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Young workers view BYOD as a right, not a privilege

But many are ignoring the security risks, research finds

By Steve Evans

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Most young people entering the workplace have an expectation that they will be able to use their own device, but few pay attention to the security risks, according to new research.

The research, from network security vendor Fortinet, quizzed 3,800 workers in their 20s, which Fortinet says represents the management and senior decision-makers of tomorrow.

Nearly three quarters (74%) of respondents said they regularly use their own device for work purposes, while 55% says using their own device at work is a ‘right’ rather than a ‘privilege’.

The survey revealed just how reliant many young people are on using their own devices, to the extent that they would ignore company policy if it banned them from doing so. More than one-third of respondents (36%) admitted they have or would contravene a corporate policy that stopped them from using their own device.

This is despite the fact that nearly half (41%) of respondents said they understood the risks of data loss and the potential damage exposure to malicious threats could do to their business though insecure personal devices.

The survey seems to suggest it is the apps that really draw people into using their own devices at work. Around one-third (35%) said they could not go through the day without checking social networks on the personal devices, while 47% said the same about text messaging applications.

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Interestingly the vast majority (66%) of respondents claimed responsibility for the security of their personal device was theirs, while 22% said it was the responsibility of their employer.

"While users want and expect to use their own devices for work, mostly for personal convenience, they do not want to hand over responsibility for security on their own devices to the organisation," said Patrice Perche, international vice president of international sales & support for Fortinet.

"Within such an environment, organisations must re-gain control of their IT infrastructure by strongly securing both inbound and outbound access to the corporate network and not just implement mobile device management," she said. "Organisations cannot rely on a single technology to address the security challenges of BYOD. The most effective network security strategy requires granular control over users and applications, not just devices."

The survey involved 3,872 university graduate level individuals aged 20 to 29 and in full time employment, who own their own smartphone, tablet or laptop. Respondents were from USA, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland, UAE, India, South Korea, China, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan and Hong Kong.

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