Wearable technologies have escalated over the years as more and more mainstream players dive into the playground. This trend is receiving attention from manufacturing giants like Samsung and Apple coupled by the same feat from mainstream media and blogs. Well, 2015 marked yet another milestone for these devices and it looks clear that there is no sign of braking any time soon. Now, the main cause of concern has got to be the security issues that have pegged back the adoption of wearable devices especially as far as businesses and personal data is concerned. This article digs dip into the world of wearable devices to show you the security concerns in wearable devices and ways to increase security in adoption of such devices.
Growing in Numbers:
It is important to acknowledge the growing market of wearable devices around the globe. No wonder the likes of Apple and Samsung are salivating or rather scrumming to get the lion’s share of this market. Apple has been cashing in on the gold version of its smart watch that is retailing at around $10K. The key to this growth is efficiency and after all who does not fancy such aspects in life. Think of that device you wear on your wrist at night and sync with your smartphone to see how you slept. On the downside, think of the amount of data collected by wearable devices such as an activity tracker, a smart watch, or a pulse tracker and then imagine how hackers can leverage this for malicious reasons.
Security challenges present a main hurdle to consumers and businesses, something that could hamper the adoption of wearable devices around the world. In fact, studies have supported this concern with one report by PWC highlighting the fear from consumers. In the consumer report, it was seen that 82 percent of consumers expressed worries that wearable device tech would infringe on their privacy. A further 86 percent felt that the technology would expose them to data security breaches. This is just an illustration of the concerns but the question that we perhaps need to answer is how exactly these devices are dangerous to your business?
Security Risks of Wearable Devices:
When it comes to businesses, data security is more of a necessity rather than an option and that is why many organizations should be wary of these devices. In case you are in doubt, here are some facts to change your mind.
- One major issue with many wearable devices is the fact that most of them do not meet compliance and regulations like those of HIPAA among others. This is further compounded by the loopholes created by communication channels deployed by most of these devices. Many wearable do lack of PIN protection or security fingerprint, which allows hackers to access the data. For example, Bluetooth and wireless communication are known to be vulnerable to attacks but thanks to the lack of encryption techniques like built-in PIN and biometric authentication.
- Wearable devices can capture video and audio output hence it is difficult to put restriction and protect information received from such collected data. On other hand, there is lack of checks and control to ensure about the policy enforcement regarding video and output.
- A limited user interface also makes it hard to improve features of apps that run on such devices. This difficulty can be well illustrated by a company looking to build an enterprise app and looking for ways to authenticate a user. That sounds cumbersome, right.
- The other interesting loophole is the lack of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies that capture wearable devices in many businesses. Many of these policies have not evolved in the sense that they still capture traditional devices in the realm of laptops, tablets and smartphones. This implies that IT departments find it hard to keep an eye on wearable devices hence difficulty in controlling security and authentication aspects in these devices.
Now, you have a glimpse of the security issues in wearable devices. Let us look at some solutions to them.
The first step security measure for any organization is deploying IT for employees to create a proper BYOD policy. As stated earlier, most of these policies need to be updated to capture the rising number of wearable devices being used in workplaces. Just in case your organization does not have a BYOD policy yet then its high time you create one. These policies will help an organization define the way a device should be used in a business function.
Password authentications may not be sound so secure but they still are important in protecting your data in case a wearable device used at the workplace is lost. In other words, make sure that all wearable devices are configured with passwords as the first security step before you even think of other possible authentication algorithms.
Mobile Device Management (MDM):
The great thing is that IT departments-in some sort of a centralized paradigm, can manage most android-based wearable devices. MDM platforms usually afford and approve an IT team to wipe data, execute password and app control in a way that protects your organizations data.
Install or Activate Loss Control Apps:
Some Wearable devices will come pre-installed with loss control apps thus it is important that they are active before a user is allowed to use the device in the workplace. If the device does not have the app, then they should be installed. This app will afford the company a chance to remotely wipe data or even track the devices in case the device is lost thus protecting your security.
We all love technology but with these advancements come with great responsibility that demands for tighter cyber security measures. The future is bound to get even trickier for organization as more and more devices get integrated into our lifestyle but let us just wait and see how it pans out!
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