As we enter December, the human factor in information security becomes a continued issue, but with an air of alcohol about it as the office Christmas party season swings into life.

So it is now time to think about strong password deployment, patching of systems, securing external devices and more as usual; while staff shop online, possibly take the foot off the pedal and get stuck into the Cadbury's Celebrations.

It is not all office staff that cause an issue at this time of year though, as according to research by Lieberman Software, 26 per cent of IT security staff will use their privileged login rights to look at confidential information

Its survey of more than 300 IT professionals, exclusively seen by SC Magazine, also found that 42 per cent of respondents said that their IT staff are sharing passwords or access to systems or applications, while 48 per cent of respondents work at companies that are still not changing their privileged passwords within 90 days.

Philip Lieberman, president and chief executive officer of Lieberman Software, said: “Our survey shows that senior management at some of the largest organisations are still not taking the management of privileged access to their most sensitive information seriously.

“When someone can admit that they have unsupervised, unaudited and unauthorised access to all their colleague's and superior's bonus details then the IT security of that organisation is seriously flawed.

“These fundamentally careless practices and procedures revealed by the IT departments of the organisations we surveyed could cost them dearly in 2012. In many ways they should be breathing a sigh of relief that they have not been breached yet, but it's just a matter of time.”

So better ensure that staff lay off the eggnog and make sure that they don't attempt to change their grades, view the MD's salary or intercept emails, as it could be a new year full of repentance.