Security Policies: How Much Is Enough? - InformationWeek

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Security Policies: How Much Is Enough?

Keeping networks free of unsavory content or activities is a priority for nearly two-thirds of the 4,500 global security professionals in the InformationWeek Research Global Information Security Survey, fielded by PricewaterhouseCoopers. There's a good reason for this: As more workers connect to the Internet, companies need to be sure employees aren't needlessly surfing or visiting porn sites on company time.

But companies need to do more to bolster their defenses. A surprisingly low number include data protection (60%), user awareness (55%), or monitoring standards (33%) as part of their information security policy. About one-third of companies polled don't conduct risk analysis or classify their information.

"Not knowing what corporate information is worth, or examining the risk of the information being compromised, makes it pretty hard to determine what changes need to be made to protect data or how much to spend protecting it," says Frank Prince, a security analyst with Forrester Research.

Recent history shows how dangerous the lack of a user-awareness program in a security policy can be to the health of networks and systems. Millions of Sircam viruses have spread throughout the Internet, clogging E-mail gateways, largely because workers may have been less than careful clicking on an attachment. Also, security firm TruSecure estimates there have been more than 500,000 internal Code Red infections.

What's your company doing to alert employees to possible security breaches?

George V. Hulme
Senior Editor
[email protected]

Keep It Simple
Which access tools are companies in this year's Global Information Security Survey using to protect information systems? Overwhelmingly, they're relying on basic but not technically advanced solutions. The most frequent method of protection used is basic user passwords--94% of companies say this is their access tool of choice. Less popular are multiple logons and passwords; less than 60% of security professionals report that their companies deploy this technique.

One in four companies favors minicomputer or mainframe access-control software, terminal key locks or lock words, or single sign-on software. But few companies are looking to one-time passwords or biometrics as access tools to protect their systems.

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