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Employees don't care if the business fails

By Jay Garmon Contributor ·
TechRepublic own blogger extraordinaire HutchTech fired off this missive recently, which got me wondering whether everyone agrees that employees willfully ignore security precautions at work because they don't fear consequences.

"I recently came across this Trend Micro report in a SANS newsletter which claims that employees take more risk on the net at work because they believe their IT department will protect them. While this might be what they said in the survey, the real answer is far more sinister: employees don't care if the business fails.

"Let's face it, if you knew you wouldn't have been caught pulling the fire alarm at school so that you could postpone that math test would you have done it? The same moral dilemma faces those who use their PCs at work. Employees (particularly in larger corporations) don't see the real harm of network downtime--it's just a paid break. And if they don't see people getting fired for abuse (I'm not talking about porn here, but shopping, blogging, gambling, etc., etc.) what risk do they really take in abusing their Internet access? Besides, if you do happen to infect the network with the latest worm you're just a poor, little end-user and you're really, really sorry. And how many IT departments are actually going to track the thing down once the fire's been put out? Not many--the standard e-mail reminder to be more careful will have to suffice (oh, and remember to attach a copy of the corporate e-mail/Internet policy).

"While I am not excited about Apple, Microsoft, et al taking a stronger oversight role when it comes to workstation and network security, businesses (particularly smaller ones) really do need help against their own worst enemy--themselves. Remember: Ignorance, my friends, is not innocence."

- Hutch
http://techrepublic.com.com/5254-6257-0.html?forumID=99&threadID=176583&messageID=1850845&id=2899447

I'm curious as to who agrees with the esteemed Hutch, and if anyone has ever handed out (or received) serious punishment for security violations at work.

This conversation is currently closed to new comments.

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I agree to a point...

by alan.duncan In reply to what a bunch of crap

Fair enough the majority of end users don't realise the risks of malware, but what about those people known to the IT department that do know (i.e. management, bright employees etc.)?

If they get a worm or cookie on their system and it causes a system-wide failiure, would they get jumped on any harder than the not-so-in-the-know employee?

I'll agree that the IT department should take more stringent precautions with setting up user permissions, but they should do it in a responsible manner (unlike the company i work for that try to block you opening Windows Defragmentor).

If they actually worked with the employees i.e. made them feel like the company valued their opinions, then i think that this problem would eventually settle down to a negligible problem.

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alan

by Ou Jipi je In reply to I agree to a point...

For example, your Windows defragmentor might be disabled because administrators defragment all the drives remotely every weekend.

Or it could be simply disabled because systems administrators are responsible for data/ uptime of your machine.

Meaning, If your important work is "lost" due to misterious ways of Micro$oft Windows defragmenter, I suppose you would coplaint to your system administrators or manager right?

I give you that there are borders to restrictions. Understanding why restrictions take place however allows you to accept them much easier.

I don't think avyone is _set_ to monitor what _you do_ the whole day, no one wants to _restrict you_ from doing something you are not suppose to be doing, what you do is your call.

Supporting however environment like that might show costly. If there are 500 tickets a month because user is browsing a site and downloads a worm, something needs to be done. You can either fire 500 users, or restrict them from going to the restricted site. Your pick.

It is about reducing costs associated with IT services and not about you. Get over it.

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Usability vs Security

by Court IT In reply to Employees don't care if t ...

the basic part of this problem is that both end users and their IT "support" (remember, we're supposed to support them in what they're doing)forget that network/computer/lan security is a two-way street between usability and security. Want your PC (or network) to be totally secure? Turn it off. That's the only way. If it's on, and connected to another resource, it's at risk. If you're doing anything with the system, it's at risk. Users aren't paid to make that equation any riskier than it needs to be. The IT staff is paid to keep the users from blowing up the system, and then put it back together when they do. IT departments are paid to run the Red Queen's Race. Imagine for a moment a world where there was no spam, no viruses, no malware. Where applications never locked up, users never deleted the public folders "by mistake", where the CEO's nephew never came to vist and downloaded the lastest game that takes over file server. Then imagine why they'd pay IT departments if there was nothing to do but install the occaisional upgrade. You'd have one guy sitting in a cramped cubicle somewhere doing the network along with the departmental newsletter if everything ran perfectly. End users shouldn't go out of their way, intentionaly or not, to put the network at risk. But let's face it, most of our jobs are predicated upon the fact that something's going to go wrong, and at the most inopportune time. Every IT person works for Murphy, whether they like it or not.

