Is Gen Y responsible for elevated network risk?

According to a new survey, Gen Y is the cause of a split in network privilege rights.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

According to a new survey, Gen Y may be the cause of a generational split in network privilege rights.

Although IT professionals know that unauthorized app download and use can cause damage to business networks, it often goes 'unnoticed' or ignored -- according to a new survey released by Avecto. Eight in ten professionals, out of 1,500 surveyed at the TechEd North America and TechEd Europe conferences, said that Generation Y were an obstacle in reducing application privileges for the sake of security.

Within the age bracket, "young male staff between the ages of 20 and 35" were considered the biggest obstacle, and most likely to demand elevated administrator rights.

Almost 40 percent said they has experienced at least one malware incident due to an unapproved application being downloaded by staff -- made possible as IT decision makers were keen not to set themselves against the "engaged" software culture of young workers. The situation has apparently been made worse due to the 'bring your own device' (BYOD) trend often encouraged by both businesses and staff.

Worryingly, 76 percent said they didn't know how many unauthorized applications have made it on to corporate networks. Combine this with a user network granted full admin rights, and there's the problem.

"Staff who have admin rights can unwittingly or irresponsibly download applications that contain malware and cause significant problems if entered into the corporate network. The answer is simple -- don't give admin rights out to everyone, only to the few key IT administrators who really need them. You will see an immediate decrease in security risk and associated downtime as well as an increase in productivity from IT." says Paul Kenyon, Avecto co-founder and CEO.

However, Kenyon also believe that the Gen Y have caused mounting pressures for businesses to provide admin privileges -- a casualty of mobile working and BYOD. He thinks that a generation used to freedom of access expects the same when entering a workplace, and due to this, also often have the skills to circumvent blocks in a system.

The survey does not find that it is simply Gen-Y which is an issue -- but the 'quick fix' solution employed by IT departments to grant admin rights in order to solve IT problems as quickly as possible is also to blame. Rather than have to change an infrastructure and limit networks and applications separately, business may grant security-damaging admin rights too easily. Kenyon concludes:

"Considering these factors, it's more important than ever for organizations to have a solution in place that enables the quick and secure removal of admin rights from users and the ability to deploy policies that elevate all of the legitimate business applications that require privileged access using privilege management technology."

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