Enterprise considerations for deploying wearables

Enterprise considerations for deploying wearables

Wearables are following closely behind the trend of mobile devices, and starting to make it’s way into the enterprise environment. Since the mobile device market has matured, and things like smart phones, tablets, and BYOD initiatives are becoming common place, companies are well poised for the surge of wearables.
Or are they?

Truth is, wearable devices such as fitness trackers, smart watches, and smart glasses, pose a slew of new risks to enterprises.

Now, mobile device management is more about protecting the companies sensitive information on an employees cell phone. But now, companies also need to consider protecting the employees information from misuse!

Let’s stick to 4 main areas of concern for now

– Information leaks – Smart glasses in particular, all carry cameras built in to the device. Yes mobile phones also have cameras, but it’s pretty easy to tell when someone is taking a photo with their phone, or have employees drop their phone off before entering secure areas. Smart glasses on the other hand…. There really isn’t any physical means of telling when someone is discretely recording on the device, and if the worker is using a pair for their job, then you can’t really just take the device away. All of the available recording capabilities enable wearables to secretly collect information, and from there, who know’s who’s hands it will get into.
– Security attacks – Many new smart devices lack the ability to do multi-factor authentication. In fact, most of these devices are supported by major MDM providers either. That means, in order to provide network access to these devices, you security measures NEED to be lowered. It only takes one device to become compromised and start leaking the data mentioned above.

– Loss of Personally identifiable information (PII) – The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines PII “as any information about an individual maintained by an agency.” Say wearables are being leveraged in the hospital setting. Patient information being stored on a device that is lost immediately puts the patient at risk of being exposed. Or, another example would be an employee losing their smart watch which is unlocked, exposing things such as emails and calendar entries.

– Violation of privacy – With the ability to collect all sorts of statistics about the health and even activities of employees and customers, it’s tempting to start running analytics and coming up with all sorts of metrics that can be used to base decisions on. Not only can this lead to a slew ethical issues, but the National Labor Act actually requires that any data being collected on employees and used for performance decisions be completely transparent with the work force. That means no secret snooping.
So whats the salient point here. Wearable technology poses new risks, and if your company is looking to start deploying these devices to the workforce, you should spend the time necessary to ensure the right policies, procedures, and governance is in place.

But, with any emerging technology, though not to be taken lightly, these risks should not prevent enterprises from pushing forward and figuring out innovative ways these devices can be used to improve business processes.
This material originally appeared as part of a whitepaper created by Brent Blum, and can be found at

Until next time, keep on experimenting.

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