Companies must prepare for the new challenges of wearable technology.
What is wearable technology? It’s been defined as “electronic technologies or computers that are incorporated into items of clothing and accessories which can comfortably be worn on the body”. It’s a simple definition, but wearable technology itself is far from simple.
Wearables tend to have many functions. These usually include the ability to record voice and video, chat with others, connect to the web, and store and share information (among many others). The beauty of it all is that as time passes, the power of these devices keep on increasing. Makers are also constantly breaking new ground in the range of features that they build into the wearable technology.
In the workplace, wearables are already being used for many purposes. It makes sense; with just a bit of creativity, most wearables can be turned into real assets. There is a bit of a dark side, though: Innovative technology can open up countless security risks, especially to the confidential information in your company. That said, employees will likely adopt wearables in great numbers whether you like it or not. It’s therefore important to put a wearables policy in place that suits your company’s needs.
The link to BYOD
Companies already have a hard time staying ahead of the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) movement. As noted by SC Magazine UK, BYOD is causing many security challenges for IT professionals. In fact, over 80% of IT and security professionals expect security incidents to increase in their companies next year.
It’s worth noting that ~95% of those polled claim to have issues with BYOD pressures. Their biggest fear is that of careless employees, with 87% citing this as the main concern. Additionally, 91% said that the number of mobile devices within their companies rose over the past 2 years. In line with mobile device usage trends in the population at large, the number of workers who use mobile devices is spiking. The problem is that not all these devices are accounted for at the workplace.
Some devices are also less secure than others, with 64% of respondents perceiving Android as the riskiest platform. The cost of dealing with IT issues related to mobile devices is also huge. Among poll-takers, 42% reported incurring costs exceeding £150000 ($ CAD 270,822.31). These costs are extremely high, and are much higher than they need to be. Many of these expenses are preventable through the use of a proper policy. However, the scope of policies must be expanded. Remember how this post started with wearable technology?
Companies need to be aware of more than just mobile phones and tablets. Wearables are exploding into the marketplace. Worldwide unit shipments in 2014 reached 19 million. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, though; by 2018, that figure should reach 111.9 million units. That’s over 90 million new units in just four years! Let this be your wakeup call: If your BYOD policy doesn’t already include provisions for wearables, now is the right time to add them! They will be entering the office, and securing BYOD is going to be crucial!
Memeburn suggests that policy makers should heed a few key bits of advice:
- Be aware of security levels in the crucial areas of your company. The more secure places there are, the more effort (and protocols) you’ll need to protect confidential information from all devices. You don’t want someone to accidentally (or intentionally) breach security just by taking a photo or video.
- If necessary, have formal procedures for information storage and distribution. Ensure that information that employees store on wearables are protected against access when the devices lost or stolen.
- Ensure that internet-connected devices are protected from external sources. If a device can connect to the internet, there is a chance that it may be hacked. One good way to address this issue is to encrypt employee devices that are brought to work.
What does this all mean?
The cost to companies of employees using wearables will increase. The rise in expenses will be due to security incidents or to implementing protective policies. Given a choice, wouldn’t you prefer the raise in your IT budget to come from investments in protection?
Proactively protecting your confidential information through proper policy integration is your best bet. In fact, it really should be a priority for ALL companies. The BYOD movement is here and will continue into the future. Don’t fret, though! There are ways to reduce costs and to better manage your IT budget. Cimpl’s signature software (name after the company: Cimpl) helps you take control of your IT budget and do more with it. It does this by letting you know:
- What you have to manage
- How much you are spending
- What you are actually using
- Non-core functions that can be outsourced to dedicated service providers
In addition to stretching your IT budget, Cimpl software enables your company to cut inventory costs, eliminate bill shock, drive revenues, and work smarter through the power of automation. If these key features sound interesting to you and you would like to learn more about Cimpl and the solutions that we provide, what better way than to hear straight from our customers. As Canada’s leader in IT and telecom expense management we have been helping give companies greater visibility over all their IT and telecom assets for more than a decade now. Contact us today!