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Mythbusting: the millennial workforce and cyber security

Lizzy Foster. Ref. Hewlett Packard, February 2017 
June 13th 2017
Lizzy Foster. Ref. Hewlett Packard, February 2017
This article draws upon the HP.com online article by author George Webster. He broached the question of the impact of the millennial generation as part of a wider article into key facts of cyber security. Read his full article here .

The key statistic underpinning both the Be Cyber Aware At Sea campaign and this Maritime Cyber Security Awareness course is that more than 80% of cyber security incidents are the result of human error. Therefore the single biggest weakness of any maritime or shipping company will be its human workforce.

Who are the millennial workforce?
The millennial generation (aged 35 and under for this purpose) is the first for whom computer technology is an accepted part of their lives and has played a significant role in their development. By 2020 millennials will form 50% of the workforce.

So, is this millennial generation, being 'au fait' with technology, a smarter workforce when it comes to cyber security? You would imagine so but, as the International Data Corporation unveiled, the truth is more complicated.

Big on backing-up
Starting with the good news, firms led by millennial executives are 71% more likely to be backing-up their data than peers. Backing-up your data is a key part of protecting your organisation from the impact of cyber crime and great practice.

Keen on the Cloud
Firms led by millennial executives are 44% more likely to adopt cloud workload back-up. Cloud technology can be a positive tool for firms, allowing their workforce to tap into their core data wherever they are, but it comes with significant risks. Instant access to sensitive information on smart devices and laptops creates many potential opportunities for cyber criminals too.

Navigating the network
As millennials increasingly work from mobile devices, they are also more likely to print from them, 39% in comparison to 8% of 35yr and over. Printing in this manner requires a wifi network of printers which can pose a security risk as cyber criminals can use the printer network to hack into a business.

Rules made to be broken
Perhaps the most alarming statistics are to do with the attitude of millennials to the policies adopted by their places of work.

70% of millennials have admitted to bringing external applications into the enterprise in violation of IT policies. 60% 'aren't concerned about corporate security when they use personal apps instead of corporate apps.'

Poor on passwords
53% of the 'baby boomer' generation use secure passwords, but this falls to 33% of the millennial generation.

Looking ahead
Fundamentally it appears that while the millennial workforce are far more comfortable and confident with cyber technology and more likely to utilise beneficial technology at an executive level, there is a lack of awareness of, or importance attached to, being cyber secure.

If attitudes do not change then the millennial generation seem predicted to place companies and industries at far greater risk, using more technology more freely but without grasping the increased need to be cyber secure. Luckily awareness is easy to remedy and attitudes can change in tandem.