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<p>FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Ref MG4087
75% of Organisations Find Lack of User Awareness Hurts Security Program Effectiveness, According to META Group Research</p>
<p>Communication Skills Are Critical for IT Security Staff</p>
<p>SYDNEY, Australia, (October 2, 2003) – Employees working in IT security should not firewall off their own lines of communication, according to META Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: METG). While technical skills are relatively easy to measure for IT security staff, managers need to place a greater emphasis on measuring communication skills.
Policies that control the selection and deployment of technology may have automated enforcement, but a significant part of security consists of policies governing the behavior of individuals. Traditionally, security professionals have regarded “awareness programs” as a requirement, but few organisations have proven willing to fund strong communication programs of this type. META Group research indicates that more than 75% of organisations identify a lack of user awareness as moderately or severely reducing the effectiveness of their current security program. In addition, 66% identify a lack of executive awareness as having similar levels of impact.</p>
<p>“An ideal answer is to establish a well-funded and well-staffed security communication program. But developing the corporate culture to support that level of investment takes years of effective communication by the existing security staff. In fact, most organisations will fail to successfully secure their technology environment simply because the security staff lacks the communication skills to create this shift in corporate culture,” said META Group security analyst Chris Byrnes.</p>
<p>Annual reviews and initial hiring criteria should not only measure a security staffer’s technical capabilities, but also the ability to communicate. Whether disseminating policy to end users or presenting budgets for senior-level executives, communication is a critical skill for most security staff and should therefore be given equal opportunity for review. One area that managers can focus on as a measure of security communication skills is the end user’s knowledge of policy and policy awareness.
“Certainly, the ability to configure and maintain security enforcement tools is at the core of the position, but the importance of communicating security policy to end users is critical to obtain their cooperation in security initiatives and therefore should not be given short shrift,” said Byrnes. “As security teams focus on policy and audit/compliance, the success of those security initiatives depends on obtaining cooperation from end users, executive management, and IT and business managers.”</p>
<p>About META Group
META Group is a leading provider of information technology research, advisory services, and strategic consulting. Delivering objective and actionable guidance, META Group’s experienced analysts and consultants are trusted advisors to IT and business executives around the world. Our unique collaborative models and dedicated customer service help clients be more efficient, effective, and timely in their use of IT to achieve their business goals. Visit metagroup.com for more details on our high-value approach.</p>
<p>Peter Carr, General Manager