Do wearables pose a threat to corporate data?

wearables smart watch security CSC Blogs

The wearable revolution is just beginning to penetrate the enterprise. Smartwatches in particular are common among enterprise employees who want the convenience of syncing their watches to their smartphones, making it easier to see texts and other notifications without having to pull their mobile device from their pockets.

Smartwatches seem relatively benign next to smartphones, which typically can fully access enterprise data, applications and back-end services. After all, wearables are basically tethered to other mobile devices, albeit wirelessly.

So how can something that merely tells you that you’ve received a text and monitors your heart rate pose a danger to the enterprise? Because those darned employees are taking it to the next level!

As Computerworld‘s Matt Hamblen explains, “Some employees have begun connecting their personal smartwatches with corporate Wi-Fi networks, which could mimic the problems caused when personal smartphones started showing up at work several years ago.”

Hamblen talks with Peter Gillespie, an attorney at Fisher Phillips, a law firm representing employers, who tells him that using smartwatches to access emails and other enterprise data sources could lead to lost, stolen or corrupted corporate and personal data.

And even though Gillespie acknowledges he can’t cite any actual examples of an employee’s wearable causing a data security problem, he’s absolutely correct that 1) it can happen and 2) enterprises should be prepared.

IDC analyst Phil Hochmuth likens the security dangers posed by wearables to that of personal smartphones in the workplace. “They’re both connected devices, likely owned by a worker, and in some cases can store a lot of data or sync with corporate apps that contain sensitive information,” he tells Hamblen.

Smartwatches and other wearables are a long way from possessing the computing power and versatility of smartphones. But that’s now. As Mike Elgan argued last week, smartwatches eventually may replace smartphones.

As technology evolves, IT professionals must be able to see down the road in order to head off future threats. Ignoring or downplaying any device that can connect to or store enterprise data is asking for trouble.

Is your enterprise dealing with connected wearables?


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