Many young employees ignore IT policies: Survey

Two-thirds say policies should address need for work flexibility

Seven out of 10 young employees frequently ignore IT policies, according to a global study from Cisco.

The desire for on-demand access to information is so ingrained in the incoming generation of employees that many young professionals take extreme measures to access the Internet, even if it compromises their company or their own security, found the final set of findings from the three-part Cisco Connected World Technology Report. Such behaviour includes secretly using neighbors' wireless connections, sitting in front of businesses to access free WiFi networks and borrowing other people's devices without supervision.

More than one-third (36 per cent) responded negatively when asked if they respect their IT departments, reflecting young employees' desires for more flexible access to social media, devices and remote access, said Cisco.

“At the same time, these employee demands are placing greater pressure on recruiters, hiring managers, IT departments and corporate cultures to allow more flexibility in the hope the next wave of talent can provide an edge over competitors.”

The global study focused on two surveys, one centring on college students, the other on a group of young professionals in their 20s. Each survey included 100 respondents from each of the 14 countries (Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States), resulting in a survey pool of 2,800 people.

"The role of IT in any business is to successfully bring together technology architectures and business architectures,” said Rebecca Jacoby, CIO of Cisco. “As workforces become increasingly mobile, the shift in IT infrastructure means that security and policy are no longer an add-on but the highest priority."

Of those who were aware of IT policies, 70 per cent of employees worldwide admitted to breaking policy with varying regularity. The most common was the belief that employees were not doing anything wrong (33 per cent).

More than one-fifth (22 per cent) cited the need to access unauthorized programs and applications to get their job done, while 19 per cent admitted the policies are not enforced. Some (18 per cent) said they do not have time to think about policies when they are working, and others either said adhering to the policies is not convenient (16 per cent), they forget to do so (15 per cent) or their bosses aren't watching them (14 per cent).

Two-thirds (67 per cent) of respondents said IT policies need to be modified to address real-life demands for more work flexibility, found Cisco.

More than one-half (56 per cent) of the employees surveyed globally said they have allowed others to use their computers without supervision — family, friends, coworkers and even people they do not know.

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