Security staff should talk to end users more, says Red Hat

Not listening to users forces them to bypass security

IT security departments need to improve their relationships with their users by going out and talking to them, Red Hat's security strategist Josh Bressers has advised.

Bressers warned that in order to stop the spread of 'shadow IT' within the enterprise, security professionals need to make a bigger effort to understand staff in other departments, warning that "we don't listen very well".

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Shadow IT has become an increasing problem for corporate IT managers, as employees use non-approved tools and technologies at work, rather than the systems provided by the in-house team.

"Security is often seen as the industry of 'no'," Bressers said. "We're reaching a point where people are running their own shadow IT, they're spinning up their own internal services. In some cases, they're downloading open source without telling anyone and putting it into their products because it solves their problems."

Part of this, he said, is the ongoing communication problem that enterprise IT suffers from. When employees feel like IT ignores their needs or hampers their progress, they often simply ignore it. "They have a job to do, they want to get their job done," Bressers said, "and if you're in the way, they'll just go round you."

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He added that in order to stop users circumventing the IT department, security staff need to become more receptive to the needs of their users. "It's time for the security folks - people like me - to really make a point of working with these organisations," he said.

"Once you understand what people are trying to do, and the problems they're trying to solve, it changes a lot of things."

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