I recently spoke with an information security manager about social media issues in the corporate world, and she told me one of the greatest challenges is getting Generation Y employees to keep information private. These employees, most of them born in the 1980s and 1990s, are the computer generation who have been sharing their life stories online from the time they could turn on a computer. What private means to them isn't what private means to anyone older than 35.
It's a concern that was backed up by a Future of the Internet study conducted by Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project and Elon University's Imagining the Internet Center. The study found that 67 percent of technology experts believe:
By 2020, members of Generation Y (today's "digital natives") will continue to be ambient broadcasters who disclose a great deal of personal information in order to stay connected and take advantage of social, economic, and political opportunities. Even as they mature, have families, and take on more significant responsibilities, their enthusiasm for widespread information sharing will carry forward.
RSA surveyed more than 1,000 Gen Y adults about online security issues and found that young adults regularly engage in risky behaviors that compromise their privacy and reputation.
The concern within the enterprise is (or should be) that if Gen Y employees struggle to keep personal information private, can they be trusted with sensitive business data?
The answer is yes, but security departments need to provide solid policy and education on what can and cannot be discussed in social media.