How Wearables will Impact Enterprise IT
Posted on November 26, 2017
Wearables are the hottest trend in the consumer segment, but they’re not just a fashion statement. A growing number of enterprises now utilise wearables to enhance the efficiency of their operations.
Furthermore, the Australian wearable market is likely to touch $1 billion by 2018, according to market analyst firm, Frost & Sullivan.
As wearables become more and more sophisticated, it is but natural that the enterprises want to take advantage of the technology within the workplace. Innovations like such as tracking workforces, through to ensuring safety, are revamping the way internal operations are streamlined.
Businesses across various verticals are already using wearables. These include fitness trackers, smart augmented reality glasses, voice controlled headsets, wearable cameras, and body sensors. As a result, these companies are enhancing their overall productivity and efficiency as a workforce. For instance, field workers using smart glasses equipped with augmented reality technology can send back data to their headquarters in real-time. Analytical teams can then use the information to eliminate guesswork.
However, just like the Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) trend, there are compelling security issues which the enterprises need to tackle before they allow wearables to enter the workforce. Imagine if a malware compromised wearable device entered a 'secure' corporate network via WiFi, the malware has a back-door and can start to infiltrate from a seemingly innocuous source.
As wearables become more common in the enterprise space, IT departments need to take measures to protect them as they do laptops and smartphones. More importantly, businesses need to stop thinking of wearables as just a fad, and take them seriously as a security threat.
Implement an enterprise wearable program
Each one of these devices can be a potential weak link allowing hackers to wreak havoc to your systems. So, if you don’t already have an enterprise wearable program in place, it is time get one.
Wearables are inevitably going to enter your companies, whether distributed by management or worn as a personal device by your workforce. It is then better to expand your corporate security and network measures to cover wearable device as well. Look at your network gateways and ensure the data generated from wearables can be trafficked safely and securely. Consider dedicated WiFi SSIDs to isolate wearables data, and look at Cloud Firewall solutions which can be configured to allow wearable data in a secure manner.
Use Mobile Device Management (MDM) policies to cover wearables
Check whether your current MDM policy covers wearables or not. Wearables work differently from smartphones and pose new security risks. Instead of thinking of banning or restricting wearables—which is unlikely to sit well with your staff—it is better to rethink your policies and to employ new services to ensure that wearables and your company data are adequately protected.
Use encryption to secure wearables
Wearables store data on the local device, which is usually without encryption. More often than not there is no PIN or password protection, no user or biometric authentication, so there is a real possibility of data landing in the wrong hands. Besides, the data might also be stored on manufacturer or service provider’s cloud servers. Because of this, there is a strong need to encrypt the data or to restrict the data access.
Patch up the vulnerabilities
As wearable devices become common, they are likely to emerge as targets for hackers. Follow the same principles of regularly updating the software for all devices—including desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets. This presents an easy way to avoid vulnerabilities. Don’t make the mistake of underestimating the threat from wearables.
In the end, it is important and even crucial to remember that wearables are no longer just trendy accessories. They have the potential to transform the way workplace functions, including how we communicate and collaborate. The onus is on the IT decision makers to leverage this trend for the maximum benefit of the organisation, and to not let the cloud of security curtail its adoption. So get ready for wearables to make their presence felt in the workplace.