2 Of 3 Employees Routinely Violate Usage Policies - InformationWeek

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Mobile // Mobile Applications
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10/25/2010
12:41 PM
Keith Ferrell
Keith Ferrell
Commentary
50%
50%

2 Of 3 Employees Routinely Violate Usage Policies

Whatever your employees need to be doing on the Web via your network, a fair percentage are doing -- or trying to do -- a lot more, according to Symantec/MessageLabs findings.

Whatever your employees need to be doing on the Web via your network, a fair percentage are doing -- or trying to do -- a lot more, according to Symantec/MessageLabs findings.Got employee Web usage and browsing policies in place? How's that working for you?

According to some Symantec/MessageLabs findings about employee browsing habits, probably not all that well.

One-third of employees, the company reported, have 10% of their browser requests blocked, while another third have far more than 10% blocked.

But that still leaves two-thirds who are trying to violate policy on a fairly regular -- and for some of them constant -- basis.

In fact, Symantec reports that 14% of employees have between 90-100% of all browser requests blocked! (Gotta wonder about those 100% blocked users -- what are they doing either a) still working for the company or b) being allowed access to a computer at all?)

One of the scariest -- and, upon reflection, least surprising -- findings was that the employees with the highest per centage of blocked requests also had the highest per centage of blocked requests that were aimed at getting them to "sites relating to 'Proxies & Translators'. This strongly suggests activity to circumvent company policy to gain access to sites."

That "strongly suggests" is an admirably subtle way of saying: "Ya THINK?"

However leniently or aggressively you handle your usage and browsing policies and the tools that support them, a deliberate attempt to bypass those policies should be viewed as a deliberate attack on your company's security, as well a policy violation, with appropriate consequences.

The good news is that a third of employees have no blocked requests on their records -- an indication that both usage polices and tools, and employee understanding of them are working... working about a third of the time, that is.

Of course, these figures apply only to companies that actually have policies and enforcement/detection tools in place. Many SMBs have neither, and can figure that risky browsing is a fact of life... except for Proxies and Translators, which they don't need because their employers are already letting them go anywhere and do anything they want, with few consequences for anything other than the company's security and, ultimately, the company itself.

The complete Symantec/MessageLabs Intelligence Report for this past September is here.

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