Sister CISA CISSP

Nov 20 2008   3:29PM GMT

Step Awaaaaaaay From the Computer………..

Arian Eigen Heald Arian Eigen Heald Profile: Arian Eigen Heald

We all know them. During my Help Desk tech support days, we called them the “Bermuda Triangles.” Everyone in the department dreaded them. If you looked at the Documents and Settings directory, you would see the login names of every single tech. Administrators and tech types bemoan the users who use their CD players as coffee holders and don’t know how to turn their computers on. Rants are all over the Internet discussing the clueless user (“luser”) that plagues Help Desks everywhere.

And somehow, the higher level the employee, seemingly the less technically savvy they are. I’ve lost count of the number of organizations I’ve audited that exempt the C-level executive from having to change his/her password, or disable complexity of passwords, because “they can’t seem to remember it.” And these are the people running the company? Amazing.

So, what is the solution to these folks? To Suzie in Accounting, who calls the Help Desk every 30 days after she changes her passwords? The call center employee who puts his post-it password on his monitor? The executive who calls every time he goes on a road trip because he forgets how to use the VPN?

Fortunately for us, Cisco has released a study that documents our difficulties. The study documents that 39 percent of IT professionals worldwide were more concerned about the threat from their own employees than the threat from outside hackers. But here’s the significant statistic for data loss:

Of those employees who reported loss or theft of a corporate device, 26 percent experienced more than one incident in the past year.

So, how do we help the “Triangles” of our company? First, we have to find them.

It’s true that every Help Desk has a list, but it’s usually a mental one, someone that “everyone knows.” We need to translate that information into actionable data. Not to punish, but to resolve a recurring cost to the IT department.

Management and business LOVE information that tells them how much something costs. If you can document how much time those folks are costing IT, you can make a business case for getting more user education to those employees, or better systems to resolve consistent problems. After all, it means they get more of IT time spent on projects, rather than Help Desk issues. That could be a big seller.

Use your Help Desk tickets to document and correlate spikes in service times and specific users that call in for the same problem. If someone keeps losing hardware, maybe it’s time to change the corporate Hardware Policy. If users keep forgetting their complex passwords, maybe it’s time for keyfob or RFID logins.

There are always options!

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