Most young professionals shun IT policies – survey

19 Dec 2011

The next generation of employees entering the workforce – a demographic that has grown up with the internet and an on-demand lifestyle – is posing concerns for employers with respect to IT security.

The Cisco Connected World Technology Report reveals that 70pc of young employees frequently ignore IT policies and go to great lengths to stay connected to the internet, even if it compromises their company or their own security.

One in five (19pc) respondents in the survey of more than 2,800 college students and young professionals in 14 countries indicated they have secretly used neighbours’ wireless connections and the same percentage admitted to sitting in front of businesses to access free Wi-Fi networks.

When it comes to shunning IT policies, 33pc of respondents said they believe they weren’t doing anything wrong. One in five (22pc) cited the need to access unauthorised programmes and applications to get their job done, while 19pc admitted the policies are not enforced. Some (18pc) said they do not have time to think about policies when they are working, and others either said adhering to the policies is not convenient (16pc), they forget to do so (15pc), or their bosses aren’t watching them (14pc).

Disrespect for IT departments

Considering that 36pc of survey participants responded negatively when asked if they respect their IT departments, balancing IT policy compliance with young employees’ desires for more flexible access to social media, devices, and remote access is testing the limits of traditional corporate cultures.

The survey also revealed that 67pc of respondents said IT policies need to be modified to address real-life demands for more work flexibility.

“The role of IT in any business is to successfully bring together technology architectures and business architectures,” said Rebecca Jacoby, CIO, Cisco.

“As workforces become increasingly mobile, the shift in IT infrastructure means that security and policy are no longer an ‘add-on’ but the highest priority,” Jacoby added.

“These findings indicate a real need for a thoughtful and strategic approach for the types of IT services offered while taking into consideration the established processes and culture of any organisation to create stronger, trusted relationships between employees and IT departments.”