Laptop security left to employees

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European IT managers are leaving laptop security in the hands of employees according to a new study.

The survey questioned 500 IT managers across Europe and found 69 per cent of them believed that employees are responsible for how corporate laptops are used when taken outside of the office. Six per cent even admitted that they have no knowledge of where the responsibility for managing laptops should fall.

This is despite 71 per cent of respondents holding the belief that corporate laptops, which are used outside the office and then reconnected to the network, pose a major security risk to their company.

"European businesses can leave themselves open to attack," said Geoff Haggart, vice president, Europe, for Websense, the IT security company that comissioned the survey.

"Too many companies have placed the burden of using laptops responsibly directly on their employees, and can only hope that employees exercise caution when using their laptops outside the corporate firewall," he added.

Philip Stanfield, mobility expert at IT consultancy company Morse said most businesses aren't taking a strategic approach and hence now have these security gaps.

"It's outrageous that employees are being placed at risk of compromised security just because they don't come into the company headquarters every day," said Stanfield.

"Businesses need to change their attitude towards managing their mobile workforce so that there are security policies in place to ensure secure internet use before any employee is even given a company laptop."

Stanfield said that businesses need to put in place mobility strategies that take security, as well as a whole host of other issues, into account. "otherwise they simply won't get the full benefits mobility is supposed to bring," he added.

As SC Magazine reported last month (here), 91 per cent of 500 European IT managers believed they had complete or good IT security protection, but only 30 per cent were protecting themselves against common risks such as phishing, spyware and hacking tools.

www.websense.com

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