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How Millennials Affect the Workplace and Data Security

Posted March 24, 2015 by Lynn Brown

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Millennials are becoming one of the most influential generations in terms of what the workplace and data security will look like in coming years.

Born in the 1980s and '90s, they are the largest generation in the U.S. workforce today. The first wave is in their thirties, and by 2020, 46% of all workers will be millennials.

Being tech savvy is what makes this generation so extraordinary – and influential.

As Forrester Research put it, technology has shaped much of their lives. millennials (or Generation C’s – C is for Connected) have grown up with online shopping, smartphones, and social media. In 2014, more than eight in 10 used a smartphone, and almost half used a tablet.

But while technology drives almost everything they do, there appears to be a lack of regard for data security. As this darkreading.com article points out, that’s what information experts are most concerned about.

A survey by TrackVia, a DIY business application platform, showed that 60% of millennials “aren't concerned about corporate security when they use personal apps instead of corporate-approved apps.”

And despite BYOD policies that ban certain apps, nearly 50% bring personal apps into the workplace “because corporate apps can’t do what they need them to do”. Furthermore, 35% use their own apps because corporate-approved apps cannot be used across different devices.

Since every business will be hiring this group, if they haven’t already, it’s important to know what a workplace can do to keep confidential information safe.

  • Follow their lead. Since millennials are so immersed in technology, experts recommend harnessing their knowledge to benefit the workplace. For example, knowing what they download to use for their job can identify solutions that address demonstrated needs. One goal should be to work more closely with them. Currently, the TrackVia survey showed that 69% of millennials say they never work with IT to select new business apps.
  • Rethink apps. According to a wired.com article, 2012 research showed that YouTube and Skype were often outlawed by IT departments. But YouTube has proven to be an informative social marketing tool while Skype is an essential communications tool.
  • Share the wealth. Introduce reverse mentoring in the workplace – so millennials share their tech-savvy habits with older generations.
  • Utilize new technology. Consider multi-persona virtualization, which creates and separates multiple user personas at the operating system level on a single smartphone. According to a SecureWorld article, malware on the personal persona cannot get to the professional persona. As a result, the IT department could manage the context in which apps are used without affecting what employees do on their personal personas.
  • Data security training. It’s important that all employees receive on-going training and regular updates about organizational policies and procedures.
  • Integrate information security. Information security should be an integral part of workplace processes. For example, partner with a document shredding company for information destruction. The company should provide locked consoles for the workplace and secure shredding.

For more ways to protect information, introduce millennials to the essentials – and importance – of legislative compliance in our Document Management E-book.


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