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Millennials are increasing security risk

Byron Connolly | July 13, 2017
Unapproved apps and devices a threat.

Kendall Jenner

Those pesky Kendall Jenner-watching millennials are the biggest threat to the security of your tech infrastructure, according to a new study.

The majority (71 per cent) of Australian security, IT and business professionals responding to research conducted by the Ponemon Institute and Citrix said the growing number of millennials in the workplace to be an increasing risk to their IT infrastructure. 

More than half (55 per cent) of respondents across Australia and New Zealand consider millennials – who are bringing mobile apps, devices and new methods of information sharing and collaboration to the workplace – pose the greatest risk to sensitive and confidential data. This compares to 26 per cent for Gen X and 19 per cent for Baby Boomers.

The study found that each generation – millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers – are susceptible to different kinds of security vulnerabilities. Almost one-third (30 per cent) of Gen Xers – born between 1965 and 1980 – were most likely to be negligent or careless when following organisational security policies.

Meanwhile, 32 per cent said Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, are most susceptible to phishing and social engineering scams.

Cybercrime poses a significant threat to Australian businesses with an annual direct cost of $1 billion, according to the Australian Crime Commission.

“With that in mind, it’s particularly concerning to see that A/NZ security professionals don’t feel confident they can protect their organisations’ security, especially with the new working behaviours we’re seeing from millennial employers,” said Citrix’s Asia Pacific region VP, Les Williamson.

“The modern workforce is more flexible and traditional security approaches need to evolve to keep up especially with the stakes so high. A more flexible IT security architecture must consider the needs of the workforce, including generational differences.

“It should extend beyond traditional fixed end-point security approaches so it delivers threat detection and protection of our apps and data at all stages,” he said.

The influx of new unapproved apps and devices also meant that security professionals weren’t confident in their ability to defend their organisations.

When asked about their effectiveness in reducing risk from these apps and devices, 36 per cent felt ineffective.

 

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