WT Business Beat

By Nick Wakeman

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These kids today

Symantec has a new study out on the technology habits of the Millennials ? people born since 1980. If you are an information technology manager, there is some scary stuff in this report.

Of those surveyed, 46 percent said they have downloaded software for personal use onto a work computer.

When it comes to doing their job, 45 percent said they would stick to company-issued software and hardware. That means that 55 percent will use non-approved software and devices. That's stuff that's not under the control of the IT department.

Fifty-nine percent said they should be entitled to use whatever devices that are needed to get the job done.

Again, that looks like a huge risk factor.

But it isn't all about fear.

For Samir Kapuria, one of the authors of the report, the findings are a call to action on a couple fronts.

One, companies need to improve training and awareness programs that explain risks. The findings show that a significant number of both Millennials and those born before 1980 (Kuperia calls them the others) are not adequately trained or aware of security policies.

IT managers need to determine where the points of vulnerability are, what devices are being used and how they are being used.

But companies can't pass down edicts to the Millennials, Kuperia said. These workers want to know the answer to the question: Why do we need to do this?

"You need to take a coaching posture," he said. "Millennials are eager to learn."

The second point, and probably the more challenging aspect, is that companies can benefit by finding a way to harness the social networking skills of this new generation of workers.

These workers want to communicate and interact at work just as they do in their private lives.

"There is a lot of potential for gleaning efficiencies in how information is gathered and shared," Kuperia said.

So the lesson I think for geezers like me is to listen a little bit to those kids and their new fangled devices. We might just learn something.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Mar 21, 2008 at 9:55 AM

Reader Comments

Tue, Mar 25, 2008 Bob Martin TX

I'm one of the old geezers but I think I understand. I have been using PC's as a tool since 1978 when it was a CPM driven machine with a text based word processor. The generation behind me and the one behind them have grown up with computers, they carry around in their hands, that have more processing power than the first Cray. These people are accustomed to getting things done in a hurry and they have zero patience for going backwards. Give them the latest technology and don't try to dictate what they will use and they will be happy. Don't hamstring them with the IT Czar mentality and you won't have a problem. Try to make them do things they feel are antiquated and slow and you will have many, many problems. They are going to try to get their jobs done with the greatest efficiency, in their minds, not yours.

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