May 1st, 2017

Generation Z are Hitting the Workforce: is Your Business Ready to Keep them Secure?

Generation Z are already beginning to embark on their careers. While the divide between each era is certainly blurry, those born after the mid 90s tend to have different attitudes to life and the workplace compared to those who came before them.

Understanding Generation Z, their habits and their values is crucial for any business that wants to fully embrace the next wave of talent. It’s important to remember that their different views and practices will also have a range of security ramification. From their desire to constantly stay connected down to their privacy attitudes, the way that the new generation functions means that companies need to adapt in order to stay secure.

Generation Z

Who Are Generation Z?

One of the defining factors of Generation Z is that they have been using the internet from a very young age. Sure, most Millenials grew up with it as well, but it was hardly as encompassing as it is now. The age of dial-up internet and AOL is completely different to the ever-present world of smartphones and social media.

Generation Z are generally the children of Generation X, and were born somewhere between 1995-2014, depending on who you ask. They embrace social media and being connected, but in a different way to Millenials. In some ways, they are more aware of privacy issues, preferring less-public apps such as Snapchat over Facebook, and they are generally more aware of their privacy settings. Despite this, there are still a range of security concerns that come along with Generation Z entering the workplace.

BYOD Is Unavoidable

The bring your own device trend certainly isn’t anything new, but Generation Z’s approach will have an impact on how BYOD policies are managed. Many businesses regard BYOD policies as essential in the modern workplace, because employees tend to be more efficient with their own devices.

Gen Z are so accustomed to their devices that BYOD practices are even less negotiable than for older workers. Businesses have to accept that their employees’ devices have a role in the workplace and they need to come up with effective policies to securely manage them securely.

It is important to follow best practices to ensure that employee devices are as secure as possible. A positive step is to embrace the security services of companies such as Duo. Duo’s Trusted Devices gives an organization greater insight into the devices that are using a their network, allowing them to block untrusted devices from accessing their apps and enabling them to enforce strong access point policies.

Give Them the Apps They Want

Alongside their phones, Generation Z want to bring their apps into the workplace as well. They are accustomed to the features and sharing capacity of the latest offerings from the App Store and Google Play, but many of these lack the security features or control that are necessary for them to be effectively managed in the workplace.

If you want your employees to use specific apps for your business instead of the ones that they prefer, you need to entice them with relevant features. Ease-of use is critical, as well as group chats that allow sharing. Offering secure chat and email with these features is important if you want them to switch over.

If your business apps fail to provide the features that your employees demand, you will likely find that they use their preferred apps in secret, meaning that your organization will have no control over what your employees are doing. This presents huge security risks to your data. Because of this, it is important that you incentivize them to use approved and secure applications instead.

Duo’s two-factor authentication is another technology that can help to secure mobiles in the workplace. With Trusted Access, you can ensure that your workplace apps are only accessed by trusted users from trusted devices.

Use LuxSci’s MobileSync to Boost Security and Help with Compliance

With Generation Z preferring to use smartphones over desktops, businesses need to make sure that they are putting as much effort into securing them as they do for traditional IT infrastructure. At LuxSci, we offer our own MobileSync service, which provides users with fast and secure email synchronization from their LuxSci account to just about any device. It is secured with TLS and is also HIPAA compliant.

MobileSync gives users 2-way push email as well as secure access to many of their phone’s functions, such as calendars, tasks, notes and contacts. Whenever there is new information, be it an email or a change to the calendar, MobileSync immediately recognizes it and synchronizes itself.

One of the most important security features that comes with MobileSync is the Remote Wipe capability. If your phone is stolen or lost, you can use it to erase all of the data that was on your device. This prevents it from falling into the wrong hands and exposing a business’s secrets.

Are Your Employees Using Secure Connections?

Generation Z is incredibly mobile and ready to work from anywhere. Whether it is the comfort of their home, a coffee shop down the road or Bangkok airport, their integration with technology allows them to get things done from anywhere with Wi-Fi or a data connection.

While this is great from a productivity standpoint, it brings in additional risks. If they are working from anywhere, how do you know that they are using a secure access point? How do you know that a Man-In-The-Middle attack isn’t being used to snoop on your company data?

These risks can be reduced with technologies such as VPN, or by restricting network access in certain situations. If an employee accesses your network from a connection that isn’t trusted, you can restrict their privileges and abilities to access certain parts of the network. This enables them to work on the go without resulting in significant security compromises.

Your Organization Needs a Clear Social Media Policy

As a generation that is glued to its phones and addicted to selfies, Generation Z’s arrival in the workplace should give companies the impetus to form a well-rounded social media policy. This is important both for legal and security reasons.

There are both personal and professional grounds for using social media in the workplace, which make complete bans difficult to enforce. Unfortunately, social media use brings many risks, but these can be limited by effective policies.

Some of these risks include employees broadcasting negative opinions about the workplace, or even distributing offensive material. This can cause huge legal headaches for a company. Social media use can also expose a business to attacks and fraud, which can have significant negative effects as well.

A good social media policy can help to reduce issues. At a minimum, it should have rules for what content is deemed acceptable and what will be done if this is breached. It should also focus on employee education to limit the chance of something negative happening. The policy should also delegate who is responsible to speak on behalf of the company to make sure that external communications can be handled effectively.

Businesses can also engage in social media monitoring to stay clued-in to what is happening with their brand, both internally and externally. Social media monitoring services are for more than just marketing – they can be used to ensure that your employees aren’t breaching your social media policy as well.

Texting Is Bad for Your Security and Even Worse for HIPAA Compliance

Generation Z communicate with their phones in a variety of different ways – videos, picture messages, audio recordings, the odd phone call and by text. While SMS text messages aren’t as common these days, they pose significant security risks when they are used.

This is because there is no guarantee that the messages are encrypted in transit, and the messages can also be saved long term, meaning that they are vulnerable for extensive periods of time. SMS messages can also be read by unauthorized individuals. This can be done by accessing the individual’s phone, or by intercepting the message during transit.

Because of this, text messages are strictly controlled under HIPAA. It is illegal to use them to send health information unless a consent form has been filed. Using them otherwise can result in hefty fines.

Other messaging services such as Apple’s iMessage are not compliant by themselves. If an organization wants to use iMessage, it needs a HIPAA Business Associate Agreement with Apple to send health information over their services.

LuxSci offer our SecureText and SecureChat services to give businesses HIPAA compliant means of communicating. They both use 256-bit AES encryption over TLS, making them excellent for secure and effective communication.

It Won’t Be Long Before Generation Z Takes Over the Workplace

With Baby Boomers on their way out and into retirement, Generation Z will be picking up the slack. Businesses don’t have the option to simply ignore their needs and habits – soon they will make up far too much of the workforce.

To take advantage of their skills and minimize the associated risks, organizations need to be willing to adapt to Generation Z. This includes recognizing their desire to constantly stay connected and providing them secure means to do so. It is best to develop policies that embrace these changes rather than banning them.

Excluding apps that work for Generation Z will only result in them being used without permission. This puts security out of a company’s control. It is much better to listen to what this generation needs and work with them, rather than enforce outdated policies that don’t match the technology or their needs. Having a thorough understanding of Generation Z will soon be crucial to a business’s success.

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