Data Snapshot

Mobile security at risk with the arrival of millennials

Cover image for Absolute Software's

According to Absolute Software Corp.'s recent survey, millennials represent the greatest personnel risk to corporate data as a result of their attitude towards IT security and usage behavior on corporately-managed mobile devices.  That's a serious concern, as millennials are projected to represent 50 percent of the workforce by 2020.

And while a generational behavior gap may be a bit part of the problem, the overflow of mobile devices into the workplace hasn't helped. Fifty-four percent of respondents said they used two or more devices on a daily basis--including laptops, tablets and mobile phones. And despite the fact that 79 percent preferred having a separate device for work and personal use, 52 percent indicated that they use their employer-managed devices for personal use.

Risk behavior jeopardizing IT security
Boomers Millennials
Compromise IT security 5% 25%
Modify default settings 8% 35%
Use work device for personal use 37% 64%
NSFW* 5% 27%

Millennials reported the most risk-associated mobile behaviors, outpacing Baby Boomers by at least 20 percent in each category (see the table at right).  Yet the study suggested that rank might be an even stronger risk factor. 

Senior-level professionals were the most likely to use corporate devices for personal use (76 percent), access NSFW data (33 percent) and have lost their device in the past 5 years (26 percent).

* NSFW content was considered to be any or all of the following: personal email, online banking, online shopping, social media, public wifi, personal calendar, file sharing, video streaming, eHealthcare use, gaming, online dating, sexting, adult sites, pirated content and gambling.


Who is responsible?

When it came time to point fingers for data security, half of respondents reported it was not their job to maintain security standards, despite the fact that 78 percent said their company "clearly communicates security best practices to its employees."

Legend
Response Percent
Security is not my responsibility 50%
IT is responsible 36%
CSO / security lead 8%
Executive leadership 3%
Other 3%

Source: Absolute Software's US Mobile Device Security Survey Report

About the Author

Jonathan Lutton is an FCW editorial fellow. Connect with him at jlutton@fcw.com

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