Over one third (35%) of decision-makers placed the blame on young workers for workplace data breaches and three in ten decision-makers said that young employees share data too easily. These are some of the headline findings of a survey by Centrify, an identity and access management company. Furthermore, 37% of managers said that younger workers are too relaxed about security measures and 35% said that young employees placed too much trust in technology.
"35% of managers blame young workers for workplace security breaches."
The same survey questioned young workers on choices related to workplace privacy and security that might lead their bosses to have such a dim view of them. When asked if they have clicked on a suspicious link or email, one in 10 young employees said they had, and 7% admitted to removing data from the company.
However, the survey showed that more managers were engaging in compromising behaviour than young people, with 18% of managers saying they had clicked on a suspicious link, and 15% admitting to removing information from the company.
The aforementioned dim view of the younger generation may be warranted when it comes to use of social media. Just over one in five young workers said that they do not worry about how their social media activity might affect their employers, and 18% admitted that their posts could compromise security. Through social media, a nefarious party could learn of the exact location of a certain workplace, as well as details of the interior, and the brands of the devices used.
If login and password details are printed and pasted on a wall, that could become public knowledge also. This occurred in 2012, when a photo series of a day in the life of Prince William inadvertently exposed RAF password details.
Despite this, there is research that suggests that young people are very aware of how to take control of their privacy online and are security savvy. A study conducted by the Pew Research Center in the US found that almost three out of four 18 to 29-year-olds have cleared cookies and browser histories, 71% have deleted or edited something they had posted in the past, 42% have not used a website because it asked for their real name, and 41% have used a temporary username or email address.
The Centrify research showed that sharing of passwords seems to be a problem across the generations, with 16% of young people said that they had shared passwords with colleagues and 13% said that they had shared them with managers. Similarly, 15% of managers admitted to sharing passwords with colleagues.
"15% of young people and 16% of managers have shared passwords."
Andy Heather, VP of sales and general manager of Centrify EMEA said: “Young people are going to be the business leaders of the future and it is incumbent on the current generation of business leaders to set the example. We will find people coming into organisations that want to have this always-on, always-connected, very flexible way of working and they will rely on organisations to provide them a safe haven where they can go and do that.”
Barry Scott, CTO of EMEA at Centrify, underlined the importance of training to instil smart privacy and security practices at work. He said: “There’s got to be training and there isn’t enough of it. The other thing is how to deliver it and what sort of it to deliver.”
He added that both generations should get the same type of security and privacy training. Scott said: “I don’t think it should be age-related. It’s got to be from the CEO down. You can’t say ‘I’m above this’."