October 05, 2015

How Millennials Affect the Workplace and Data Security

Millennials are becoming one of the most influential generations in terms of what the workplace and office security will look like in the coming years.

Born in the 1980s and '90s, they are one of the largest generations in the UK workforce today. The first wave is in their thirties, and by 2020, 50% of the global workforce will be millennials.

Being tech savvy is what makes this generation so extraordinary – and influential. According to a report by PWC, “Millennials’ use of technology clearly sets them apart. One of the defining characteristics of the millennial generation is their affinity with the digital world. They have grown up with broadband, smartphones, laptops and social media being the norm and expect instant access to information. This is the first generation to enter the workplace with a better grasp of a key business tool than more senior workers.”

But while technology drives almost everything they do, millennials in the workplace may pose a unique risk to office security.  A survey in the US by TrackVia, a DIY business application platform, showed that 60% of millennials “aren't concerned about corporate security when they use personal apps instead of corporate-approved apps.”

And despite BYOD policies that ban certain apps, nearly 50% bring personal apps into the workplace “because corporate apps can’t do what they need them to do”. Furthermore, 35% use their own apps because corporate-approved apps cannot be used across different devices.

Since every business will be hiring this group, if they haven’t already, it’s important to know what a workplace can do to keep confidential information safe.

  • Follow their lead. Since millennials are so immersed in technology, experts recommend harnessing their knowledge to benefit the workplace. For example, knowing what they download to use for their job can identify solutions that address demonstrated needs. One goal should be to work more closely with them. Currently, the TrackVia survey showed that 69% of millennials say they never work with IT to select new business apps.
  • Rethink apps. For example, YouTube and Skype are often outlawed by IT departments. But YouTube has proven to be an informative social marketing tool while Skype is an essential communications tool.
  • Share the wealth. Introduce reverse mentoring in the workplace – so millennials share their tech-savvy habits with older generations.
  • Data security training. It’s important that all employees receive on-going training and regular updates about organisational policies and procedures.
  • Integrate information security. Information security should be an integral part of workplace processes. For example, partner with a document shredding company for information destruction. The company should provide locked consoles for the workplace and secure shredding.

For more ways to protect information, introduce millennials to the essentials – and importance – of legislative compliance in our Document Management E-book.