IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more
In-depth

What IT security lessons can teenagers teach the enterprise?

Davey Winder looks a little closer to home to see how the enterprise can learn from his teenage son's approach to security...

Kids using tablets and smartphones

I've been involved in IT security for twenty years now, and you'd think - as a result - my teenage son would be mindful of such matters. But you couldn't be more wrong. 

My lad has absolutely no security smarts, despite my efforts, and his mistakes are all too often mirrored in the corporate world. The consequences, however, are a tad more serious than someone posting embarrassing messages on Facebook. Let me explain.

Data sharing is the main problem I have with my teen. He signs into his social media accounts on someone else's device, and forgets to logout when he passes it back.

He thinks nothing of leaving the family laptop running for 15 minutes or more while his social media accounts remaing logged in.

Unsurprisingly, this has resulted in his mates, his girlfriend and me posting stupid things under his name using his account. Worse still, he also uses the same password for his social media, laptop, and his Xbox account.

In this, he's not alone. New consumer-focused research from Kaspersky Lab suggests 32 per cent of people take absolutely no precautions when letting others use their devices and 92 per cent store sensitive information on them.

Those numbers also sound about right for the business sector. At the smaller end of the enterprise scale, device sharing is pretty common and adequate security measures are not. As you move up the curve towards larger enterprises, things improve as far as device security goes, but the sensitive data issue remains.

It's all tied into the whole Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) problem, of course, and how to control what data is allowed where, who can access it and when.

Although the BYOD has been done to death, there remains a problem whereby shadow IT exists within the enterprise and a data-centric approach to security is not in place to help mitigate the threat.

How does this tie into my teenage son's device misuse? Well, unless you get to grips with securing data itself, then users of devices will remain the weak link in your strategic security chain.

You cannot control who uses a personal device once it is out of the workplace, and you cannot control what users do with it.

If you don't get serious about data security, rather than device security, you are heading for a fall. My son, on the other hand, is a lost cause. Luckily, he has no data of any value whatsoever. I know, I've seen his Facebook feed.

Featured Resources

The Total Economic Impact™ Of Turbonomic Application Resource Management for IBM Cloud® Paks

Business benefits and cost savings enabled by IBM Turbonomic Application Resource Management

Free Download

The Total Economic Impact™ of IBM Watson Assistant

Cost savings and business benefits enabled by Watson Assistant

Free Download

The field guide to application modernisation

Moving forward with your enterprise application portfolio

Free Download

AI for customer service

Discover the industry-leading AI platform that customers and employees want to use

Free Download

Most Popular

Why convenience is the biggest threat to your security
Sponsored

Why convenience is the biggest threat to your security

8 Aug 2022
How to boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode
Microsoft Windows

How to boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode

29 Jul 2022
UK water supplier confirms hack by Cl0p ransomware gang
ransomware

UK water supplier confirms hack by Cl0p ransomware gang

16 Aug 2022