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Are you being spied on?

Your securityA few days ago a report was published by the security firm Cyber-Ark which stated that 1 in 3 senior IT professionals snoops/spies on their colleagues. I have no doubt that this does happen, but I do have to raise a few questions about this report.

First of all let me preface this by saying that I have never spied or co-workers or snooped through their stuff. Quite frankly, I barely have time for my own life, let alone time to go through other people’s email and files. I also tried to stress to co-workers that I can appreciate their privacy and I will uphold it the best I can [1].

Anyways, my first beef with the report is the sample size: 300 people. How many hundreds of thousands of people are in a position to spy on co-workers (from an IT standpoint)? I would imagine quite a few, yet a sample of 300 people creates a blanket statement.

Secondly, what size shops were the respondents from? Were they small shops (less than 50 people) or larger places (hundreds? thousands?). This seems relevant to me because I know that most smaller shops lack policies when it comes to this type of stuff. Further to that, most larger companies usually (hopefully) will have auditing and monitoring systems in place to make sure nobody is doing or seeing anything that they shouldn’t.

Finally I have to question whether this is just an attempt to spread FUD. I mean come on, a security company publishes a report saying that people chances are your IT guy is snooping on you.

Unfortunately I can’t help but feel that this report will cast IT pros in a bad light. Let’s face it; the average user will see this and automatically wonder if their IT staff are in the 1 in 3 category instead of lumping them in with the 2 in 3 category.

[1] Of course there are times when their privacy has to be secondary, like if there are legal issues or if a manager has a valid reason to access staff data.

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