Younger workforce would rather pay ransom than invest in good cybersecurity practices: Report

Younger workers are more accepting of personal devices at work and consider them less of a security risk (71 percent) than older workers (79 percent)

Professionals under 30 years of age have practically grown up in the digital age. So one would naturally assume that they would be on top when it came to good cybersecurity practices. But a latest report on generational attitudes by NTT proves otherwise.

According to a report titled Risk: Value 2019, which studied generational attitudes to cybersecurity by surveying 2,256 organisations in 17 sectors across 20 countries, those who were under 30 scored low on the cybersecurity best practices than those over 30. While the under 30-year-old workforce was aware of cybersecurity-related issues, when it came to implementation of best practices, the older generation was ahead of the curve.

Representational Image.

Representational Image.

"Under-30s, who are born into the digital age, on the other hand, are more laid back about cybersecurity responsibilities. They adopt different working practices and expect to be productive, flexible and agile at work using their own tools and devices. However, half of the respondents think that responsibility for cybersecurity rests solely with the IT department. This is 6 percent higher than respondents in the older age categories," states the report. The older generation who have spent longer at workplaces and acquired skills and digital DNA during their stint, have an advantage over the young 'uns.

Some of the major highlights of the report were:

  • Under-30s are more likely to consider paying a ransom to hacker (39 percent) than over 30s (30 percent). This has more to do with impatience among the younger workforce to get the systems back and running.
  • 46 percent of under-30s are worried their company doesn’t have the right cybersecurity skills and resources in-house.
  • Younger workers are more accepting of personal devices at work and consider them less of a security risk (71 percent) than older workers (79 percent).
  • 94 percent of respondents over-30s and 89 percent of under-30s were of the belief that preventing a security attack should be a regular boardroom agenda.

Regionally speaking, the under-30s in France and Brazil were found to be leaders when it came to good practices in their countries. In the Nordics, USA, UK and Hong Kong, the middle-aged over-30 employees had acquired a lot of 'digital DNA' which gave them a good grasp of implementing good security practices.

In terms of concerns among a multi-generational workforce, the rise of Internet of Things (IoT) devices is perceived to be a potential security threat to the organisation by 61 percent respondents under-30 and 59 percent respondents over-30. When it comes to government intervention, the elderly (69 percent over-30) think it's reasonable for governments to demand that businesses release data on individuals if they have a special reason to do so.

Speaking about the report, NTT CEO, Security, Matt Gyde said, "It’s clear from the research that the workforce has a very different approach and attitude to cybersecurity, depending on age. Businesses must transform their approach to security if they are to engage all generations. Most important is ensuring that employees understand that security is everyone’s business, and isn’t simply a role for IT."

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