Symantec CEO: 'Digital natives' will change how we do business

Symantec CEO: 'Digital natives' will change how we do business

Summary: One trend emerging -- primarily thanks to digital natives -- is "BYOD," or bring your own device to work, blurring the lines between personal and business.

TOPICS: Security

SAN FRANCISCO -- The "digital native" generation is going to change how the world does business, according to Symantec CEO and president Enrique Salem.

Speaking at the 2012 RSA Conference on Tuesday morning, Salem described digital natives as people typically born in the 1990s who have never known a time before the Internet or smart mobile devices.

By the time they're 21, Salem cited that they'll have averaged 250,000 emails and 10,000 hours on a cell phone.

Now, they're starting to enter the workforce, and they're always collaborating, sharing and multi-tasking, or what Salem described as "continuous partial attention."

They're always mobile, but that doesn't mean they're always online, Salem acknowledged. Rather, they always have a mobile device on them to be connected wherever they are.

"We weren't born into this world. We grew into it," said Salem, dubbing older generations as "digital immigrants" with different perspective on mobile devices and connectivity, with more concerns about and less trust for the digital world.

"The digital immigrant came to work with the Internet at work," Salem added. "We brought it home, and eventually got connected. To digital natives, there's no distinction between the Internet at work and the Internet at home."

Thus, digital natives have less qualms over identity protection and security in the cloud.

One trend emerging -- primarily thanks to digital natives -- is "BYOD," or bring your own device to work, blurring the lines between personal and business.

"All the ways we do business will change," Salem asserted, arguing that more business will go into the cloud and it will be more mobile.

Thus, Salem offered three questions that all businesses -- regardless of industry -- need to address to handle these changes:

  • How do we manage online identities when our employees maintain dozens of them?
  • How do we protect information that tends to be shared so much more freely?
  • How do we keep tract of substantially higher volumes of data?

Salem acknowedged that there is one simple solution to all of this, which he referred to as a "lockdown," meaning no personal devices at work whatsover.

However, Salem argued that this approach slows down creativity and problem solving without resources and networks that employees can use to find answers.

Instead, Salem posited that the next-generation workplace will need to be wired for social and security because it will actually make employees more productive.

Salem continued that businesses need to look at authentication, authorization and auditing in a new way. Here are some of the tools that Salem offered:

  • Flexible identity management as close to single sign-on (SSO) as possible
  • A new notion of the old firewall (a "reverse firewall") to watch outbound flow of data
  • A cloud audit trail with full visibility to the flow of information, who's accessing what with which devices

Salem admitted that this won't be an easy task, and that the approach he outlined won't be enough.

"With this new generation comes new vulnerabilies," Salem remarked." CEO Marc Benioff also touched on this subject briefly during the keynote, commenting on how the social enterprise is going forward with these concerns in mind.

"Our companies have to learn how to become new kinds of organizations with these new tools," said Benioff.

As for balancing social and security, Benioff argued that we actually need higher levels of transparency and trust to make these two things work together.

Topic: Security

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  • funny article

    and new buzz words: 'digital native', 'BYOD', 'digital immigrant ' ;)
    The Linux Geek
    • BYOD has been floating around a bit . . .

      BYOD has been floating around a bit, and is a bit controversial. I don't think it will be a permanent trend.

    They create silos and multiple lines of support for IT. They work fine in the short term, or if the information they contain is not needed by the company if the position transitions.
  • The oldest digital native is approaching retirement age

    We keep hearing about the "new" digital natives, but the truth is, there are some individuals who grew up as digital natives before everyone else. (Yes, they're considered geeks to the rest of the world.) They were networked and mobile when the tech was in its infancy. They are not "digital immigrants". I suppose the better term might be "second generation digital pioneers". They lived the digital life when it was still hard.

    And I'd like to thank each and every one of them and the earlier pioneers that came before them.
  • I agree..

    I love the new "Digital Native".. But I also agree with some of the people above as a geek, I think we were the Digital Daniel Boons .

    Anyway, why don't we call BYOD, bring your work to you?? While it doesn't sound as cool to the end user its probably a better sale to upper management.
  • control issue

    I can't use my personal computer at work because the company wants to control it. I can't use my work computer at my state contract site because the state wants to control it. By control I mean manage updates and anti-virus. Naturally I think I do a pretty good job on my computer, my company thinks it has it's own ways, and the state has a right to protect it's network.

    I don't see how a BYOD is going to work unless we all submit to a common scheme for these legimate issues, and that just isn't going to happen from either perspective. All the BYODers won't want the big brother approach to security. Neither will your employer accept whatever you've decided is good enough.

    If all you're talking about is email and phones, well, sure. It can happen, but that's about it.