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Young workers bringing devices to work — no matter what IT says

Working from home and bringing personal devices to work are more common than ever.Getty Images

A survey of young folks in the workforce finds that they are more willing than ever to break the rules against using their own devices for work purposes. After all, why shouldn't you pop that document into Dropbox, or send it through your personal mail? The IT department will probably tell you.

The survey, performed by Fortinet, asked 3,200 employees between the ages of 21 and 32 various questions about how they would and wouldn't use their own devices at work. And we're not just talking about texting someone about last night's party during your coffee break.

Half the respondents said they would contravene a company policy barring use of personal devices for work purposes. And 36 percent gave a similar answer when it came to using their own cloud services.

Getting something done on the device you're used to, with a workflow that's familiar, may be the quickest and easiest way to do so. To some, it might seem silly to put that file you're sharing inside the firewall on the company's servers, when you could just pop it in your Dropbox and have a live link in five seconds?

The information technology and legal departments might have something to say about that. There are often regulations, best practices and carefully worded limitations on things like when, where, and to whom such files and documents can be shared. Would you want your radiologist using their personal email to send X-rays to your primary physician, or lawyers posting case notes in a public shared folder for easy access?

Furthermore, the Fortinet survey found a lack of awareness of the types of threats against mobiles, desktops, and services. And troublingly, 14 percent of respondents said they wouldn't tell their employer if their personal device was hacked or stolen.

Bring-your-own-device policies can make a workplace more comfortable, but it's probably a good idea to let the IT guys call the shots when it comes to the more secure ways to get things done.

Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is