Millennials Likely to Evade Restrictive Workplace Security Controls

By: Arieanna Schweber | 1/27/2016

Millennials, adults now aged 18-34, are the single largest generation in the US workforce, a generation which will account for 75% of the workforce within 10 years. As the first generation of Digital Natives, Millennials have different expectations when it comes to work. One of those expectations relates to the shifting use of endpoint devices, with the mobile phone now outweighing the laptop as the preferred device for going online. This same preference spills into the enterprise, where mobile use is spiking and employees are seeking ways to get data onto their mobile devices, whether officially sanctioned or not.

With employees “always on”, there has been a huge work-life blur: employees take a work call on a personal mobile, edit a work document on a home computer or install a dating or social media app on a work device (which our research shows is very common). Essentially, these employees are adopting a more cavalier attitude to their devices. Indeed, it’s been shown that these digital natives are not necessarily tech savvy. As one would expect, this has a huge impact on data security.

Earlier this year, Software Advice found that Millennials have the worst password reuse habits, with 85% admitting to re-using credentials across many sites and services. They are also the most likely to evade restrictive workplace controls. Software Advice surveyed 529 employees of US businesses, filtering by demographic subgroups, to understand not only the current computer habits of each demographic but also the receptiveness of each to training and security. The survey highlights how forced security habits, such as regular password changes, are less effective than suggesting the alternative of using a password manager, which would allow employees to securely store their unique and complex passwords, only having to ‘remember’ one of them.

At Absolute, we advocate for a 3-pronged approach to mitigate security risks, including Education, Policies and Layered Technology solutions to secure devices while allowing employees to remain productive. When it comes to any of these approaches with Millennials, the more accessible the solution(s) are, the better: smaller training videos or games, simple technologies, clear regulations. Technologies such as our own, Absolute DDS, can persistently track and secure devices (corporate or employee-owned), ensuring that other security technologies remain in place and active, while remaining unobtrusive to employees. To learn more, visit our website.

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