ShareFile Blog

How millennials are changing the cyber security game

Millennials, digital natives, Generation Y, Echo Boomers—whatever you call the generation of people born between 1980 to 1995, one thing is clear: They’re changing the workforce.

By 2025, millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce. Businesses will have to adapt their processes and security strategies to attract and retain talent, and satisfy changing expectations.

An experience-driven generation

Not only do millennials value experiences over material things, but they expect more meaning from work, research shows. These highly mobile, digitally savvy workers want a flexible work style—so much so that they are willing to change jobs until they find it, according to a recent Gallup study.

The study reports that “the benefits and perks that employees truly care about are those that offer them greater flexibility, autonomy, and the ability to lead a better life.”

The flexibility also creates more productive, more engaged work: “The optimal engagement boost occurs when employees spend 60 to 80 percent of their time—or three to four days a week—working remotely,” the study found.

A new security risk for businesses

While the ability to work from anywhere is making millennial workers more productive and satisfied, it also comes with increased security risks for business.

A recent study by the Ponemon Institute and Citrix reveals that millennials pose the greatest risk to sensitive and confidential data in the workplace. A generation that was raised with technology won’t settle for poor, outdated enterprise technology—which means that they’re also the most likely to circumvent security policies and use unapproved apps and devices, according to the study.

For example, if an employee shares corporate files through personal apps and devices, they’re putting your proprietary data at risk.

Balancing expectations and security

So how do you give millennials what they want while protecting your business?

First, you have to make it easy for them. Understand that they’ll bypass an IT policy or tool if it makes it too hard to do their job. Anything you provide needs to be as easy to use as the cloud apps and services they’re used to.

ShareFile, for example, is an enterprise-grade file storage and sharing service that makes it easy to share files securely with the user experience millennials expect.

“Everyone is susceptible to a security breach,” says Stan Black, Citrix senior vice president and chief security and information officer. “Security is a global concern, and whether you’re a large government organization or a small business, the time to act is now. Take a strategic approach, look at the big picture, educate your workforce to create a security-aware culture, and find comprehensive solutions that adhere to the unique needs of your business.”

Interested in learning more about what your company can do to protect itself in a time when it feels like everyone is a target? Join us for a live webinar, “A Hackers Guide To Protecting Yourself,” at 1 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Oct. 31, with world famous cybersecurity expert, ethical hacker, author, and former U.S. Marine Bryan Seely. Register now!