Whether it’s smart glasses, fitness trackers, smart watches or even smart clothing, wearables are the latest consumer trend – and it’s one that’s burgeoning globally.
Consequently, it should come as no surprise that wearables are starting to make their way into the workplace. In fact, according to Salesforce.com research, “Companies are embracing bring your own wearables (BYOW), with 54 percent currently supporting a BYOW model and an additional 40 percent planning to support this model in the future.”
While this may be great from an efficiency and productivity standpoint, it can be a double-edged sword when you consider the cybersecurity threats that can emerge.
Here are just a few ways in which wearables can impact the cybersecurity threat landscape, and why companies should use caution.
Past vs. Present
In the past, technology was significantly more limited and companies only had a finite number of access points that needed to be secured. As a result, there were a minimal number of attack surfaces that cyber attackers could infiltrate and exploit.
Fast-forward to the present, and it’s a much different story. Technology has evolved, and the Internet of Things (IoT) connects our world like never before.
With so many smart devices containing sensors, microprocessors and transmitters, it’s created a nearly infinite number of attack surfaces, and attackers are having a field day.
The Current State of Wearable Security
The main problem with wearables in the workplace is the inherent lack of security. While most companies go to significant lengths to keep enterprise software secure, this isn’t always the case with wearables; IoT manufacturers haven’t been approaching security design with the same experience and perspective.
In addition, the emphasis is often placed on design and aesthetics, rather than security. Since this technology is arguably still in its infancy, security is lagging behind – ultimately creating a number of considerable concerns for businesses.
In fact, the Traveler’s Business Risk Index of 2015 found that 58% of US businesses worry somewhat about cyber risks/breaches posed by wearables, and 23% worry a great deal.
Whether it’s signal interference, corporate espionage or stolen personal data, companies are more susceptible to cyber threats with the prevalence of wearables in the workplace.
Wearables are Here to Stay, and Cybersecurity Must Adapt
While you may be reluctant to allow these types of devices in your workplace because of the inherent security risks, it’s hard to deny the positive impact they have on productivity.
With Tractica forecasting that “enterprise and industrial use cases will drive the deployment of more than 75 million wearable devices between 2014 and 2020” and Salesforce.com predicting “the use of wearables in the enterprise will more than triple in the next two years,” it’s safe to say that this technology is here to stay.
The short answer to the initial question, “Do wearables threaten cybersecurity in the workplace?”—is yes. However, the risk-reward scenario these devices pose can be tilted in your favor with the right approach to cybersecurity threat prevention.
Visibility of potential attack paths in your network is essential for cybersecurity threat prevention—not just in relation to these new wearable/IoT devices, but for your network as a whole. As wearables continue to add attack surfaces to your network, seeing what attackers see will become essential as you bolster your pre-breach prevention measures.
Recommended reading for you:
- Is Mobility the Greatest Enterprise Cybersecurity Threat?
- Are Your One Step Ahead of Cyber Attackers?
- Why Gartner Says Deception Technology is Key to Fighting Cyber Threats