Intergenerational Collaboration Critical to Accelerating Zero Trust Security Implementation

New study highlights need to harness Baby Boomer skills to fill cybersecurity skills gap

London, UK – Jan. 13, 2022 –Appgate (OTC: APGT), the secure access company, today unveiled How Do Generational Differences Impact Enterprise Cybersecurity Teams?, an independent study on the criticality of knowledge sharing amongst today’s core workforce groups: Baby Boomers, Gen-Xers and Millennials. In particular, it highlights how Baby Boomers play a critical role in accelerating Zero Trust security frameworks due to experience in integrating legacy technologies into cloud and hybrid IT environments.

The study, based on desk research and in-depth focus groups conducted by prominent intergenerational issues author and speaker Henry Rose Lee, examines differences between Baby Boomers, Gen-Xers and Millennials and ways to harness individual strengths to develop more effective cybersecurity strategies. Key findings include:

  • As workers aged 50 – 66 (state pension age) exit the labour pool at a rate of one in 10 now versus one in 25 before the pandemic, risks can increase due to lost expertise in securely integrating legacy IT such as mainframes into modern hybrid IT
  • However, 80% of IT Boomers say they would return as consultants, helping fill the widening global cybersecurity skills gap of over 4 million unfilled jobs
  • Gen-Xers can bridge generational gaps by playing a pivotal role in distilling and bridging the experience and expertise of Boomers and Millennials
  • Millennials—whilst often more tech savvy—tend to move quickly, look for fast solutions and may balk at the time it takes to implement stronger security controls

According to Rose Lee: “Mixing older and younger generations within cybersecurity teams balances the digital savviness of youth with the wisdom and experience of age. The Millennials’ first-adopter appetite can often lead them to look for time-saving shortcuts that results in more cybersecurity risk. Boomers have higher emotional intelligence and a firefighter’s intuition for things that don’t look or feel right, making them crucial cybersecurity defenders. Sitting in the middle, Gen-Xers can be the conduit to ensure back-and-forth collaboration and knowledge transfer across teams.”

Commenting on the study, Jawahar Sivasankaran, President and COO, Appgate, added: “The cybersecurity industry has suffered for many years from a shortage of skilled employees and the gap widens every day. This report highlights the importance of retaining important technical skills, especially as we transition more legacy systems securely to the cloud. Organisations should consider incentivising Boomers to return or stay on as consultants to help address the skills gap. Moving toward a Zero Trust security framework will also enable organizations to provide greater cybersecurity control with less administration.”

The study also reveals that skills such as deep thinking, information processing and the ability to ignore distractions and focus on what’s important are functions that increase from the late 50s to mid-to-late 70s. In addition, emotional intelligence increases with age, a skill fundamental to essential problem-solving or decision-making abilities needed to detect, respond and mitigate effectively against cyberattacks.

Download the complete How Do Generational Differences Impact Enterprise Cybersecurity Teams? report here.

Research Methodology

Appgate commissioned intergenerational expert and author Henry Rose Lee to undertake desk and field research to examine the impact of generational differences in attitudes and behaviour on cybersecurity in the workplace. The research, concluding in September 2021, included in-depth focus groups with Baby Boomer and Gen-X IT cybersecurity professionals experienced in securely integrating legacy systems with cloud and on-premises networks. The study examines how organisations can harness the expertise of different generations to implement effective, organisation-wide cybersecurity strategies such as Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) that maximise investments in legacy, cloud and on-premises technologies.

About Appgate

Appgate is the secure access company that provides cybersecurity solutions for people, devices and systems based on the principles of Zero Trust security. Appgate updates IT systems to combat the cyber threats of today and tomorrow. Through a set of differentiated cloud and hybrid security products, Appgate enables global enterprises and government agencies to easily and effectively shield against cyber threats. Learn more at