Security Survey: Where the Dangers Lie

System security continues to be a thorny issue for IT managers to deal with every day. To get a better understanding of the problems that our customers faced, Sunrise Software asked IT managers to rate the threats to their networks and systems.

Top of the list was viruses, which garnered 46 per cent of the vote, followed by employees on 38%. Other threats such as poorly written software, something which Linux supporters regularly cite as a reason to stop using Microsoft products, and the hackers who prey on such software were considered less of a threat.

When asked to rate each threat individually, 79 per cent of survey respondents rated the threat of Viruses as high or very high, while 52 per cent rated the threat of employees as high or very high. Least of the IT Managers concerns was poorly written software: of those surveyed, 45 per cent ranked it a low or very low threat.

On the issue of hackers, IT managers are divided. While almost half saw the threat of people hacking their systems as high or very high, over one third rated such a threat as low or very low.

Asked to give their advice on the best courses of action to take to avoid security problems, IT managers universally recommended keeping anti-virus software, firewalls, and Windows up to date.

Keep your AV software up to date (obviously) and don’t assume that they (the anti-virus vendors) know everything. Seek confirmation from other suppliers if you are in doubt, recommended one respondent.

Many also advocated rigorous testing procedures when rolling out new software or new versions of existing software programs. It was noted by one respondent that you should complete a full test of the new software using all known platforms and system environments.

Another respondent cautioned fellow IT Managers to be careful with new software.

‘Test everything. Never install anything until it has been in the outside world for a few weeks. Being a pioneer just leads to getting arrows in your back,’ he suggested.

To deal with employees, the common theme was to allow users access to only the tools they required to complete their jobs. IT staff should also keep an eye out for disgruntled employees as these often pose the greatest risk to network security.

Managing an IT network is the work of an entire team, so probably amongst the best advice offered was to make sure the team works together.

Have a good team around you to work with. (There is) no substitution to good management and good team members. Knowledge is power.