A recent survey by network equipment provider Cisco Systems Inc. indicates that Canada’s highly Web connected Generation Y workforce has a serious disconnect with corporate IT security policies.
While 34 per cent of IT professionals say they have policies that forbid workers from using company-owned devices for personal activities as much as two out of three employees say they “don’t obey the policies all the time,” according to Cisco’s 2013 Annual Security Report.
Cisco surveyed 1,800 college students and workers aged 18 to 30 as well as 1,800 information technology professionals in 18 countries including Canada, the United States, Mexico, The United Kingdom, Russia, Korea, and Japan.
“As Generation Y graduates from college enter the workforce in greater numbers, they test corporate cultures and policies with expectations of social media freedom, device choice and mobile lifestyles that the generation before them never demanded,” Cisco said in a statement. “…Unfortunately our study shows Gen Y
workers’ lifestyle are also introducing security challenges that companies never had to address before on this scale.”
Gen Y: More tech savvy, less security conscious
Gen Y workers: We know all about this IT stuff
Gen Y to CIOs: What we expect from social media
When asked if it was all right for employers to track employees’ activities online if the workers are using company devices, 72 per cent of the Canadian respondents said no and only 28 per cent said it was okay.
Cisco’s surveyed also found what many parents of teenagers have known for the past five years. In Canada 92 per cent of so-called millennials feel the age of privacy is over with some 34 respondents saying they are not worried at all about data about them that is stored by online sites they visit. No less than 57 per cent of the Gen Y respondents said they were comfortable with their personal information being used by retailers, social media sites and other online sites if they benefit from the experience.
According to IT administrators, they know how many employees do not follow the rules but they don’t understand how prevalent the problem is. For example, globally, more than 52 per cent of IT professionals believe their employees obey IT policies, but nearly three out of four or 71 per cent of Gen Y workers say they don’t obey these rules.
When Cisco’s survey on Gen Y online are taken in the light of recent security threat reports by network security firm FortiGuard
Labs, a more chilling picture surfaces.
Research done by the security company from October to December last year indicate an increasing activity in mobile malware variants of the Android Plankton ad kit as well as in hacktivist Web server vulnerability scanning, said Guillaume Lovet, senior manager of FortiGuard Labs' Threat Response Team.