Kids today – Generation gap alive and kicking in the workplace

Friday, 29 June, 2018

New research from cybersecurity firm Centrify has shown that the generation gap between young workers and their bosses is alive and kicking when it comes to apportioning blame for security breaches.

Centrify’s survey of 500 senior decision makers found that more than a third believed the younger generation were the ‘main culprits’ for security breaches in the workplace.

They accused them of being too lax when it came to security measures, too trusting in technology and likely to share data too readily.

But, delve a little deeper and the survey found the older managers were completely out of sync with the reality of the shop floor.

For example, 44% of those surveyed believed that younger workers misused technology, clicked on suspicious links or were prone to removing company information via a USB stick.

But when Centrify surveyed 1,000 18-24-year-olds they found just one-in-ten had actually clicked on a suspicious link and just 7% had removed company data.

In fact, Centrify found that it was senior managers who were more likely to misuse technology, with twice as many managers clicking on a dodgy link compared to younger workers and twice as many took company data home.

It was similar when it came to attitudes from senior managers convinced that younger workers used work devices for personal use.

But when surveyed it revealed that more senior managers admitted to playing games on their work device than youngsters. For example, one-in-eight senior managers admitted using them to gamble while just one-in-twenty youngsters did the same.

Instead the biggest issue for younger workers was a lack of leadership. For instance, youngsters surveyed said that only 40% of employers enforced a regular password change policy despite 56% of managers saying they were worried about password sharing.

Clearly then there is a serious generational gap of perceptions from senior managers and this can be damaging for their businesses.

Some may think of younger workers as always online, always ready to share information and perhaps not being as concerned about privacy or security as older workers, but we must remember they are the business leaders of tomorrow and we must help not hinder them.

- Barry Scott: CTO EMEA, Centrify

This has been a long-standing bugbear within UK’s businesses and organisations, the lack of the right security processes, policies, technologies and training. This has become particularly acute with the recent introduction of the GDPR where lax policies will be severely punished.

Meanwhile the survey reveals that the lack of understanding between the generations that used to be about music and popular culture is still alive and kicking when it comes to new technologies and the workplace.

Image: xflickrx

Tim Bamford author picture


Tim is a veteran freelance journalist writing extensively on internet news and cybersecurity.