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41 per cent of employees OK with breaking IT law – Cisco


November 8, 2010
By Anthony Capkun

November 8, 2010

There’s a disconnect between IT policies and workers, especially as employees strive to work in a more mobile fashion and use numerous devices, social media and new forms of communication such as video, says Cisco. According additional to results from Cisco’s “Connected World Report”, as technology trends alter the way businesses communicate and operate, more than two-thirds of workers surveyed believed their companies’ IT policies could be improved, and at least two of every five (41%) say they break those policies to meet their needs.

“While most companies have IT policies, employees are not always aware
of or knowledgeable about them. For those employees who are cognizant,
policies are not always considered up-to-date or reflective of
real-world business and lifestyle expectations and, as a result, they
are broken many times,” said Nasrin Rezai, senior director, Cisco
Security. “The Cisco Connected World Report spotlights the disconnect
between IT, employees and policies. As workforces become more
distributed and the consumerization of IT becomes a fact of mainstream
life, the importance of updating appropriate policies to accommodate
employee needs while balancing risk and security becomes critical.”

This announcement builds on the initial findings released in October,
which examines the desire of workers to access corporate networks,
applications and information anywhere at any time with virtually any
device. With this desire as a backdrop, the latest findings reveal how
real-life consumer trends like social media, video and increasing
numbers of devices in the workplace are causing many employees around
the world to question the relevance of corporate IT policies and break
them with more regularity.

The study, which involved surveys of 2600 workers and IT professionals
in 13 countries, reveals that while most companies have IT policies
(82%), about one in four employees (24%) are unaware that such policies
exist. An additional 23% report that their companies do not have IT
policies on acceptable device usage. When combined, almost half of the
workers in the study (47%) either do not have an IT policy on device
usage or do not know that one exists.

For those employees who have an IT policy, 35% say IT does not provide
an explanation or rationale for why it exists, which can result in
apathy, misunderstanding and selective compliance.

Among workers aware of IT policy, about two of three (64%) feel it could
use some improvement. These employees believe policies could be updated
to reflect real-world needs and work styles, such as finding an
acceptable medium between device usage, social media, mobility and work
flexibility.

Of those employees who admit to breaking IT policies, about two of every
five (41%) say it’s because they need restricted programs and
applications to get the job done; they’re simply trying to be more
productive and efficient.

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One of five (20%) employees worldwide said they break IT policy because
they believe their company or IT team will not enforce it.

This research points to an issue among many businesses worldwide: the
need to re-evaluate and update IT policies to align with the growing
reality of a workforce that is demanding more enablement to be connected
anywhere, anytime, with any device and any information in their work
and personal lives.

As for social media access, social media use is restricted to varying
degrees around the world and per company. Although half (51%) of the
employees surveyed worldwide believe social media—while not
work-related—contributes to work-life balance, two of five (41%) say
they are restricted from using Facebook at their job, and one of three
(35%) is restricted from using Twitter at work or with work devices.

More than one in four (28%) workers are restricted from using instant
messaging at work or with work devices, and one in five (21%) are
restricted from doing personal e-mail on work devices and during work
hours.

Two of every three employees (64%) believe their IT teams and companies
should loosen up and allow social media use during work hours with work
devices, citing work-life balance as a key reason, particularly because
many of them can work in a mobile, distributed fashion and put in longer
hours as a result.

The use of personal devices like iPads and iPhones is also restricted to
some degree. Globally, almost one in five (18%) employees are not
allowed to use their iPods at work, and almost one in five (18%) are
restricted from using personal devices like employee-owned laptops or
phones.

“The Cisco Connected World Report provides further insight into the
next-generation workforce. The time spent between work and personal
lives has blurred. Employees expect to access networks, applications and
information anywhere, at any time, on any device,” said Marie Hattar,
VP Borderless Networks, Cisco. “With the expansion of diverse devices in
the workplace, along with the growth of video as a favoured mode of
communication, IT organizations are facing many policy and management
demands on their networking infrastructure.”

The majority of employees (66%) believe they should be able to connect
freely with any device—personal or company-issued—and access the
applications and information that they need around the clock. Policy or
no policy, many employees will simply do it, raising the question about
how effective a policy is and how IT can update, enforce and ensure
better compliance.

What about video? The use of video is on the rise as a form of consumer
and enterprise communication. Globally, more than two-thirds of IT
professionals (68%) feel that the importance of video communications to
their company will increase in the future. This sentiment is
particularly true among those in Mexico (85%), China (85%), Brazil
(82%), and Spain (82%).

However, not all employees who wish to use video communications in the
workplace are able to do so today. About two in five employees (41%)
said they cannot use video as a communications tool at work, with more
than half of employees in the United States (53%), the United Kingdom
(55%), Germany (55%) and France (60%) not having the capability of using
video for workplace communications.

Cisco’s study was conducted by InsightExpress, a third-party market
research firm based in the United States. It commissioned the study to
maintain its understanding of present-day challenges that companies face
as they strive to address employee and business needs amid increasing
mobility capabilities, security risks, and technologies that can deliver
applications and information more ubiquitously—from virtualized data
centers and cloud computing to traditional wired and wireless networks.

The global study focuses on two surveys—one involving employees, the
other IT professionals. Each survey includes 100 respondents from each
of the 13 countries, resulting in a survey pool of 2600 people. Those
countries include Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India,
Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United
States.

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