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Generation Y Users Say They Will Break Corporate BYOD Rules

Majority of users ages 21 to 32 say they would flout company policies restricting the use of personal devices

Most young employees are so dependent on their mobile devices that they are prepared to break any policy that restricts their use, according to a new study.

In a survey of 3,200 employees from Generation Y (ages 21 to 32), researchers at Fortinet found that 51 percent were prepared to contravene any policy banning the use of personal devices at work or for work purposes.

And this attitude is spreading to other technologies: Thirty-six percent of respondents using their own personal cloud storage accounts (e.g., Dropbox) for work purposes said they would break any rules brought in to stop them. On the subject of emerging technologies such as Google Glass and smartwatches, almost half (48 percent) would contravene any policy brought in to curb use of these at work.

Eighty-nine percent of the users surveyed have a personal account for at least one cloud storage service, with Dropbox accounting for 38 percent of the total sample, Fortinet says. Seventy percent of personal account holders have used their accounts for work purposes.

Twelve percent of this group admits to storing work passwords using these accounts, and 16 percent have stored financial information, the study says. Twenty-two percent of the respondents have stored critical private documents, such as contracts/business plans in their cloud accounts, while one-third (33 percent) have stored customer data.

Almost one-third (32 percent) of the cloud storage users sampled stated they fully trust the cloud for storing their personal data, with only 6 percent saying they don't use cloud services because they don't trust them.

When asked if their personal devices had ever been compromised, over 55 percent of respondents indicated that they had experienced an attack on personally owned PCs or laptops. About half of these respondents said the compromise had an impact on their productivity and/or they had experienced a loss of personal and/or corporate data. Attacks were far less frequent on smartphones and laptops (both 19 percent).

Fourteen percent of respondents said they would not tell an employer if a personal device they used for work purposes became compromised.

"It's worrying to see policy contravention so high and so sharply on the rise, as well as the high instances of Generation Y users being victims of cybercrime," said John Maddison, vice president of marketing at Fortinet. "On the positive side, however, 88 percent of the respondents accept that they have an obligation to understand the security risks posed by using their own devices. Educating employees on the threat landscape and its possible impact is another key aspect for ensuring an organization's IT security."

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add a Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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