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Research reveals Gen Y employees more likely than ever to violate BYOD policies

  • Lanier Norville By

New research from Fortinet reveals the growing likelihood of Generation Y employees to contravene corporate policies governing the use of BYOD devices and personal cloud storage accounts. Earlier this month, the network security appliance maker surveyed 3,200 employees aged 21-32 and discovered a 42 percent increase in the willingness to break usage rules compared to a similar Fortinet survey conducted last year[1].

The new research also describes the extent to which Generation Y have been victims of cybercrime on their own devices, their ‘threat literacy’ and their widespread practice for storing corporate assets on personal cloud accounts.


 A Propensity to Break the Rules

Forty-five percent of respondents agree that BYOD policies empower them. But 51 percent said they would contravene policies banning the use of personal devices at work or for work. Similarly, 36 percent of respondents using their own personal cloud storage (e.g. DropBox) accounts for work purposes said they would break rules to continue. On the subject of emerging technologies such as Google Glass and smart watches, almost half (48 percent) would contravene employer policies designed to curb their use.

A Positive Outlook for Wearable Technology in the Workplace

When asked how long it would take for wearable technologies such as smart watches and Google Glass to become widespread at work or for work purposes, 16 percent said ‘immediately.’ Thirty-three percent believe the devices will become common in the workplace when costs come down. Only 8 percent of respondents disagreed that the technologies would become widespread.

Continued Use of Personal Cloud Accounts

Eighty-nine percent of the sample has a personal account for at least one cloud storage service with DropBox accounting for 38 percent of the total sample. Seventy percent of personal account holders have used their accounts for work purposes. Of those account holders, 12 percent have stored work passwords, 16 percent have stored financial information, 22 percent have stored critical private documents like contracts/business plans and 33 percent have stored customer data.

Almost a third of the cloud storage users said they fully trust the cloud for storing their personal data. Only 6 percent cited lack of trust as an aversion to personal cloud storage.

Threat Literacy and BYOD

More than 52 percent of respondents appeared completely uneducated on threats such as APTs, DDoS, Botnets and Pharming, which represents an opportunity for IT departments to educate users.

The survey also showed a positive correlation between BYOD usage and threat literacy, suggesting that BYOD policies can lead to enhanced understanding of data security threats. The more frequently a respondent engaged in BYOD, the better they understood associated threats.


[1] Fortinet Internet Security Census 2012 polled 3,872 20-29 year old employees in 15 countries and asked the same question.


Lanier Norville

Lanier Norville

Lanier Norville has been writing and editing for online publications for six years. Before joining AirWatch, she was the editor of three medical technology magazines including the award-winning publication TechNation.

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