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When you really look @ it !

by j.g.camp In reply to Employees don't care if t ...

The payscale that many get is 1/2 of what you need to have a real life anyway. Employers are lucky if you show up for 20 of the 40 hours you are hired for. In this world we see gas prices, food, homes and virtually everything else priced for a profit margin, yet labor is managed poverty in comparison. A starter home is $ 300K these days where I live, the mortgages alone on that is up to $ 2,000 a month, depending upon the downpay. Well $ 40K a year is roughly $ 2,000 a month take home. So there is your incentive for you, there is no profit incentive to work for these companies. You get what you pay for. Labor isn't stupid ! You can rest assured, if I'm going to be disappointed in life, I'm not going to be the only one that's going to be disappointed when all is said and done. It's a matter of putting an attainable carrot out there. Don't blame employees for not getting to excited about earning 1/2 of what they need to self actualize in their lifetimes, while being expected to give the best 5 days of their lives. Being left 1/2 way where you need to be only means you need to find some other way to get 1/2 way to where you need to be. The message is, lower expectations doesn't only apply to labor, it's an across the board thing.

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Poor attitude

by droll In reply to When you really look @ it ...

You are your own worst problem.

I will guarantee you that you will never succeed with that attitude. It obviously permeates your persona and I'm sure that others around you know how you feel.

We would all like to make more money, but that just isn't the way life works. Sitting and moaning about it and blaming ?The Man? or any one beside yourself is self-defeating. You must earn your keep within the prevailing wage/labor structure. If you attack you job with gusto, and are successful in your efforts, you will be rewarded. It may be a promotion, a raise, or even a pat on the back. If you are stuck in an environment you don?t like, do your best to get out. Sadly, with your attitude, you won?t be getting many offers, so waddle in your misery and leave the rest of us alone.

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OH Really

by Techie31 In reply to Poor attitude

I readthe replies here and am surprised at what read. Some come across with tude that the company put all these nice toys here for us to play with. Others come across with they deserve what ever happens to them. i have always thought that it is m job to keep a network up and running. A network has two parts stupid machines that ony do what we tell them. while we can fix the machines the human factor is the most likly to create the problem. all i can is suck it princess or get a job where you sit in a room and play solitare

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by j.g.camp In reply to Poor attitude

Hey a candid reply was solicited, I gave it.

"We would all like to make more money, but that just isn't the way life works."

Unacceptable, by today's standards and what you indicate my attitude should be, anyone accepting this from an employer is lowering their expectations. I wonder if my landlord would live with that from me, even the power and cable company. They don't want to hear excuses from us, well, we don't want to hear this garbage from them. Like I said, they want my 5 best days, evenings and weekends, $ 40K ain't gonna cut it ! and no amount of flag waving, star spangled banner playing in the background is going to motivate me, especially when the price of a home, energy, food and so on has been jacked up on all of us and the only thing the employer has is a COLA that doesn't cover inflation. And I haven't even started going off on sitting in traffic both ways to take care of the business's problems. Because that's what we're talking here, the business's problems.

As for blaming the man, no, I don't blame him. I'm a businessman, the company and it's owner's have problems (yes, again their problems, not mine), pay me a real world income to solve their problems. Isn't that what the ownership is getting first and trickling down the concept of "1/2 way" to the rest of us ? If you don't approach being an employee with profitability in mind, you'll be in trouble financially. I went to college to earn more, not to become enlightened. I can do that on my own time. And don't hand me any nonsense about making America great, that's been shipped off to India and China for dare I say it, profitability.

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Great!!

by wfrazier In reply to

I could not have said that any better!!!

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second that

by mindilator In reply to Great!!

well said. how dare anyone tell me i need to be happy with the bs wages that don't come close to matching our cost of living, nor the importance and skill of our jobs. that is the true defeatist attitude. complacency is a mental disease.

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Doesn't suprise me ...

by dusan.ignjatovic@emersonn In reply to second that

Don't let that "Poor attitude" post get to you. A look at the profile of the person posting that comment will explain alot.

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