by Constantine von Hoffman

Kids These Days: Younger Employees Really are More of a Security Risk

Dec 15, 20113 mins
Data and Information SecurityMalwareMobile Security

Having grown up with the web, KTDs are more familiar with different parts of it while also being a lot less savvy about using it.

There is a myth that we old fold like to tell about how good Kids These Days are with the internet. It usually has to do with the futility of installing things like Net Nanny software because Kids These Days will find a way around it in minutes. That’s not true. The fact is, having grown up with the web, KTDs are more familiar with different parts of it while also being a lot less savvy about using it. This poses a big problem for security issues.

As Cisco points out in its annual security report:

Today, your “millennial” employees—the people you want to hire because of the fresh ideas and energy they can bring to your business—show up to their first day on the job toting their own phones, tablets, and laptops, and expect to integrate them into their work life. They also expect others—namely, IT staff and chief information officers—to figure out how they can use their treasured devices, anywhere and anytime they want to, without putting the enterprise at risk. Security, they believe, is not really their responsibility: They want to work hard, from home or the office, using social networks and cloud applications to get the job done, while someone else builds seamless security into their interactions.

You, Mr. and Ms. IT Security Person, just rolled your eyes. If you didn’t, you should have.

Having been around the web their entire lives, Kids These Days take it for granted.  It’s always been there and it always will be. This means they have a lot more casual attitude towards posting and distributing information. Everyone knows about KTDs who have gotten into trouble – professional and otherwise – for posting pictures on Facebook, etc. This same cluelessness applies to other types of information as well as other things they do on the internet.

This was driven home to me when I realized that my 15-year-old son’s peers can’t find squat when it comes to specific information on the internet. I was surprised, but Greg explained it perfectly: “You had to search for information when you were growing up, so you learned how to do it. We didn’t. Just hit Google and it’s there.”

The good news about these same employees, though, is that they are a lot less resistant to having security measures installed on personal devices which they use for work. Where mastodons like yours truly might get all libertarian about this, for most KTDs this would be like getting libertarian about the toaster or some other utensil.

So, while they may be clueless about security, they don’t have anything against it either.

P.S., to any KTDs who may read this: Stay off my lawn!