Baby Boomers Practice Safe Security (and Young People Have a Thing or Two to Learn From Them)

On this the eve of Valentine’s Day, I wanted to share an interesting data point: Baby Boomers practice “safe security” and young people apparently have a thing or two to learn from their elders. How do I know this?

Dell partnered with the Ponemon Institute, an independent research firm specializing in IT and security issues, to ask 714 IT professionals about laptop security. One of those questions was “Which age group [in your company] is best at practicing safe data security?”

Interestingly enough, 43 percent of those surveyed said that employees 46 and older are the best. At the other end of the spectrum only three percent said that employees younger than 25 are the best at practicing safe security. (Here are the others: 30 percent said between the ages of 26 and 36 (my age range and second highest) and 24 percent said between the ages of 26 to 46 (second lowest) were the best at practicing safe data security. Gen Xers, what in world are you doing to your laptops?)

The main reason for this result — respect. According to the IT pros, Baby Boomers believe that “practicing safe security is an important part of their job.” Why such the difference? I speculate that younger folks have an open relationship with data and technology, bouncing around from technology to technology, website to website, device to device or even OS to OS. They are used to anytime, anywhere access to whatever information or data they want. Technology is sometimes a “throwaway” because there is always more. So maybe we need to start a Facebook page and app on “Safe Computing”? Any developers willing to help?

I also think that Baby Boomers see technology as their life partners because technology hasn’t always been around for them. They had to work hard to get their technology and they’re not going to let it go. They are more appreciative of what they have. Just like when grandpa talks about times before the Model T, “Back in my day I had to hike up Mount Everest to get to school every day.” The message he’s trying to get across is this: take care of what you have and treat it right. I think that is how Baby Boomers approach technology.

This has been a fun way to open up a discussion about laptop security. Over the next few weeks you’ll see more and more from Dell in this area. You can also go take a look at an interview one of my colleagues did with Kevin Mitnick over at Digital Nomads on the topic of security. And, we have more fun facts that I hope are as shocking to you as they are for me. Care to guess how many laptops fall victim to “employee damage” because of anger or frustration over technical issues?

About the Author: Jeremy Bolen