While Millennials are slowly but surely beginning to take over the workplace, there are still plenty of workers from older generations infiltrating modern offices across the globe. In fact, many of the higher-up positions, such as c-suite executive roles, are currently held by individuals from Gen-X and even a few Baby Boomers still hanging on. Likewise, generation Z will slowly begin to make their way into the workforce over the coming years.
Managing operations across multiple generations can be difficult in and of itself, and the topic of cybersecurity is no exception. It’s especially challenging given the fact that each group of workers has their own experience, beliefs and opinions surrounding how to keep data secure. If your organization happens to be home to a diverse age range of employees, here are a few tips for making cybersecurity something everyone can universally maintain.
Bridging the Gap
One of the biggest issues with developing a multi-generational cybersecurity policy is the different experiences each group brings to the table. For instance, while it may be easy to incorporate security training into the new employee onboarding process, getting older workers – particularly those who are less tech-savvy – on board and supportive of cybersecurity initiatives isn’t always so easy. As a result, different types of training and educational programs might be needed based on each demographic.
A Glaring Issue
To further illustrate the challenge security professionals face when dealing with a workforce from various age groups, a joint study was conducted by Citrix and the Ponemon Institute, which revealed the following:
- 55% of respondents said that Millennials (born between 1981 and 1997) pose the greatest risk of circumventing IT security policies and use of unapproved apps in the workplace.
- 33% said Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) are the most susceptible to phishing and social engineering scams.
- 30% said Gen Xers (born from 1965 to 1980) were most likely to exhibit carelessness in following an organization’s security policies.
Each of these eye-opening facts must be taken into account when developing cybersecurity training and implementing organizational policies.
Tapping into Technology
Another great way to help bring different generations together to support the common goal of enhanced cybersecurity is to leverage as much technology as possible. For instance, by deploying monitoring software and integrating it with an automation and orchestration platform for enhanced incident response, technology can do much of the heavy lifting, alleviating the burden on human workers. This can help reluctant individuals to view the importance of security in a more positive light.
Universal Education is Key
It’s important to point out that while each generation may have its own mindset about security issues, there are also certain universal truths that should be taught regardless of age group. Keep in mind that hackers rarely know precisely who they are targeting. Their goal is to simply achieve their end result as quickly and easily as possible, regardless of who might be on the receiving end. Likewise, it’s important not to assume that an employee is inherently aware that they are putting the organization at risk simply because he or she is from a particular generation. As such, universal education must be a priority.
Communicate Clearly and Often
As a more tech-savvy generation makes its way into the workplace, security professionals will have the additional challenge of bringing new employees up to speed and ensuring that they fully comprehend the implications of keeping sensitive data secure. While these younger workers may be more comfortable with technology, it doesn’t necessarily mean they have a realistic understanding of how to protect the information they’re accessing and sharing. Expectations should be clearly communicated early and often to ensure optimum compliance.
What challenges has your organization had to deal with in terms of maintaining maximum cybersecurity across multiple generations of workers? Please share in the comments below!