Wearable technology has been on the fast track to consumers this year, with a myriad of companies trying to get their products out and in the hands of buyers as soon as possible. As with smartphones, wearables will be flooding the market for the foreseeable future, and whether businesses like it or not, consumers are going to expect to use their devices at work.
Are workplaces ready for this invasion of wearable tech? According to new research from global IT association ISACA, the answer is no. As with BYOD, businesses will need time to come to grips with the network and security issues presented by BYOW (bring your own wearables) and develop policies to keep both the user and the business secure.
“The Internet of Things is here, and following the holidays, we are likely to see a surge in wearable devices in the workplace,” said Rob Clyde, international vice president of ISACA and CEO of Adaptive Computing. “These devices can deliver great value, but they can also bring great risk. Companies should take an ’embrace and educate’ approach.”
The IoT at Work
Click through for findings from a survey on IoT/wearable-readiness in the workplace, conducted by ISACA.
IT professionals still see more risk than benefit with wearable technology. Increased security threats (50 percent) were the biggest challenge IT pros reported concerning wearables in the workplace, followed by data privacy (24 percent), identity and access management (7 percent), compliance requirements (6 percent), and ownership of tech and/or data outside of IT (6 percent).
According to 2014 IT Risk/Reward Barometer, 40 percent of respondents in North America say their organization has plans in place to leverage the Internet of Things or expects to create plans in the next 12 months. Sixty-three percent of respondents reported feeling that BYOW had about the same risk as BYOD.
However, the majority of organizations are not ready for wearable technology in the workplace. More than half (60 percent) say their “bring your own device” (BYOD) policy does not address wearables and a further 18 percent do not even have a BYOD policy in place.
This is significant because more than half of U.S. consumers in a related survey state that connected devices are on their wish lists. In addition, 83 percent of the IT professionals surveyed say BYOW (bring your own wearables) is as risky as, or riskier than, BYOD.
Risk vs. Benefit
Overall, most IT professionals across North America believe the benefit of the Internet of Things outweighs the risk for individuals (39 percent), while close to half believe the risk outweighs the benefit for enterprises (44 percent). Yet despite the risks, a quarter (25 percent) say the Internet of Things has given their business greater access to information and more than four in 10 hope to benefit from greater efficiency (43 percent) and improved services (41 percent) as a result of connected devices.
Is privacy dead?
Half of the respondents believe the biggest challenge regarding the Internet of Things is increased security threats, while nearly a quarter (24 percent) are concerned about data privacy issues. The majority (71 percent) is very concerned about the decreasing level of personal privacy and 32 percent of respondents say the general public’s biggest concern about connected devices should be that they don’t know who has access to the information collected.
ISACA recently established the Cybersecurity Nexus (CSX) as a resource that enterprises and security professionals can turn to for security guidance. Additional information can be found at www.isaca.org/cyber.