IT losing security power struggle, study reports

Wednesday, May 5, 2010 @ 12:05 PM gHale

There is always a power play in manufacturing over who owns “the system” and IT departments are now beginning the feel the affects.
New research shows IT departments are facing a struggle to regain control of the way they enforce policy and practice within their organizations as increasingly digital-savvy employees are more willing to push back, according to research by LANDesk Software, a PC lifecycle management, endpoint protection and IT service management provider. [private]
In addition, the study found 61% of IT decision makers in the UK see the security threat of the staff’s use of social media is their biggest concern.
“Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have changed the way we communicate with one another,” said Andy Baldin, VP EMEA, LANDesk. “Today more end-users than ever are able to easily download software and manage the way they use IT. As a result, many employees see themselves as their ‘own IT Manager’, which has the potential to cause a number of problems for organizations. As applications evolve, end-users increasingly download new software add-ons, which can expose businesses to new security threats.”
Companies do have strict policies around the use of social media (73%) and Internet downloads (89%) in place, the study showed one in three were unsure that these were being adhered to.
Even with policies in place, 55% of employees surveyed admitted to downloading software from the Internet to a corporate computer. Almost half (48%) of those downloads were non-work related, leading to a quarter of employees needing to contact IT helpdesks to fix resulting problems.
On top of that, the study found 58% of staff admitted to posting company information on social media platforms, creating additional security challenges through the potential loss or leak of sensitive information.
“There’s no question that as social media continues to evolve, IT departments will find themselves fighting more fires, resulting in greater resourcing and financial pressures,” Baldin said. “Systems management and security software can help solve a number of these problems, but only when customers are using all the functions available, which all too often they’re not.” [/private]

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