User-hostile tools drive users to become security hazards

As a consequence of the IT consumerisation trend, users to a greater extent demand user friendly tools in their workplace. They require tools that match the way they want to work. People are used to quick, social and collaborative tools in their private lives and it’s only natural they want the same easiness at work. A security survey from Crypzone made me realize that the urge to get the job done, in a less complicated way, has forced users to break IT policies for document security.  The survey focused on the security aspects of how SharePoint’s users handle documents. SharePoint is Microsoft’s collaboration platform that is to 60% steered by IT dep’s as they are admins, no external users are allowed. So, the security is set to be higher than the clouds.

The results from the SharePoint security survey showed:

  • 45% of the Sharepoint users responded that they had copied sensitive and confidential information to an usb stick or an email message.
  • 55% stated that the reason why they copied documents out of SharePoint was that they needed to send documents to someone without SharePoint access, 43% responded that they sometimes needed to work on a file at home.
  • 92% of respondents understood that taking data out of SharePoint made it less secure
  • 30% were willing to take the risk stating they were “Not bothered if it helps me get the job done”.


So 92% understood that moving documents from a safe place is a security risk but they chose to ignore it. The users of SharePoint just want to get their job done easily. Given these results SharePoint is clearly not a user-friendly tool and Microsoft is not developing the platform with the focus on the users and their behavior. Otherwise the users wouldn’t have to violate the security policy in such a high extent and copy documents to other devices.

Projectplace on the other hand focuses on user behavior. In our last user survey 80% responded that they are satisfied with our service. In Projectplace users can access documents no matter of the location and work whenever it suits them. You just need to have a web browser. Gartner says that by 2015, 75% of knowledge based work will be done by workers who are situated in different locations. The demand for tools that are handling collaboration across boundaries will increase heavily the next coming years. In Projectplace it is easy to invite external parties and collaborate with coworkers outside the organization. You just invite them to the common workspace and don’t even have to send it by email.

We basically believe in openness and flexibility. Store your information in a secure cloud solution and you are safer than in a closed, complex and user hostile environment.

Ultimately it doesn’t matter how many rules and IT policies you have within an organization. Humans will always be humans. If you create user friendly tools that understand how people work and want to work, actually bring a higher security level of sensitive information. Good user experience > Good user Behavior > Higher security.

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