IT's greatest enemies

How to spot -- and take down -- the six most nefarious adversaries of IT

Everybody keeps a list of the people who make their jobs and lives more difficult, even if they never write it down. It's a safe bet that IT pros' lists are longer than most.

You might think IT's greatest enemies are cyber criminals and malware authors. But far worse are those who make the lives of these evildoers that much easier. In fact, the greatest enemies of IT are members of the community IT serves: from clueless suits to annoying power users, from miserly managers to those friends and family members who are always hitting you up for free tech support. Any one of them can keep you from doing your best -- or getting anything done at all.

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Making an "enemies" list is not just a cathartic exercise but also a useful one, says Mark Kadrich, CEO of The Security Consortium.

"Though they often curse the user community, most IT pros don't spend the time to identify good users from the bad ones," he says. "You ask most of them how many users have administrative access to their systems, and the answer is usually either 'I don't know' or 'all of them.' I think they need to take more time to classify their user communities."

Here are the classic enemies of IT, how to recognize them, and what you can do to keep them at bay.

IT enemy No. 1: The Ostrich

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