Employers must build a security strategy around “indifferent” generation-mobile employees


You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, as the saying goes. But increasingly in terms of mobile security best practice, you can’t teach young dogs new tricks either.

For the millennial workforce, employers have got to accept they will be “indifferent” over security and fit policy in around that, rather than force them to comply. If you don’t do this, you risk missing the tangible productivity benefits of a mobile workforce.

According to a report from Aruba Networks, six out of 10 ‘generation mobile’ workers are happy to let others regularly use their work and personal smartphones, while nearly a third admit to having lost data due to the misuse of a mobile device. More than half of employees would disobey their boss in order to get their job done.

Young, male employees are more likely to throw caution to the wind with risky practice, with men 20% more likely to lose personal or client data than women. Employees earning more than $60,000 are more than twice as likely to have lost company financial data as employees earning less than $18,000. It’s worth noting here that the higher up the pay scale you go, the more likely you are to be looking at the company jewels.

More than half (51%) of those polled said using mobile apps can drive more productivity, while a similar number (48%) said it gave their business a competitive edge. Seven out of 10 said they have or would consider revealing the passwords to their work devices, while 5% revealed they had revealed their password because they were offered money to do so – findings which chime in alarmingly with SailPoint research which confirmed employees would sell their password if the price was right.

The overall consensus from the report is clear: like shadow IT, 2015 should be a year where companies stop stifling their employees’ working habits, but building a secure framework around them so both employee and employer benefit.

“In a contemporary connected world, firms need to nurture creativity, while at the same time minimise the risk of data and information loss,” said Ben Gibson, Aruba Networks CMO. “As a result, employers need to take an adaptive trust approach to connectivity and data security, identifying individual worker preferences that factor multiple layers of contextual information in order to build secure infrastructures around them.”

Previous Aruba research has found a striking disconnect between a company and its workforce. In 2013, more than one in five workers in the US, Middle East and Europe admitted they had provided phone access to another person, while 40% said they would feel ‘violated’ if their employers accessed personal data.

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