Does the mere thought of working with Millennials keep you or your IT manager up at night? It doesn’t have to.
While also often dubbed “Generation Y” or even “The ME Generation” and potentially portrayed as spoiled social media addicts with no regard for personal privacy, we’re actually just as concerned with protecting our digital property as you are.
Yes, I said “we.” I’m a member of that group, too.
Prior to working with BlackBerry, drafting blog posts, newsletters, and marketing content from my mobile device was already second nature to me. While mobile security policies and procedures used to be a foreign language, I now understand the importance of safeguarding company data and keeping personal data private by using separate and hardened work-personal containers.
But what about my peers?
Three People, Three Perspectives
In a quest to find out how other Millennials follow mobile security practices, I reached out to three up-and-coming Millennial professionals to gauge their work habits.
Dannah Sanchez, 26, is a Production Coordinator for an all-in-one marketing firm dedicated to helping businesses grow. The firm specializes in web design and marketing solutions for the auto, dental, and healthcare industries.
Christian Cesar, 24, was previously Coverage Site Editor of the Pac-12 Networks which covers all of the sporting events for a dozen prestigious universities in its conference.
Finally, Megan Brooks, 24, is a Digital Marketing Assistant for a major-league sports team.
After talking to my friends and reflecting on my own experiences, I discovered that Millennials aren’t throwing mobile security policies out the window, but they do need more knowledge of the subject to protect themselves, their companies, and their careers.
Watts: What are your daily responsibilities at work?
Sanchez: I help design websites, do a lot of work with Google AdWords, and am constantly coordinating with the marketing department for research and marketing materials. I’m also deeply involved in front-end and back-end content development for my clients.
Cesar: I watch multiple sports games and push live content out on social media in real-time, such as in-game highlights, GIFs, and live game clips. Aside from that, I upload all of the videos to their respective sites, write content descriptions, titles, and link them to the college or university.
Brooks: I create content for our social channels, build emails for internal communication, build pages and manage the website, and I’m also involved with creating after-the-game recaps.
Watts: How many of those tasks are done on a mobile device?
Sanchez: A significant amount, but not all of them. I mainly use my device for work when traveling – primarily to email or chat with clients and colleagues, as well as research and web surf for the campaigns I manage.
Other than that, my mobile phone and tablet are mainly for personal use like banking, school-related tasks, social media, and keeping up with the news. And also for apps! My favorites are Outlook, Evernote, Instagram, Twitter, and NPR.
Cesar: Most of my tasks are done from a work computer, but during live events I do use Instagram and Snapchat from my mobile. Every two weeks we have conference calls, and I use my phone for that and for checking emails when I’m not near the computer. Primarily for social media to keep up with friends and web surfing. I’m a heavy app user; my apps of choice are Snapchat and Instagram.
Brooks: Most of my day-to-day duties are done from a computer. I only check emails from my device. For personal use, I use it for social media and also have lifestyle apps for day-to-day living. I love taking and looking at pictures, browsing the Internet, and staying on top of things.
Watts: Has your employer given you a mobile device for work?
Sanchez: Just a laptop.
Cesar: No. However, I’m starting a new position next week that may require me to use my own.
Watts: So you can you use your mobile device for work? Or is it permitted by your employer?
Sanchez: We’re allowed to use our phones for work. We’re also able to check out devices like tablets from our IT department for trade shows and events.
Cesar: Yes, I can use my phone for work.
Brooks: Yes, I can use my mobile device for work. I use it for email and social media the most. My employer has never said I couldn’t use my phone. It’s common for us to use our phones in this industry since some of our technology focuses on mobile technology.
Watts: Have you ever had a discussion with your employer about BYOD?
Sanchez: Yes, all employees get trained on this because we have the option of using our own devices or ones that the company owns.
Brooks: Not an extensive one. We’ve considered bringing in tablets for game days, but I have never had to bring my own device.
Watts: Are you familiar with mobile security?
Sanchez: Yes, this knowledge is required for the services that my company provides.
Cesar: Nothing specific. I’m aware of not putting certain information in public places, but that’s about it.
Brooks: I know how to protect my privacy, but I don’t read up on it a lot.
Watts: Have you been given any training about privacy and security measures for mobile devices?
Sanchez: I can’t go into too much detail, but my company has provided me with an extensive overview of mobile security for personal and professional devices. They also regularly update employees with this information.
Cesar: During on-boarding I received a pamphlet about security measures but no in-depth training. However, our IT department has occasionally reached out to us about not opening certain emails that may contain spam.
Brooks: Possibly during the initial HR training.
Watts: Would you like more training and information about mobile security?
Sanchez: Absolutely – you can always get more training.
Cesar: Yes, you’ve piqued my interest on the subject matter.
Brooks: Yes, I’m open to learning more about it.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Millennials may not all be of one mind on the subject, but Millennial workers do have certain perceptions of and expectations for mobile security.
The good: Your Millennial employees may not be sending out reports on behalf of the company from the same device where selfies are stored. Unless it’s absolutely necessary to use our devices for work, some prefer to keep personal and professional lives as separate as possible.
The bad: Because this generation heavily uses mobile devices – and will probably use them a lot more for work as they age, climb the ladder, and adapt to the changing mobile workforce – the need for more education about mobile security is critical.
And the ugly: Millennials may not automatically consider data protection and security when purchasing mobile devices. If employed in positions that enable mobile technology and productivity, there may be a need for more information to get the best devices that can be both productive and secure.
But there’s hope: There are opportunities to educate Millennials about mobile security, and there are groups in the workforce willing to learn.
It might not be their first inclination to pursue it, but that can be shaped, just as their prevailing interests were shaped.
If you have any experience working with Millennials and IT in your organization, or if you’re a Millennial yourself, sound off in the comments below!