An international poll of employees has revealed most office workers claim to understand their companies’ security policies while at the same time breaching security because of ignorance, negligence or disregard. The survey also identifies “IT free-styling,” that is, “casual disregard” for the boundary between personal and private use of hardware and internet usage.
The poll, the Clearswift Security Awareness Survey, was conducted in the US, Australia, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK and reveals an ambivalence among workers towards company security. On the one hand, 71 percent of employees reported that their company had a clear Internet policy understood by most employees and most claimed to understand their company’s email and social media restrictions. On the other, there was confusion and resentment around the policies and while respondents reported personal understanding, they were less confident about their colleagues.
Security breaches were attributed to people trying to get their jobs done more efficiently (20%) and to frustration with unrealistic policies (11%). And while only 6 percent of breaches were attributed to malicious intent, the figures nevertheless show that nearly a third of breaches are by workers who knowingly disregard company security.
The “IT free-styling” approach of some workers is manifested in a slapdash blurring of work-personal life boundary. Forty-four percent of respondents admitted to storing work data on personal memory devices. Conversely, 39 percent download software to their work computers and a quarter comment about their jobs on personal social networks.