Generation Y is bringing mobile security threats with them as they enter the workforce. According to a recent Fortinet survey, this tech-savvy generation is more willing to break the rules and put your corporate data at risk.

Fortinet surveyed 3,200 college graduates with full-time jobs between the ages of 21 and 32 in 20 countries. The respondents all owned a smartphone, tablet and/or laptop.

The research found that 51 percent of those surveyed would bypass company policies that restrict the use of personal devices, cloud storage or emerging wearable technology for work. It also showed a 42 percent increase in the willingness to break usage rules compared to a similar survey conducted last year.

Of the 89 percent of respondents that stated they had a personal cloud storage account, 70 percent admitted to using their account for work-related items such as passwords, financial information, confidential business documents and customer data:

  • 12 percent - work passwords
  • 16 percent - financial information
  • 22 percent - confidential business documents (contracts and plans)
  • 33 percent - customer data

Thirty six percent of respondents using their personal cloud for work purposes said they would break any rules enacted to stop them.

While the study’s results make the future of mobile management appear dismal, there is a silver lining. The vast majority - 88 percent - of the respondents accept that they have an obligation to understand the security risks posed by using their own devices. Education and advancements in technology services could be the solution to the BYOD security threat Fortinet has brought to the forefront.

IT administrators must proactively educate employees, particularly Gen Y, about mobile security threats and the risks associated with their actions. Also, consider distributing basic security best practices such as only using a secure Wi-Fi connection or keeping software up-to-date to protect their devices and the company’s data.

In addition, new tools and services cannot simply be ignored or banned. If employees are embracing unsanctioned technologies, it's generally to fill a void that existing devices and services aren't addressing. Listen to users to better understand the business value of these tools. Then find a solution that fills the employee’s need, while keeping sensitive corporate data protected.


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