Is Gen Y Bypassing BYOD Policies?

New study from Fortinet shows a surprising disregard for BYOD policies.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Oct 21, 2013
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In the modern connected world, the Bring Your Own Device phenomenon, more commonly referred to by the acronym BYOD, is commonplace. Employees bring their own smartphones and mobile devices and use their own email and social media services, which all pose risks to enterprise IT.

According to a new study sponsored by enterprise networking vendor Fortinet, younger employees exhibit a surprising disregard for corporate BYOD policies. The study surveyed 3,200 employees between the ages of 21 and 32: the so-called "Generation Y" demographic.

More than half (51 percent) of the study's respondents stated that they would bypass any BYOD policy at work. Fortinet did a similar study in 2012, and found that at the time, only 36 percent would bypass BYOD policies.

Adding further insult to injury, the same group of people admitted that they have been victims of cyber-attacks. Over half of respondents (55 percent) revealed that their own desktop and laptop devices have been attacked. Going a step further, the respondents noted that those attacks had impacted their productivity and potentially cost them corporate or personal data. Attacks on smartphones were less frequent then desktop and laptops, at least, with only 19 percent of the survey base reporting them.

While attacks on personal devices are common, not everyone that is attacked will actually tell their employer. Fortinet's study found that 14 percent of respondents would not tell their employer if a personal device that was also used for work was compromised.

"It's worrying to see policy contravention so high and so sharply on the rise, as well as the high instances of Generation Y users being victims of cybercrime," John Maddison, vice president of marketing for Fortinet, said in a statement.

Cloud

Looking beyond just BYOD as employees using personal devices for work-related purposes, Fortinet also asked about the use of personal cloud services.

Among those that use a personal cloud storage service, 70 percent of respondents admitted to using the account for work related activities. Over a third (36 percent) of the study's participants that admitted to using some form of personal cloud storage service like DropBox in order to store work data said that they would violate corporate policies prohibiting those services.

In terms of what the employees use cloud storage for, 33 percent said customer data, 22 percent said private documents including business plans, 16 percent said financial information and 12 percent said storage of work passwords.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist

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