From BYOD to BYOW: Is Your Network Prepared for Wearable Devices? Previous item VIDEO: Digital... Next item The Time for the Internet...

It was not too long ago that IT departments were struggling with developing policies and procedures for the sheer number of devices that employees were connecting into the network. In fact, many IT departments are still trying to manage their Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies. Still, many haven’t extended that policy to include wearable devices. BYOD is quickly turning into BYOW, and the network must accommodate these new wearable devices and be aware of the impact that they are having.

According to a Statista report on global connected devices, we reached 453 million wearable devices in 2017 alone, with the expectation to reach 929 million by 2021. Most of these devices include smart watches that connect to phone, email, text, all from your wrist. Other popular devices include IoT for healthcare, monitoring heart rate, exercise, calories consumed and more. Others collect customer data or provide location intelligence and GPS. Now consider the impact of those devices and the data connecting and travelling through the corporate network.

As we start to see more devices connect into the network, we need to consider the following:

Security

First and foremost, for BYOD or “BYO-anything,” security needs to be the top consideration. Security at the edge, requires end-point security and continuous monitoring of the network to identify new device connections. Devices from anywhere, including wearable devices, can contain malware and cause vulnerabilities on the network.

Data Protection

Consider the data that is collected by each of these wearable devices. Personal identification, health information, consumer preferences, location and so much more is collected, stored, and potentially now travelling through corporate networks, once connected to the network. Is the data encrypted? Data protection is a critical component of any BYOD or BYOW plan.

Compliance

Across industries, healthcare, financial, and government organizations, etc., are facing the challenges of compliance with data protection regulations. As more devices are connecting to the network, policies must be in place to ensure that organizations are not storing or securing data that will put them at risk of being non-compliant.

The bottom line is that mobile device management and security is evolving and shifting as more consumer technology is connecting into the corporate network. Don’t risk being left open to vulnerabilities by ignoring the potential threats of connected wearable technologies as you develop your risk assessments and security plan moving forward. You must keep up with the pace of technology innovation and ensure that security is top of mind.