People and culture matter in security: LogRhythm survey findings

There are lots of security reports released every year but most focus on the data coming from Security Operations Centres and various devices and appliances connected to networks. LogRhythm took a different approach, focussing on user behaviours and attitudes in the annual Report on Workplace Security.

Bill Taylor-Mountford joined LogRhythm as their vice president for the Asia Pacific and Japan in 2014 and has built the business in the region. He has noted that while many people see Asia Pacific as one large homogenous region, there’s significant diversity in security attitudes across different countries.

The survey asked the same questions of workers in large companies from Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong. Issues such as the prevalence of BYOD, use of cloud services and attitudes to password security were looked at and there were some interesting differences. These are important to consider for companies operating across the region.

“We wanted an indicator of what people used at work and whether they were secure in their own minds,” says Taylor-Mountford. “Many different surveys that are done on different aspects of security are all numbers. We wanted to ask people what they felt”.

For example, Taylor-Mountford wanted to gain a deeper understanding of the personal use of personal devices, such as laptops, smartphones and tablets, while using corporate services such as email and file systems, in concert with personal cloud services.

When it came to passwords, Taylor-Mountford says it was clear Singaporeans were “less likely to be confidential with their passwords”. In part, this is tied to local culture. Singapore is a very safe country and locals, perhaps subconsciously, allow that feeling of safety permeate into the strength of the passwords they set and their attitudes around sharing user accounts.

However, Singapore’s increasing importance as a finance and banking hub for the region will see a change to this says Taylor-Mountford.

“The cybercriminals are going to go where the dollars are. If you’ve got 460 banks you can be you’re a target”.

Another insight that came from the report was workers in Hong Kong were more likely to use cloud services than those in Singapore and Australia. One of the reasons for this is the relatively stability of local infrastructure.

“If you look at the Australian market, where we’ve had copper running to everything for decades – we’ve got a very sound infrastructure in Australia. If you look at Hong Kong, given the amount for development going on there, people have been less reliant on sound infrastructure. People are more comfortable using the cloud as the building they’re in is going to be knocked down so jumping to a cloud service is a real convenience”.

With cloud services, there’s a combination of corporate services being used, such as Salesforce and Concur, alongside personal services.

A significant universal change is the complete blurring of the line between work and personal life. While in the past, people may have either carried separate mobile phones for personal and work use, there’s no such distinction today.

“Organisations need to think a lot more carefully about what is their domain,” says Taylor-Mountford. “People and devices from outside the organisation are coming into the office. We need to capture all those devices, everything people have access to. That’s why we need to have an intelligence system and not just a firewall. Anyone can get through a firewall with the right credentials. It’s about what people are doing and accessing”.

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