#GenMobile workforce: Both an asset and a threat to business
The finance sector in Qatar has a data security problem, but it goes beyond external threats from hackers. Jacob Chacko from Aruba explains what this threat is and how businesses can combat it.
People working in the finance sector are in agreement: there is a major threat to the success of the banking and finance industry, one that ignores boom and bust cycles and does not care about stock market fluctuations or interest rates. But this threat is also an essential and highly successful ingredient in the revival of the finance industry’s fortunes.
What is this unwitting, non-malicious threat? It is the mobile-tech carrying employees themselves, better described as #GenMobile. Everyone has heard of Generation X, Generation Y, and Generation Z (the Internet’s digital natives), but the #GenMobile is a new category to add to that list. Brought up in a world where mobile devices are an integral part of everyday life, #GenMobile is defined by a productivity-focused attitude that finds it as easy to share a status update as it does a password or mobile device with a colleague. And this is why the #GenMobile workforce is both an asset and a threat to business.
To identify the true nature of this new type of employee, Aruba Networks, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, surveyed 11,500 workers in 23 countries, asking them detailed questions about their work, their approach to data and their take on corporate and personal security in a technological landscape dominated by mobile devices.
Who are they?
#GenMobile are generally young (18-35), highly effective and mostly indifferent to computer security. Given the finance sector’s risk-averse take on data security, businesses would be forgiven for dismissing the idea of a ‘threat’ from their own highly trained staff. But with an alarming four out of every 10 finance organisations (39 percent) in the survey admitting to having lost data through the misuse of a mobile device (25 percent higher than other industries), it is worth reading on.
#GenMobile, as the name suggests, is 100 percent comfortable with mobility, flexible working and using multiple mobile devices to get the job done. They will stop at nothing to get their work tasks completed, and 51 percent say that mobile technologies enable them to be more productive and engaged at work.
#GenMobile, as the name suggests, are 100 percent comfortable with mobility, flexible working and using multiple mobile devices to get the job done.
This fervent need to get things done means 56 percent will disobey their managers to complete a task – while three-quarters are happy to take IT issues into their own hands without getting in touch with their IT department.
Sharing is also a risk factor, as 60 percent of respondents reported being happy to let others use their work mobile devices at least once a month, while a fifth do not have passwords on their mobile devices at all, in part to make sharing easier. It is not surprising then that security only limps into the top five of office tech concerns for #GenMobile.
#GenMobile in Qatar
With smartphone penetration already reaching 75 percent in Qatar and its usage mostly concentrated within the 15 to 34 age group, it is clear that #GenMobile has entered the workplace here as well. There is no doubt that mobile broadband services are expected to become a hot growth area in the near future. The country’s mobile infrastructure is already seeing improvement with the launch of 4G services by Vodafone Qatar and Ooredoo in the last few years.
The Aruba research study suggests a higher predisposition towards at-risk behaviour among workers in what may be described as economically emergent countries. The top five at-risk countries are Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea, China, and the United Arab Emirates. Qatar being a highly connected country with two-thirds of its population falling within the 15 to 44 age group, it is not at any lesser risk than those emergent countries.
So what do enterprises in Qatar do? Lockdown all mobile devices? Implement a highly restrictive password policy? No; this new generation is already contributing to the overall health of the finance sector. They bring big-thinking creativity, better collaboration and new ways of doing things; priceless in an era when consumer behaviour is changing at an incredible speed. Yet the impact of a security breach is both seismic and often irreparable.
#GenMobile is the future of business – and that means every business. Old business models that fail to adapt to #GenMobile will slowly crumble and may ultimately not survive. Embracing #GenMobile’s penchant for openness, innovation, collaboration and some degree of risk is good – but only when an organisation can understand and plan for the security risks these behaviours bring
Jacob Chacko is the Business Lead, SMB & Commercial, Middle East & Turkey at Aruba.