Cisco: BYOD, Privacy Top Gen Y Issues

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Cisco Systems released a series of security reports, indicating new trends around BYOD and privacy for Generation Y workers. When taken with recent product launches, the studies could possibly provide a glimpse into the networking firm's future security investments.

Cisco Systems Inc. might be not be synonymous with security. But the San Jose, Calif.-based networking vendor is raising its security profile a bit with the release of two global security reports, providing the channel a glimpse into where it might possibly go next in the market.

One of the most significant findings, revealed in both its “2013 Annual Security Report” and its Cisco “Connected World Technology Report,” is a progressive blending between work and personal life resulting in escalating privacy issues and elevated mobile security risks that have invariably affected IT security and the overall culture of the workforce.

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Among other things, the "Connected World Technology Report"  found that 91 percent of Gen Y employees believe that the age of privacy is over. It's a belief so pervasive that one-third of respondents maintain that they are not worried about information captured and stored about them and are willing to sacrifice personal information for online socialization.

On the mobility front, Cisco’s Annual Security Report found that Android malware incidents grew 2,577 percent over 2012, albeit mobile malware still only represents 5 percent of total malicious code targeting the Web.

But it’s a trend that is continuing its inexorable march up and to the right in light of the fact that the smartphone is the device of choice among Generation Y workers over laptops, PCs and tablets.

That said, both reports found that increasingly Gen Y workers are willing to sacrifice privacy to achieve their work and personal objectives. Specifically, the "Connected World Report" study revealed that while 75 percent Gen Y respondents say that they don’t trust Web sites to protect personal information such as credit card and contact details, their skepticism doesn't affect online behavior.

Meanwhile, 57 percent of Gen Y respondents maintain they are comfortable with their personal information being used by retailers, social media sites and other online applications.

Where attitudes directly conflict with security are in areas of compliance. While 90 percent of IT professionals say they have a policy governing use of mobile devices at work, only two out of five Gen Y workers say they are aware of such a policy. And of those, four out of five acknowledge that they don’t follow those policies.

More than half (52 percent) of IT professionals say that they believe employees follow IT policies -- a stark contrast to 71 percent of Gen Y workforce who maintain that they actively disobey company rules.

In fact, two-thirds of Gen Y workers, (66 percent) contend that IT has no right to monitor their online behavior, even if they are accessing applications on company-issued devices on corporate networks, the study found.

For the channel, the studies indicate growing swaths of opportunity for partners to collaborate with customers on mobility and privacy policies that better align with the evolving needs of its emerging Gen Y workforce.

And it also signifies new avenues to introduce mobile device management (MDM) and converged infrastructure solutions that secure networks and protect data on multiple platforms.

But moreover, the studies could provide a bit of a roadmap for Cisco for a possible refreshed push into security markets.

As of late, Cisco has remained a bit of distant when it has come to security. However, rumors have circulated that the networking firm will likely revive its presence in the space with a possible security buy

No one can argue that security will be a safe channel bet for Cisco. According to a Visiongain report, the global cybersecurity market is slated to reach $68.13 billion some time this year

How and what that will look like remains to be seen, as the company is by all reports still considering its options. However, it’s probably safe to say that security solutions going forward will reflect Cisco’s current infrastructure investments. Most recently, the firm announced that it would expand its Unified Access umbrella with a line of switches and WAN controllers aimed at streamlining BYOD capabilities, network administration and policy enforcement.

In light of recent launches coupled with studies delving into Gen Y BYOD, security policy and privacy trends, a related future security roll-out might not be too far off the mark.

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