IT | Security

Wearable Devices and their Impact on BYOD

By: Absolute Editorial Team | 1/20/2014

Could Wearing Your Own Device (WYOD) be the future of BYOD? The term that encompasses wearable tech such as smart watches and glasses like Google Glas, is hitting the workplace, but does it really change anything for IT?

Many companies fear the device fragmentation challenges that have entered the workplace as the result of BYOD. The greater the number and range of ways to access corporate infrastructure, the harder it is for IT departments to keep track of what their users are doing. Where users have unfettered access and control, then it becomes impossible to secure corporate infrastructure and data. The question though, is how do you manage so many different operating systems, hardware types, applications and users? Does this situation change with the emergence of wearable tech?

WYOD is a trendy term, but the core issue is still that of BYOD, and the best BYOD policy doesn't focus on the device. Rather than investing heavily in multiple IT policies and infrastructure based on device type, IT should focus on the user, rather than the device. After all, the main purpose of a BYOD policy is to secure the corporate networks and data that these devices will access. And typically, access to networks and data is defined by the individual, not the device. The organisation’s BYOD policy needs to specify what can and will be done with the device relative to the corporate data and infrastructure. In this respect it needs to act as a complement to an existing baseline IT policy that covers all services and is, in effect, regardless if the device is owned by the employee or the organisation. It should be a constant protocol that IT implements based on scenario and user activity — not on the type of device.

As PC Advisor notes, we do need to prepare for the entrance of wearable tech into the workplace, by setting up a BYOD policy that is inclusive of these new devices. Devices such as Google Glass present privacy and security risks that are more difficult to "control" than other tech, although not unique. While Google Glass may make it easier to take photos or videos of others or of sensitive data, smartphones are also fully capable of this. HR needs to step up to these unique issues, while BYOD in general is an overall organizational issue that should be addressed.