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An integrated view of human, organizational, and technological challenges of IT security management

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this study is to determine the main challenges that IT security practitioners face in their organizations, including the interplay among human, organizational, and technological factors. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The data set consisted of 36 semi-structured interviews with IT security practitioners from 17 organizations (academic, government, and private). The interviews were analyzed using qualitative description with constant comparison and inductive analysis of the data to identify the challenges that security practitioners face. Findings ‐ A total of 18 challenges that can affect IT security management within organizations are indentified and described. This analysis is grounded in related work to build an integrated framework of security challenges. The framework illustrates the interplay among human, organizational, and technological factors. Practical implications ‐ The framework can help organizations identify potential challenges when implementing security standards, and determine if they are using their security resources effectively to address the challenges. It also provides a way to understand the interplay of the different factors, for example, how the culture of the organization and decentralization of IT security trigger security issues that make security management more difficult. Several opportunities for researchers and developers to improve the technology and processes used to support adoption of security policies and standards within organizations are provided. Originality/value ‐ A comprehensive list of human, organizational, and technological challenges that security experts have to face within their organizations is presented. In addition, these challenges within a framework that illustrates the interplay between factors and the consequences of this interplay for organizations are integrated.
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Keywords: Communication technologies; Data security

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-03-20

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