Trust employees to create a safer network

It is better for network security if employees admit their mistakes rather than keep compromises under their hats, according to a senior security executive.

Employee network

Employees need encouragement to be honest about mistakes when it comes to IT security, rather than fear being reprimanded.

This is the belief of Stephen Bonner, managing director of information risk management at Barclays, who thinks the "you are being watched" approach doesn't help.

"I think the idea that users should face consequences... or if you teach users they will be punished if they make a mistake, there will be [problems]," he said during a keynote at InfoSecurity 2010.

"If they tell me straight away that they have left [something unencrypted] on the train I can get down to the station and retrieve it... but if they wait for weeks it will end up in a newspaper office."

He added: "If you trust them and engage with them, you can find out things you never knew."

Bonner believes the future will be more inclusive of what an employee wants, including bringing in their own machines to work on the business network.

Comparing it to company car schemes, he added: "The future for corporate IT is bring your own... a bog standard laptop will be provided but if you want to bring your own, that is [allowed]."

Answering questions about the security implications, Bonner claimed that no network is ever 100 per cent safe.

"We should bring them into a compromised network and fix that... we shouldn't try and put [our networks] in a bubble... it is never going to happen. You will never have a fully patched network and we can't pretend that [we do]."

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