Users Still Giving IT Nightmares

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Network administrators are becoming more comfortable with the level ofsecurity at their businesses, but they're still worried about the havocusers bring down on their systems.

Forty percent of network administrators say their biggest concern is thattheir users 'fail to adhere to company security policies', according to anew survey by Amplitude Research, based in Bingham Farms, Mich., andcommissioned by VanDyke Software Inc., an Internet communicationssoftware company based in Albuquerque, N.M.

Even though many network administrators and managers distrust users,only 50 percent say they are comfortable with monitoring employee usageof the Internet. The survey also shows that rules-based software, serverlog analytics, and dedicated monitoring applications are the most widelyused solutions, with few respondents saying they use keystroke loggers.

Behind their worries over user actions, administrators ranked their topconcerns as a security breach to their network, the lack of a recoveryplan, and viruses and worms.

''The human element continues to be a primary cause for concern tonetwork administrators,'' says Jeff P. VanDyke, president of VanDykeSoftware. ''We hear about individuals who have been burned by phishingscams, an employee who leaves his or her laptop at an airport, oron-the-go professionals who log on to the Internet via aless-than-secure-but-available wireless network.

''What this year's survey responses indicate are that networkadministrators and managers feel they're comfortable with theirperformance in managing technology and solutions to protect theirnetworks and data. It also appears that they generally have neither themandate from top management nor sufficient budgets to train employees inproper security awareness and practices.''

Despite their concerns about users, worms and break-ins, when asked whatkeeps them up at night, 43 percent of network administrators surveyed saythey sleep like a baby.

Survey respondents generally expressed satisfaction with the currentsecurity at their organization in areas like desktop PCs, remote access,and physical security. Data centers/server farms, however, scored thehighest level of satisfaction with more than 70 percent of administratorssaying they are content with its security.

In addressing their organization's information security issues, 88percent of network administrators say they use internal staff andresources; 10 percent say they employ a security consultant to advise andassist internal staff, and 2 percent say they outsource to a managedservice provider or consulting firm.

The study surveyed 335 network/systems administrators and networkingmanagers.

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