‘GenMobile’ indifferent to enterprise security, warns Aruba


A new survey from Aruba Networks suggests that businesses and IT departments are ill-prepared for the high-risk, high-growth mindset of the up and coming #GenMobile workforce who are now entering the enterprise and driving the BYOD phenomenon.

Aruba’s Securing #GenMobile: Is Your Business Running the Risk study, which questioned over 11,500 workers across 23 countries worldwide, reveals that a younger mobile-centric generation of employees want greater sharing of devices and information, but have an indifferent view to security in the workplace. With the growing trends towards BYOD, disparate practices and attitudes could cause fractures in security enforcement, it warns.

Highly regulated and tech savvy industries, higher-earning males, and emerging markets pose the greatest risk to enterprise data security, according to the study. For example, men are 20 per cent more likely to lose personal or client data due to the misuse of a smartphone, and 40 per cent more likely than females to fall victim to identity theft.

Younger employees wreak havoc on company security too, with respondents over the age of 55 half as likely to experience identity theft or loss of personal/client data compared to younger employees. The age bracket with the highest propensity of data and identity theft are employees between 25-34 years old.

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 15.08.17Interestingly, employees earning more than $60K are more than twice as likely as employees earning less than $18K to have lost company financial data, and 20 per cent more likely to lose personal data due to misuse or theft of a mobile device.

“#GenMobile workers are flexible, transparent and collaborative, willing to take action to drive productivity and business growth. That said, these employees are also far more willing to share company data, and are notably oblivious towards security,” said Ben Gibson, CMO of Aruba Networks.

Sharing, indifference, and self-empowerment

The study reveals three macro trends. First, sharing will become the norm, with six in 10 respondents saying they shared their work and personal devices with others regularly. Nearly a fifth of employees do not have passwords on their devices, with 22 per cent of those stating that they don’t use security measures in order to share more easily.

Second, the survey reveals an indifferent attitudes towards enterprise security among #GenMobile – respondents ranked security fifth, behind brand and operating system when making buying decisions for new devices. Nearly nine in 10 (87 per cent) assume their IT departments will keep them protected, but nearly a third (31 per cent) admit to losing data through the misuse of a mobile device.

The third key trend shows that 51 per cent of employees believe that mobile technologies enable them to be more productive and engaged, and over three quarters (77 per cent) are willing to perform self-service IT.

”The report also found an alarming level of disparity among industries, individuals and countries when it comes to the treatment of mobile devices and data. For example, 39 per cent of respondents from financial institutions admitted losing company data through the misuse of a mobile device – 25 per cent higher than the average across all industries surveyed.

Educators, meanwhile, scored lowest of all industries when it comes to password-protecting their mobile devices, and were 28 per cent more likely to store passwords on a sheet of paper compared to those in high tech.

Lack of basic security practices

The study concludes that businesses may not be prepared for what lies ahead with over a third (37 per cent) not having any type of basic mobile security policy in place, and nearly a fifth (18 per cent) of employees not using any form of protection on their devices, which suggests that employers are not enforcing some basic security practices.

“Organizations should strive to build a secure and operational framework for all workers, rather than stifle them. These trends underline that #GenMobile employees continue to be a growing part of the everyday workforce, but they also bring with them some risky behaviours,” said Gibson.

The full report can be downloaded here: http://page.arubanetworks.com/GenMobileSecurityRiskReport.html?source=www.

Aruba has also developed an online Security Risk Index tool that allows organisations to benchmark their relative mobile security risk level. Take the test here: http://www.arubanetworks.com/mobileriskindex/.

About Author

Gary Eastwood

Gary Eastwood has over 15 years of experience as a technology and business journalist and editor. He has held editorship positions on customer magazines for Microsoft, CSC, and EDF, as well as on B2B magazine Mobile Enterprise. He is the former Deputy Editor of Computer Business Review. In a freelance role, Gary has contributed numerous features and articles to a broad range of publications, including New Scientist, Computer Weekly, MIS, Marketing Week, Corporate Financier, Real Business, Wireless Business Review, and driven marketing communications projects for clients, such as Intel, the Confederation of British Industry, IBM, Logicalis, the Department of Trade & Innovation, and many others. Gary has written many white papers on a range of ITC subjects for Datamonitor. He is also an editorial photographer and business videographer, and has authored and ghost-written four books on photography. He is the Co-Director of EastwoodMiddleton Publishing, which provides contract/customer magazines for a growing list of clients, and publishes the B2B magazine for business leaders, Strategist.