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Millennials are a bigger risk to mobile security than any other generation

Around half of the workforce will be millennials by 2020, but according to a new survey by endpoint security specialists Absolute Software (opens in new tab) they're likely to present a bigger risk to data security.

The survey questioned more than 750 Americans over the age of 18 who work for a company with 50 or more employees and use an employer-owned mobile device.

Whilst 79 per cent of those surveyed prefer separate devices for work and personal use, 52 per cent do use their work devices for personal purposes and 14 percent believe their behaviour puts their organisation's security at risk.

Security isn't their responsibility according to 50 per cent of respondents and 30 per cent believe there should be no penalty for losing company data. It's when you start breaking down the responses into groups that they become really interesting though.

Whilst only five per cent of baby boomers compromise IT security the figure jumps to 25 per cent for millennials. 64 per cent use their work machine for personal use compared to only 37 percent of boomers, and 27 per cent have not safe for work content on their device compared to only five percent.

Position in the organisation makes a difference too, with those higher up the command chain more likely to be putting data at risk. Of those at a senior level 76 per cent admit to personal use, 33 per cent to NSFW content and 26 per cent have lost a device in the last five years. At the bottom of the executive food chain whilst 51 per cent admit to personal use just nine per cent have NSFW content and only five per cent have lost a device.

"We conducted this survey with the intention of helping enterprises better understand the current attitudes that employees have towards data security and privacy," says Stephen Midgley, vice president, Global Marketing at Absolute Software. "Armed with this information, our customers can consider user behaviour as an additional data point in their endpoint security and data risk management strategies".

The report recommends that to stay safe businesses need to implement a security solution on their devices, train employees on best practices and build policies to address risky behaviours. Midgley adds, "Ultimately, everyone is responsible for protecting sensitive business information. Knowing there is ambiguity between how different users may approach this requirement, IT leaders need to provide meaningful guidance and training that reinforces this collective accountability".

The full report is available from the Absolute Software (opens in new tab) website.

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Image Credit: Syda Productions (opens in new tab) / Shutterstock (opens in new tab)

Ian Barker worked in information technology before discovering that writing about computers was easier than fixing them. He has worked for a staff writer on a range of computer magazines including PC Extreme, was editor of PC Utilities, and has written for TechRadar, BetaNews, IT Pro Portal, and LatestGadgets.