Wearables in the Workplace: What WYOD Means To Your Corporate Policies
In just over a week, the Apple Watch will be here, and tech nerds everywhere just can’t wait long enough for the $350 gadget – with a lucky few paying $2,500 for a retro not-so-smart Apple Watch from the 90s on eBay.
Of course, with new technology comes new challenges for IT administrators – as we saw in the last decade with a large number of companies adapting to employee demands for slimmer laptops, tablets and smartphones by drafting BYOD policies for their workplace.
With that said, where will wearables fall in the scope of BYOD? Will you be allowing employees to WYOD? Wearables are already here and wearables in the workplace are set to grow significantly upon Apple’s much anticipated arrival in the space. By 2020, more than 75 million wearable devices are likely to be deployed in Enterprise environments.
Wearables are set to transform business, because they are more than just a timepiece. There is going to be a long adjustment period, and many IT administrators will undoubtedly question if wearables are secure enough to hold their place in an office setting.
Concerns over Wearable Security in the Workplace
Like many Internet of Things devices prior to wearables, there is some concern that hackers can use the devices as a backdoor into a corporate network. It’s also somewhat of a concern that most wearables – including the new Apple Watch, charge via USB, giving some concern to a virus on a home computer piggybacking onto a work machine through the USB. A simple solution for the latter would be for IT departments to simply disable access to USB-enabled peripherals on corporate machines.
If wearables in the workplace catch on as much as some industry experts are expecting, engagement in the office could also become an issue, because employees will always be connected to their own personal devices. When personal texts, emails or reminders pop up on an employee’s wrist, human nature will instinctively kick in, leading to increased distractions from the task at hand.
What Should Be In Your WYOD Policy?
If your business already has a BYOD policy and you’re OK with a little bit of personal tech in your office space, you’re already well ahead of the curve in drafting a WYOD policy. You already know what works and what doesn’t work. A WYOD policy isn’t going to differ significantly from your BYOD policy.
You’ll have to extend your BYOD policy to cover wearables, understand how they work and what risks they bring to your work environment.
Here are a few best practices to prepare your business for WYOD and increasing the wearable security of your network:
- Ensure wearable devices go through the same security procedures as other devices covered under your BYOD policy
- Shore up network access points, security standards and monitoring efforts to ensure hackers are unable to backdoor into your network through employee wearable devices
- Limit what information employees can access on your network
- Mainstream wearables will focus mainly on smart watches, but technology like Google Glass also falls under this category. Be sure you have a policy one way or another on Glass – and while it does have usefulness in a business setting, it may be advisable to prohibit this technology, as it is capable of recording everything a user sees – which may include confidential information
The beginning of wearables in the workplace hasn’t yet hit its flux, so it is important to become prepared and educated on WYOD and the possible challenges sooner rather than later. The Apple Watch may be a game changer, due to the mass appeal and marketability of Apple Devices, along with the buzz and anticipation this particular device has had over several years now. The Apple Watch will do more than that FitBit some of your employees already wear will ever do, so it’s best to be educated on the unique challenges these devices pose within the workplace.
Does your business need to brush up on its policies? Do you need a qualified, unbiased third party consultant to come in and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your current internet security policies? ThrottleNet can do just that. Contact us today to learn more.