Young employees say BYOD a 'right' not 'privilege'

Many would break any anti-BYOD rules and contravene a company's security policy forbidding them to use their personal devices at work

A survey that asked thousands of young "20-something" workers their attitudes about bring-your-own-device"policies found slightly more than half view it as their "right" to use their own mobile devices at work, rather than BYOD being just a "privilege."

Fortinet, which sponsored the survey, says it decided to focus the BYOD-related questions specifically on college-educated employees between the ages of 20 and 29 because this younger segment - the future of the workforce - is digitally savvy, and their first phone may be a smartphone.

The 3872 young workers responding to the BYOD survey said they already regularly engage in the practice of using personally owned mobile devices at work. And apparently thumbing their noses at corporate policies, 1 out of 3 said they would gladly break any anti-BYOD rules and "contravene a company's security policy that forbids them to use their personal devices at work or for work purposes."

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The survey was conducted by research firm Vision Critical last month in 15 countries, including the US, UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland, United Arab Emirates, India, South Korea, China, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan and Hong Kong. India was the country where the highest percentage of young workers, 66 per cent, admitted they already have or would contravene policies banning BYOD device use. In addition, about 30 per cent of all those surveyed indicated they'd contravene policy on "non-approved applications." Sixty-nine percent want a Bring Your Own Application environment where "users create and use their own custom applications at work".

Two-thirds of those surveyed believe they, not the company, should be responsible for the security of devices used for work purposes.

"The survey clearly reveals the great challenge faced by organizations to reconcile security and BYOD," said Patrice Perche, international vice president of international sales and support for Fortinet.

"While users want and expect to use their own devices for work, mostly for personal convenience, they do not want to hand over responsibility for security on their devices to the organization."

Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG publication and website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security.

Read more about anti-malware in Network World's Anti-malware section.

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