Think staff follow security policies? Read this

As smart phones, tablets and laptop fly our of stores – spurred in part by corporate bring-your-own-device policies – there is no doubt organizations have the most mobile-connected workforce in history.

How connected? According to an international survey of so-called Generation Y (18-to-30 year olds) done for Cisco Systems Inc., their smart phones can barely be pried out of their hands.

Ninety percent of Gen Y surveyed worldwide recently said they check their smart phones for updates in email, texts, and social media sites, often before they get out of bed.

Sixty per cent said they compulsively check messages, and just over 40 per cent agreed they would feel anxious if they couldn’t do that.

Two out of three admit they spend more time online with friends than with people face to face.

These aren’t new findings. However, a Cisco executive says organizations should think about how to take advantage of them.

“How do you adapt to a workforce where you don’t quite micromange them?” asks Cisco Canada chief technology officer Jeff Seifert, “where you’re saying ‘9 to 5 you should be in the office and doing only business things’ to recognizing you can get productivity through an entire day (from younger staff) by being a little bit more flexible.”

The survey questioned 1,800 college students and young professionals in 18 countries, including Canada — that worked out to 100 in each country — as well as 1,800 IT professionals who were asked the same questions.

Seifert said that among the more interesting findings is that two out of in the five Gen Y group said their company’s policy forbids them using company-issued devices for non-work activities, four out of five– almost 80 per cent — said they don’t always obey those policies.

By contrast 50 per cent of IT professionals believe employees do follow corporate policies.

That suggests IT departments “sometimes have their head in the sand about what’s going on” in their companies, Seifert said.

Among the other findings:

3 out of 4 respondents use smart phones in bed;

–over a third use smart phones in the bathroom;

–almost half said they text, email, and check social media during meals with family and friends;

–almost one in five admit to texting while driving;

the majority of Gen Y respondents (60 percent) report using fewer than 10 smart phone apps regularly;

-only 20 per cent of respondents said they use 10 to 25 apps regularly

if they had to choose only one device, a third of respondents preferred a smart phone, while slightly more than a third favored laptops;

Finally, management should note that two thirds (66 per cent) agree that “employers should not track employees’ online activities — it’s none of their business.”

This is the first of three parts of the survey Cisco released. Other parts dealing with security and data analysis will be released early next year.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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