Mobile Security Demographics: High-Paid Young Men are Riskier

Posted on April 16, 2015

In the new Running the Risk security threat study shows that the way that younger male employees use their mobile devices poses the biggest risk to enterprise data. The Securing #GenMobile: Is Your Business Running the Risk security threat study released this week by Breezy partner Aruba Networks questioned more than 11,500 workers in 23 countries.

The report says that employees are indifferent to security in the workplace, and that highly regulated and tech savvy industries, higher-earning males, and emerging markets pose the greatest risk to enterprise data security. Among the key findings in the report:

Regardless of geography, the Aruba survey found that enterprise employees between 25 to 34 years old were the most likely to have data or their identities stolen, compared to workers over the age of 55. Employees who earned more than $60,000 were found to be more than twice as likely as low-paid employees to have lost company data.

"#GenMobile workers are flexible, transparent and collaborative, willing to take action to drive productivity and business growth," said Ben Gibson, chief marketing officer at Aruba Networks, in a statement. "That said, these employees are also far more willing to share company data, and are notably oblivious toward security."

Three specific behaviors pulled from the study demonstrate how millennial workers are putting enterprise information at risk. According to Aruba, sharing devices is a major cause of information loss, with 6 in 10 millennials admitting to sharing work and personal devices with colleagues. Additionally, nearly one-fifth of employees don't password-protect their devices, and 22% said they purposely don't use security measures so they can share information more easily.

When analyzing specific industries, Aruba found that 39% of respondents from financial institutions admit to losing company data through the misuse of their mobile device, which is 25% higher than the average across all industries surveyed, according to the study. Employees in the public sector (excluding education) are the least likely to report lost or stolen data. Other findings included:

Jared Hansen, CEO and founder of secure mobile printing leader Breezy, says that one of the bright spots in the new Aruba Networks report is that workers in the United States, United Kingdom and Sweden were the least likely to exhibit risky behaviors. Hansen agrees with Aruba's finding that many of the practices centered on information sharing can actually be used to a company's benefit if instituted correctly. "With a solid enterprise mobility management solution in place, firm policies around mobile device security, and lots of training, the more open methods of working and information exchange can increase productivity without endangering data," Hansen said.

Employees Think They're Protected

While users may have some unsafe device usage practices, the study found that most employees believe that their employers will protect them from security problems. 87% of respondents assume that their IT departments are defending them against threats, including threats to their personally-owned mobile devices. Even with that expectation, 31% of respondents admit they have lost mobile device data due to some form of misuse.

Mobile device data loss varies across industries, with the highest amount of data loss being reported by those working in financial institutions, where 39% of respondents admitted to losing data.

There is also a gender disparity when it comes to mobile device data loss, with men more likely to be have lost mobile device data than women. The disparity also carries though to income levels, with higher wage earners more likely to have lost mobile data. According to Aruba, employees earning more than $60K are more than twice as likely as employees earning less than $18K to have lost company financial data, and 20% more likely to lose personal data due to misuse or theft of a mobile device.

Apparently, with age comes the wisdom to not engage in risky security practices. Aruba found that those between the ages of 25 and 34 years old had the highest chances of data and identity theft. Those over the age of 55 were found to be less than half as likely as their younger counterparts to lose mobile data.

Overall, while mobile device technology has some risks, 51% of the study's respondents noted that mobility enables them to be more productive.

The "Securing #GenMobile: Is Your Business Running the Risk" security threat study, which questioned over 11,500 workers across 23 countries worldwide, showcases that employee attitudes are swaying towards more sharing of devices yet an indifferent view to security in the workplace. The study shows that highly regulated and tech savvy industries, higher-earning males, and emerging markets pose the greatest risk to enterprise data security.

The indifference towards security is clear in the reports section on how younger workers select mobile devices. Security ranks fifth behind brand and operating system when those under 35 are making buying decisions, and nearly nine in 10 (87%) think it's the company's responsibility to keep personal and company data safe, not theirs.

Businesses Must Adapt

Hansen points out that the study points up a need for businesses to adapt to the reality that mobile device security must become a corporate priority, and that includes secure mobile printing. "Over a third (37%) of the businesses in the Aruba study say they don't have any type of basic mobile security policy in place. Nearly a fifth (18%) of employees don't even have a password on their devices, which is a basic in any security practice," he says.

"When it comes to secure mobile printing, the numbers are even more shocking, I think. And yet an unsecured mobile device that can access your network of multi-function printers is a real risk. On-device encryption, like the system Breezy uses for its secure mobile printing solutions, can go a long way towards helping to keep your data secure in an environment where the workforce doesn't make security a priority."

Breezy delivers device and operating system agnostic secure mobile printing with on-device encryption for smartphones and tablets running Android and iOS operating systems. Breezy's secure mobile printing technology is fully integrated with leading EMM providers like AirWatch, Aruba, Citrix, Good Technology, IBM (Fiberlink's MaaS360), MobileIron and many others, and can add an extra layer of protection to the mobile devices that connect to your network or store your data. For more information on mobile device security and secure mobile printing, watch this video from Breezy, download The Definitive Guide to Mobile Printing, a free ebook, or click here to schedule a Breezy demo now.

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