Study: IT Security Isn't as Good as It Thinks

Many IT and security groups overlook key vulnerabilities, CDW study says

When it comes to security, maybe the end user isn't always the problem.

That's the conclusion of a study published today by technology reseller giant CDW Corp. The study notes some paradoxes between IT professionals' views on their organizations' security and their actual security status.

For example, when asked if their security systems were easy to use and whether they provided adequate training for their users, the overwhelming majority (77 percent) of IT people said yes. But when they were asked to rate users' understanding of security policy or their propensity to follow those policies, fewer than 25 percent of IT pros gave their users an "A" grade.

"How many 'C' students does it take to crash a network?" the report asks.

Similarly, when asked the greatest threat to their organizations, many IT pros said that users engaging in risky behavior was the gravest concern. Almost half of IT respondents said users are making inappropriate use of the Internet on the company network; 46 percent said users are installing and using unauthorized software.

Yet despite these fears about inappropriate use of the Internet and of unauthorized software, only 56 percent of respondents said they have installed content-filtering tools, and only 40 percent said they have deployed tools to audit employees' use of software, CDW says.

And despite concerns about mobile security risks, 68 percent of companies said they don't have a distinct security policy for remote workers or mobile devices, and 75 percent say their companies don't employ any form of disk encryption.

IT departments need to do more to "user-proof" their employees' systems if they want to ensure policy compliance, CDW said. In general, companies that have deployed user-proofing tools -- such as content filtering, network monitoring, and email gateway security -- give their users higher grades in compliance and understanding of security policies, the study says.

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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