Aruba: Millennials Exhibit Riskiest Mobile Behaviors

Millennials are the primary group of workers who are creating gaps in enterprise network security practices, according to a new study from Aruba Networks (ARUN).

Michael Cusanelli, Associate Editor

April 15, 2015

3 Min Read
Ben Gibson chief marketing officer at Aruba Networks
Ben Gibson, chief marketing officer at Aruba Networks

Millennials are the primary group of workers who are creating gaps in enterprise network security practices, according to a new study from Aruba Networks (ARUN).

The so-called #GenMobile workforce exhibits the most frequent risky behavior when using mobile devices in the workplace, the company discovered, which has in turn led to a better understanding of how factors such as age, gender, income level and geography affect workers’ attitudes toward security.

Findings stem from Aruba’s recent “Running the Risk” security threat study, which measured the responses of more than 11,500 workers in 23 countries to understand differences in employee attitudes toward sharing information and mobile security. Aside from the relatively risky behavior of millennials in the workplace, Aruba found higher-earning workers, highly regulated and tech-savvy industries and emerging markets are among the highest threats to enterprise data security.

“#GenMobile workers are flexible, transparent and collaborative, willing to take action to drive productivity and business growth,” said Ben Gibson, chief marketing officer at Aruba Networks, in a statement. “That said, these employees are also far more willing to share company data, and are notably oblivious toward security.”

Three specific behaviors pulled from the study demonstrate how millennial workers are putting enterprise information at risk. According to Aruba, sharing devices is a major cause of information loss, with 6 in 10 millennials admitting to sharing work and personal devices with colleagues. Additionally, nearly one-fifth of employees don’t password-protect their devices, and 22 percent said they purposely don’t use security measures so they can share information more easily.

About 31 percent of workers have lost data due to misuse of a mobile device, while 87 percent assume their IT departments will keep them protected. And finally, more than half of workers surveyed said they were willing to disobey their supervisors to get work done, and 77 percent are willing to perform self-service IT, which could cause additional data leaks.

When analyzing specific industries, Aruba found that 39 percent of respondents from financial institutions admit to losing company data through the misuse of their mobile device,which is 25 percent higher than the average across all industries surveyed, according to the study. Employees in the public sector (excluding education) are the least likely to report lost or stolen data. Other findings included:

  • High-tech employees are nearly twice as likely than hospitality or education workers to provide their passwords to IT.

  • Teachers are 28 percent more likely to store passwords on paper compared to those in high tech, with teachers scoring the lowest when asked if they use a password on their personal devices.

In terms of the riskiest individuals, Aruba found men were 20 percent more likely to have lost personal or enterprise data to to device misuse, and were 40 percent more likely than females to be victims of identity theft.

Enterprise workers in the age range of 25 to 34 years old were the most likely to have data or their identities stolen, compared to workers over the age of 55. Employees who earned more than $60,000 were found to be more than twice as likely as low-paid employees to have lost company data.

Workers in westernized markets such as the United States, United Kingdom and Sweden were the least likely to exhibit risky behaviors, while workers in developing markets such as China, Thailand the United Emirates were the most likely to exhibit risky behavior.

While initially it may seem millennial workers are putting enterprises at risk, Aruba said many of the practices centered around information sharing can actually be used to a company’s benefit if instituted correctly. By adopting more open methods of working and information exchange mixed with firm policies around sharing, enterprises can increase the productivity of their workers while ensuring data does not fall into the hands of hackers.

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About the Author(s)

Michael  Cusanelli

Associate Editor, Penton Technology Group, Channel

Michael Cusanelli is the associate editor for Penton Technology’s channel properties, including The VAR Guy, MSPmentor and Talkin' Cloud. He has written articles and produced video for and is a graduate of Stony Brook University's School of Journalism in New York. In his spare time Michael likes to play video games, watch sci-fi movies and participate in all things nerdy. He can be reached at [email protected]


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