Do you remember when cell phones just made phone calls, watches just told the time and glasses only improved vision? We've come a long way since then. Now our phones stream videos, take pictures and play music. Our watches check our heart rate and our glasses record video. We aren't satisfied with devices that only do one thing. As a result, we're seeing an increasing number of 'smart' things that allow us to multitask with one single gadget.
The latest tech trend seems to be wearable devices, like the Apple Watch, Nike's FuelBand or Google Glass. These wearable devices widen the possibilities of interconnectivity. Not to mention, their functionality has greatly improved productivity and quality of work. It's for these reasons they've been adopted by the workforce. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) wasn't initially popular, but once people realised the benefits of using personal devices at work, instead of out-dated company issued devices, organisations started to jump on board.
However, the concerns with using your smartphone and tablet at work also apply to wearable technology, namely cyber security. Let's examine Google Glass as an example. Glass has the ability to record video and sound, which raises the possibility that confidential information could be recorded and transferred outside the company network. Data in the wrong hands could destroy the reputation of an organisation overnight. If a hacker accesses the device, they could potentially see and hear everything its user does. Having that level of control, the hacker could then access all of the user's information. They would know details from the user's online accounts and know his or her passwords. All of this would happen without the user knowing they were being monitored at all times. Pretty scary.
Glass is only one example. Smartwatches are just as vulnerable and can be exploited to a similar extent, as they have audio recording features. Despite all of this, businesses can't let security get in the way of mobility and convenience. There are lots of benefits that come from wearable devices. Right now it may be calorie counting and video recording, but just as mobile technology exploded, so will wearable technology.
These gadgets are already beginning to make their way into offices, so now is the time to prepare for implementation. One of the first places to start is creating organisational rules and policies regarding these wearable devices, or even BYOD in general. First, organisations will need to have a proper understanding of how each of these devices work. For example, many smartwatches transfer information or make calls via a connection to a mobile phone. Without the phone, the watch's capabilities are drastically limited. If your company already allows phones, and has systems in place to deal with them, then adding smartwatches won't change much. However, if smartphones aren't allowed at work due to the risks of audio recording and storage, then a smartwatch shouldn't be allowed either. Also, if you are using Mobile Device Management (MDM), check your features. Your MDM may lock your phone's camera so pictures can't be taken at work. However, this wouldn't stop a watch from taking and storing photos. An organisation has to consider every angle when building a BYOD, or wearable technology, policy.
After creating acceptable usage policies, an organisation should upgrade its network security. Modern solutions designed to deal with wearable tech will help prevent data theft or data loss. There are advanced security options that analyze data flows and identify the type of devices involved during a data transfer. This could alert administrators to transfers occurring outside of the network, whether incoming or outgoing. This would also allow administrators to learn which devices are on the network, and if anything unauthorized is being used.
Again, while wearable tech introduces new security concerns, that shouldn't stop organisations from considering these devices. There is no need to find a way to include every new device. Research the benefits and incorporate the ones that make sense. Work closely with IT in order to build security solutions, allowing you to gain the productivity of new technology without compromising your data in the process.