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Millennials

I was just reading an article in Government Technology about the so-called Generation 2.0 phenomenon of Milennials. (Article Here) The article pretty much breaks up into two sections, the first being about the security risks that are brought up by the computer savvy youth, and the second being the different work styles and habits of this generation. 

The first item begs the question: If your information is so confidential, why do you not have a stricter risk mitigation process in place already?  You can blame the 20-something guy that likes to frequent Facebook and MySpace for malware or data loss, or you can address these issues with policy and technology.  Educating the users as to what sites are appropriate for work, helping them understand your security policies and computer use policies can go a long way.  The issue is this: How many environments are running with close to zero security controls because it is "behind the firewall"?  Internal threats are more likely to cause data theft or loss than visiting a web popup, but unless you have the proper anti-virus/anti-spyware and access controls set on your network, you are skating on very thin ice.  Technology such as virtualization can allow users to be connected to several different networks from the same terminal, but without the data mingling between networks.  When the internet virtual machine gets infected with some trojan, just reload it and be on your way.  If you are concerned about employees using too much bandwidth for Youtube and other pipe cloggers, set bandwidth limitations at the firewall.

People are going to violate IT policy.  People will destroy your data out of spite.  People will steal your data for small sums of money.  Your job in the CXO position is to be flexible enough to understand how to leverage policy to fix some issues and technology to solve others.  In this day and age, people are afraid to fire people for blatant violations of company policy.  When an employee's behavior threatens day-to-day organizational operations, it has to be taken seriously.  I don't mean an environment of fear, but an environment where the employees know that their web usage can be monitored, so hey, try to do some work most of the time. Whether it is Milennials or the parents of Milennials that have gotten some great IT training at home, put into place policy and infrastructure that is blind to age, gender, race and all that good stuff.

As for the Millennial working style.  So they hop around from job to job...  I thought that was how Gen-X is characterized.  So they multitask...  if that is an efficient way of doing work, who are you to judge.  As the old saying goes, the proof is in the pudding, if this generation is willing to implement a new version of the American work ethic and be successful in their endeavors, huzzah!  If not, never fear, a whole generation of workers in China, Russia, India, and dozens of other countries with highly educated workforces will come and fill the gaps.  While I would hate to see a generation of unemployed folks that just don't like working, sooner or later they will realize that nobody REALLY likes working, then they'll figure out that you need money to do things, and then to get money you have to work.  And so the cycle of selling out to "The Man" continues.   

Don't be scared by the iPod, iPhones, skinny jeans or social networking.  The thing you should be worried about is the core business and the bottom line.  The working environment constantly evolves socially and technologically, sometimes with both happening at the same time.  

 

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