Federal Report: Security Hurts Productivity

Thursday, October 14, 2010 @ 09:10 AM gHale

Everybody agrees cyber security is essential for the workplace, but despite that understanding, federal officials find those measures get in the way of doing their jobs, according to a survey.
Federal executives said cyber security measures had an impact on “information access, computing functionality and mobility” and reduced their productivity, according to the “Cybersecurity in the Federal Government” survey just released.
“Surveyed federal executives believe that cyber security policies and procedures should be modified to provide more emphasis on the importance of allowing federal managers to achieve their agency’s mission,” said Bryan Klopack, GBC’s director of research.
Sixty-two percent of the respondents said security restrictions prevented them from getting information from certain Websites or using applications related to their jobs. Blocked sites included video sites, messaging services and news sites, according to the survey. Slow computer performance and the inability to access information remotely were other obstacles cited.
Agency officials said they sometimes resort to “less secure practices,” such as using a non-agency device, in order to get access to the information they need. Over half said they accessed information from home instead of from the office to get around the security controls.
Reassuringly, none of them admitted to using someone else’s log-in credentials.
More than 66 percent of the respondents complained about security scanning tools and other security measures reducing computer performance. They also report security scanning tools on the network can slow Websites loading, delay e-mail delivery and increase file download times. An official called this a “huge waste of productive time” on the survey.
Existing security restrictions slowed down their response times, the officials said; more than a third blamed the security rules for delaying projects and communications within and outside the agency.
Despite the 2010 Telework Enhancement Act which promotes working remotely, almost half the surveyed officials felt the security measures actually limited them to staying within the agency building in order to have access to certain resources and applications. This is despite the fact quite a few of them have an agency-provided laptop and smartphone.
Officials felt security was stronger inside the building than outside the office. Even so, a majority of them said they work remotely regularly, whether from home or out on the road while traveling.

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