Risky Business: Young people want the internet at any cost

December 15, 2011 - 0 Comments

But how much is it costing them?

The internet and social networking have become integral to our daily lives, and if you’re under 30, you don’t remember not being connected.   This younger generation has grown up using technology and want to be in the same “hyper connected mode” at work as they are in their personal lives — and they’re breaking rules to do it.  Anyone surprised?  I’m not!

But I think you may be surprised at the findings in part three of the Cisco Connected World Technology Report (CCWTR) released this week.  We interviewed 2,800 young people — all under the age of 30 — in 14 countries about their attitudes toward IT security.

Cisco did this report because we’re in the technology business and want to better understand the future of work …what tools younger people want and need, and how to recruit and retain them.

Here are two findings that really stood out:

  • 7 in 10 employees admit to breaking policy with varying regularity
  • And 8 in 10 employees said their company’s IT policy on social media and device usage is either
    outdated — or they’re not sure if any policy exists at all (not their problem!)

Here’s what else we found you may consider troubling:

  • 1 in 3 don’t see anything wrong with sharing very private information online
  • And often because of this, 1 in 4 have experienced identity theft before age 30 (I think they’re sharing a bit too much!)
  • 4 in 5 left their computers and smart phones unattended in a public place

Why are they behaving this way? Here are some of the reasons these young people say they’re breaking the rules:

  • 22% say they need to access unauthorized programs and applications to get their job done
  • 19% admit the policies are not enforced
  • 18% don’t have time to think about policies when they’re working
  • 16% say it’s not convenient
  • 15%  simply forget
  • And 14% do it when their bosses aren’t watching

So if these are their attitudes, what can companies do to cope?

The key is balance.  Look at your policies. Which ones do you keep, modify, and which do you get rid of.  If you don’t give young people access to the internet and social networking sites at work, it’ll be hard to recruit them.

Here’s my advice for employers:

  • Take time to advise young workers – explain the use of balance.  Too much of anything is bad.
  • Do your policies make sense?  One of three companies block social networking sites at work.  Pose too many restrictions, and you decrease your employees’ productivity.
  • Try ‘reverse mentoring’.  Cisco identifies young people to teach older workers new technologies.

My advice to young people:

  • Use common sense!
  • Protect your device:  Don’t leave it unattended.
  • Be aware of your personal and financial info (credit card numbers, password and social security numbers etc) – don’t give them out randomly.
  • And protect corporate info!

People of my generation are the ones running corporations so it’s in our best interest to change our behaviors, and attitudes.  We should learn from young people. Being a father of three of this generation, I’m very optimistic.

I can’t imagine a world where we’re not as connected as we are.  So, please, take a moment to look at our Connected World Technology Report online. Learn from it and enjoy!


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