Next generation of employees doesn't respect IT rules

By Stuart Sumner
16 Dec 2011 View Comments
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The youngest generation of enterprise professionals aged between 18 and 30 have little respect for their company's IT policies, and many feel that breaking them is necessary to perform their jobs well.

This is one of the findings of a new report from Cisco called Cisco Connected World Technology Report.

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The report found that 25 per cent of young employees have been a victim of identity theft – possibly as a result of the 75 per cent that regularly ignore IT policies.

Rebecca Jacoby, CIO at Cisco, said the flexible working arrangements preferred by the younger generation of workers increases the need for tight security policies.

"As workforces become increasingly mobile, the shift in IT infrastructure means that security and policy are no longer an 'add-on' but the highest priority," she said.

John N Stewart, chief security officer at Cisco, pointed to the desire of the next generation of workers to use social media, and explained that IT must find a way to support this.

"The next-generation workforce is looking for more open access to information and social media," he said. "The findings outlined in the Cisco Connected World Technology Report provide valuable insights into how we must adapt IT and security policies to enable mobility and productivity while still managing risk."

He added that, if successful, these policies could enable a productivity boost. "Done well, security enables mobility and social media access to provide the necessary productivity boost."

The report also warned that younger workers expect access to information on-demand, and will ignore security policies to pursue this data over the internet if they cannot get it through approved channels.

"Such behavior includes secretly using neighbors' wireless connections, sitting in front of businesses to access free Wi-Fi networks, and borrowing other people's devices without supervision," it stated.

Over a third of respondents stated that they did not respect their IT departments, suggesting that IT must also work on its PR. Younger employees want flexible access to social media, mobile devices and remote access, which stretches the limits of some corporate cultures.

However, the report also stated that failing to meet these expectations could mean that the brightest talent looks elsewhere.

"These employee demands are placing greater pressure on recruiters, hiring managers, IT departments and corporate cultures to allow more flexibility in the hope the next wave of talent can provide an edge over competitors."

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