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Young Workers Often Breach Electronic-Device Policies: Survey

Millennial workers admit to ignoring BYOD rules in the workplace.

April 2, 2013

Personal privacy is seen as an old-fashioned concept for Millennial workers who grew up posting every thought and vacation photo on Facebook and Instagram. That lax attitude toward data privacy is driving alarming workplace security trends, according to Cisco Systems Inc.'s 2012 Connected World Technology Report. The survey of 3,600 global information technology professionals and young workers shows:

• Nine out of 10 information technology professionals say they have a policy governing the use of certain devices at work, yet only two of five Gen Y respondents were aware of such a policy.

• More than half (52 percent) of IT professionals believe their employees obey IT policies, but nearly 3 out of 4 (71 percent) Gen Y workers say that they don't obey policies.

• Two out of three (66 percent) Gen Y respondents said IT has no right to monitor their online behavior, even if that behavior is conducted using company-issued devices on corporate networks.

"The security threats that we encounter online… no longer threaten only the individual; says John Stewart, senior vice president for global government and corporate security at Cisco. "They threaten our organizations."

And if companies want to get ahead of these risks, IT departments need to work with human resources officials to educate employees about the threats they face, and to create a user environment that doesn't frustrate users, says Brett Belding, senior manager of IT mobility solutions at Cisco in Atlanta.

"The IT department has to be viewed as a trusted partner by employees," he says. "We need to make their devices more secure, while delivering a better user experience, or they will shop for a better solution without us."

Sarah Fister Gale is a freelance writer based in the Chicago area. To comment, email editors@workforce.com. Follow Workforce on Twitter at @workforcenews.