Surprise: Younger users take responsibility for BYOD security

A recent survey has some news that likely won’t be a shock to most technology pros: Younger employees typically have no qualms about breaking IT policies that they don’t agree with. But there was another finding that could give IT managers some hope. 

One effect of the consumerization of IT is that employees want to make their own decisions regarding how they use technology to work. That includes decisions about whether or not to follow policies and procedures laid out by IT.

And workers in the so-called Millennial generation are especially nonchalant about choosing to break the rules, according to a recent survey from Fortinet.

Among 2,300 office workers age 21 to 32, just over half (51%) admitted they would violate an employer’s policy that restricts the use of personal devices, cloud storage or wearable technology at work.

The message for IT is clear and has been repeated several times since smartphones first made a big splash in the market: Users will bring in their own devices whether you tell them they can or not. And as personal cloud services have become more popular, users will work with those as well.

Users take responsibility for security

Of course, the fear on top of IT pros’ minds is that users will break policies and put sensitive data at risk with their behavior.

There’s certainly merit to that — after all, IT put the rules in place for a reason. But Fortinet’s survey results suggest those younger users may be more on IT’s side when it comes to security than IT managers think.

The vast majority (88%) of survey respondents acknowledged that they have responsibility to understand the security risks of using their own tools for work and do what they can to keep data safe.

The bottom line: Users are becoming more knowledgeable about technology. That means it may be harder to control how they use tech, but also that people are becoming more receptive to training and more willing and able to cooperate with IT — as long as they understand why it’s important.

IT can help promote BYOD security by making sure users understand what the risks are, along with the best practices for keeping data secure. That education and communication will likely be more effective than creating new restrictions on how people work.

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