How Cultural Differences Impact IT Security

 
 
By Karen A. Frenkel  |  Posted 11-02-2015 Email
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    How Cultural Differences Impact IT Security
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    How Cultural Differences Impact IT Security

    New and entry-level employees pose the greatest security risks, according to a majority of U.S. and German IT professionals. Frequent travelers came in second.
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    More Security Incidents Caused by Unintentional Errors
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    More Security Incidents Caused by Unintentional Errors

    70% of American IT security practitioners and 64% of their German counterparts say employees' unintentional mistakes cause more security incidents than intentional and malicious acts.
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    Hard To Differentiate Malicious and Negligent Incidents
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    Hard To Differentiate Malicious and Negligent Incidents

    49% compared to 44% of U.S. and German respondents, respectively, say they cannot tell the difference between security incidents caused by careless employees versus those caused deliberately and maliciously.
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    Comparison of Negligent Versus Malicious Attacks
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    Comparison of Negligent Versus Malicious Attacks

    American IT practitioners who can differentiate between maliciousness and negligence say they represent 70% of all insider security incidents, compared to 63% of German respondents.
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    Insider Negligence Decreases Productivity
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    Insider Negligence Decreases Productivity

    Respondents spend an average of three hours daily dealing with security risks caused by employee mistakes or negligence. They also waste two hours due to insider carelessness.
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    Most Careless and Negligent Employees
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    Most Careless and Negligent Employees

    72% of U.S. respondents and 66% of German respondents say ordinary users pose the greatest security risk because of their negligence. Contractors and third parties followed at 50% and 64% of U.S. and German respondents, respectively.
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    Profile of Riskiest Employees
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    Profile of Riskiest Employees

    New and entry-level employees pose the greatest risk, according to 81% of U.S. respondents and 80% of German respondents. Frequent travelers came in second: 71% U.S. respondents, 68% German respondents.
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    Long Hours Affect Risk
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    Long Hours Affect Risk

    Employees who work too many hours pose a risk, according to 69% of U.S. and 56% of German respondents. On average U.S. employees work 48 hours per week, compared to German employees, who work 35 hours.
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    Multitasking Also Poses Risks
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    Multitasking Also Poses Risks

    According to 79% of U.S. respondents and 81% of German respondents, multitaskers are more likely to be careless or negligent.
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    Employees' Sloppiness Costs Money
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    Employees' Sloppiness Costs Money

    Asked to estimate how much IT security spending they could save if employee negligence and carelessness were reduced by 50%, U.S. respondents' highest estimate was 37%. Their German counterparts' estimate was 36%.
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    Different Explanations for Unintentional Insider Risk
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    Different Explanations for Unintentional Insider Risk

    U.S. IT practitioners point to employees improperly trained to follow data security policies and senior executives who don't consider data security a priority. In contrast, they admit that their organizations lack safeguards to protect against careless employees.
 

A majority of American and German IT practitioners agree that inadvertent employee negligence decreases productivity and causes more security incidents than intentional and malicious acts, according to a new survey. Seventy-three percent of American respondents, compared to 67 percent of German ones, strongly agree or agree that unintentional employee negligence "severely diminishes the productivity of IT." The study, "The Unintentional Insider Risk in the United States and German Organizations," was conducted by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by Raytheon/Websense. In an effort to determine how cultural differences in the workplace impact security professionals in both countries, 1,071 IT pros were surveyed. The survey also compared the costs in time wasted as the result of responding to security incidents caused by human error and found that American companies can lose $1.5 million and German companies €1.6 million. "Moreover, if a data breach should happen because of negligence, the average cost per record in the U.S. is $198 and €145 in Germany," according to the survey.

 
 
 
 
 
Karen A. Frenkel writes about technology and innovation and lives in New York City.

 
 
 
 
 
 

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