Office Security Risk--by Generation

Whether you were born in the swinging sixties or are part of the slacker generation, some security experts say generational social influences can give you bad habits and make you an office liability.

The workplace is now comprised largely of three distinct generations; The Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y - also known as Millennials or the Echo Boom. CSOonline looked at three areas of security that experts are concerned about when it comes to employee behavior. Read on to find out why your generation might be engaging in some risky conduct that could set your company up for a security breach.

The Millennials

Generation Y, or Millennials, are the youngest generation of today's workers. If you were born after 1980, your probably grew up with play dates, lots of supervision from parents and the Internet. 9/11 was a defining moment in your lives, and it influences your perception of security.

IT security: When it comes to IT security, this is where your boss might have cause to be concerned about you. You IM with friends, log onto Facebook and download iTunes - all during office hours on the company's computer. "For Millennials, there is more blurring of the lines between work and home," said Samir Kapuria, a managing director with Symantec Advisory Consulting Services. In fact, a recent Symantec survey found 66 percent of Millennials said they use Web 2.0 technologies, such as Facebook and YouTube, while at work. The problem? These kinds of Web 2.0 technologies are a huge target for phishing scams or malicious code attacks. That puts your company's precious data at risk.

Physical Security: Want to avoid uncomfortable confrontations in the workplace? Respect your elders. That's the advice of Roberta Chinsky Matuson, president of Human Resource Solutions, a Massachusetts-based consultancy that regularly advises corporations on generational differences. Millennials are showing up with a completely different style of collaborating and listening and that frustrates older workers, she said. Texting in a meeting and answering your cell phone while talking to your boss isn't usually appropriate. Keeping this in mind can help diffuse a potentially explosive situation, said Matuson.

ID and Access: Millennials are also known for having being impatient and having a short attention span, according to Jack Dowling, the president of JD security Consultants LLC in Pennsylvania. That can cause problem when its time to implement a new system for building access and security.

Waiting in line can sometimes be an issue in a security system, depending on how entry control works. Impatient users may view this as a waste of time and try to gain access through an exit door and bypass the security protocol for entry, said. Dowling The good news is Millennials are often eager to please. Your motivation to receive positive feedback and praise means you are likely to comply with a system, as long as you know the rules.

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