Casual Attitude toward Corporate Data Brings Dangers, Study Finds


Newsflash: College kids are careless.

Okay, that's not exactly stop-the-presses material, but thanks to Cisco, one can now get an idea of how careless they actually are. According to the company's 2011 Annual Security Report, released today, over 85 percent of college students have allowed someone - even a stranger - to use their computers without any supervision.


Although I'm a subscriber to the concept of trust espoused by former Secretary of State and War Henry Stimson - that gentlemen and ladies should be trusted in the absence of proof to the contrary - even I have to shake my head at numbers like that. I don't like to use other people's computers any more than I like having to use a public toilet; after all, the worst thing I'm likely to pick up from one of the latter is a nasty case of staph.What annoys me most about the findings is the attitude that IT has to change its ways in order to cater to young people entering the workforce. Although I'd love to see a cultural change among some IT practitioners - names withheld to protect the guilty - at the same time, I realize that the rules of the IT road weren't put there just to be inconvenient. It blows my mind that 61 percent of survey respondents refused to accept responsibility for protecting corporate data, and put the onus on IT and service providers.

I remember a discussion long, long ago in a civics class far, far away that explained why rights and responsibilities are inextricably linked together. Hint to the youth: if you saddle IT with the job of playing data cop, don't be surprised if you catch a whiff of virtual tear gas when you think that you're just trying to do your job.

Cisco's connectivity report:

Cisco's 2011 security report: