Gen Yers Flaunt Company E-Security

What company policy? Generation Y employees said they would deliberately ignore corporate security measures surrounding the use of personal smart devices. 

When it comes to using smart devices, personal cloud storage accounts and new technologies at work, more than half of Gen Y workers feel they would circumvent company policy that attempts to limit using them in the office.

Despite positive remarks about employers’ provisions for a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy and 45% of respondents saying they agreed that this “empowers” them, in total, 51% said they would circumvent any company policy that bans the use of personal devices at work or for work purposes, according to a survey by network security provider Fortinet in Sunnyvale, California.

The propensity to ignore network security measures spills over into other areas of personal technology use. About a third of respondents (36%) who use personal cloud storage accounts for work purposes said they would break any rules brought in to stop them.

Nearly half of Gen Y workers (48%) said they would circumvent any policy established to curb the use of emerging technologies—such as Google Glass and smart watches—during the work day.

Gen Y is eagerly anticipating these wearable technologies, and believes they will become widespread immediately (16%) or when costs come down (33%). Very few (8%) disagreed that these technologies will be widely used.

Most Gen Y workers use the cloud, with 89% having a personal account for at least one cloud storage device. DropBox accounts for 38% of the total sample. Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed (70%) who have a personal account use it for work purposes.

Of the group with a personal account that also use it for work, 12% admit to storing work passwords. Financial information (16%), critical private documents such as contracts and business plans (22%) and even customer data (33%) are other types of information Gen Y workers use their cloud accounts for.

The cloud is trustworthy, in Gen Y workers’ view. About a third (32%) of cloud storage users sampled said they fully trust the cloud to store personal data. Just 6% said they did not trust the cloud to store data securely.

Asked about devices ever being compromised and the resulting impact, over 55% of responses indicated an attack on personally owned PCs or laptops, with around half of these impacting on productivity and/or loss of personal and/or corporate data.

Attacks were far less frequent on smartphones (19%), with a slightly higher proportion resulting in loss of data and/or loss of work productivity than on PCs/laptops, despite the sample reporting a higher level of ownership of smartphones than for laptops and PCs.

The survey was based on 3,200 employees, age 21 to 32, and gathered responses on workers’ willingness to ignore measures designed to protect employers and employees.