What Generation Z Can Teach Us About Data Protection


Generation Z is the first generation that has grown up surrounded by the internet. They are the generation born in 1995 or later and follow the millennials that reached adulthood as we entered this century. Sure, most of the Millennials had access to the internet from an early age, but their childhoods didn’t revolve around being constantly connected. With their entire lives spent online, Generation Z will be inherently more tech savvy with expectations of speed and convenience to match. So, when it comes to data protection and staying safe online, what can we learn from the generation that was born multitasking?

Generation Z – always connected

 Use Less Permanent Apps

While Facebook may still be the biggest social channel, Generation Z has widely adopted Snapchat. They have already witnessed and no-doubt been warned of potential the blowback from poor decisions made on social media.  The temporary nature of Snapchat, where messages are only visible for a short amount of time, is deemed, convenient, fit for purpose.

A Facebook post can be broadcasted to everyone and will stay on your wall permanently unless you take it down. Perhaps Generation Z has become more self-aware. The concept of a picture or video only being broadcasted for a limited amount of time appeals to young people who have been taught to be aware of their digital footprint and will be mindful of future ramifications of their decisions in the digital space.

Embracing Biometrics

In the last twenty or so years, passwords have become a much greater part of our lives. With the explosion of the internet, we have all acquired more and more accounts for a range of different purposes, meaning we have a whole lot of passwords to remember – or at least we should have.

The reality is that most people are terrible with passwords. For optimal security, you should have a different password for each of your accounts. If you use the same for everything, your life can quickly unravel in the event that you are subject to identity theft or the company storing your data suffers a security breach. Unfortunately, most people don’t want to remember multiple passwords, meaning that much of the online landscape is quite insecure.

Rather than coming up with multiple obscure and difficult to remember passwords, Generation Z seems ready to take a different approach. They are much more likely to use biometrics than other generations, with 70% of young people saying they would prefer to use biometrics instead of passwords by the year 2020.

While the use of biometrics does have some of its own complications, fingerprints and facial scans can help to solve many of the problems with passwords. We can’t forget our biometrics in the same way we can forget a password, nor can we create fingerprints that are easy for computers to guess. In this way, Generation Z is beginning to solve some of the problems that older users often struggle with.

Biometric security authentification is now becoming common place


Keeping It in the Cloud

Generation Z is also more likely to use cloud services than older generations. The safety debate between cloud storage and traditional systems raged on for years, but in the end, the cloud seems to have won. There’s a chance they’ve been educated using devices that own a Chromebook that doesn’t even have a hard drive. Cloud services can be just as safe, but they also come with much more flexibility and scalability.  External hard drives, USB drives and file storage media such as DVDs will not be the first thought had when thinking of backing up or transferring files.

 Generation Z and the Future of Data Protection

Generation Z may only be starting to enter the workforce, but it won’t be long before they play a much more dominant role. Their perceptions of technology are radically different from those that came before them and they have definitely adopted good online behaviour but are also likely to have less awareness of the need to think about the security of physical devices and documents than previous generations.

 When it comes to data protection employers should take note of how Generation Z approaches and interacts with the internet.

Perceptions of convenience and efficiency are likely to be dominating factors contributing to data protection employee compliance levels.

If you’re concerned about user compliance when it comes to protecting your data consider our user-friendly Rexel Auto Feed Shredders that allow users to load a stack of paper and walk away, making shredding as simple as stack, shut, done.