Nov 26, 2013
Should Enterprises Worry About WYOD (Wear Your Own Device)?
Mobile is beginning to take on a whole new meaning. Until recently, “mobile” technologies were neatly categorized. They typically referred either to smartphones, tablets, or other types of portable devices (scanners, ruggedized laptops, etc.). However, the emergence of wearable and embedded mobile computers -- a trend known as WYOD (Wear Your Own Device) -- is prompting an expanded definition of what’s viewed as “mobile.” We’re seeing the development of wearable technologies ranging from Google Glass, in which the wearer of a head-mounted optical device is able to view information in a smartphone-like hands-free format and request information using natural language commands to the use of embedded body chips and bracelets for personal identification and transactions. But it doesn't stop there. Some people are beginning to don wearable devices such as Samsung Galaxy Gear smart-watches that can be used to take calls when driving, capture video images, and listen to music when paired with an external Bluetooth speaker. Meanwhile, smart GPS-enabled shoes are now available that can guide the wearer to their destination via LED lights. While corporate IT professionals shouldn't worry too much about having to support an employee’s smart shoes, the recent eruption of wearable technologies does carry enterprise network security implications. As these devices become increasingly more sophisticated and are integrated with traditional mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, corporate apps and data could become vulnerable to hackers, malware, and other security threats. As such, IT and security administrators will need to adjust their organization’s bring your own device (BYOD) policies to ensure that corporate data is being protected while making sure that malware that could be picked up by wearable devices doesn't infect corporate data or apps. We have yet to see if employees end up wearing smart-watches, Bluetooth necklaces, or other forms of wearable technologies for work. However, IT professionals that focus on corporate data and apps will be better positioned to monitor, inspect, and review enterprise mobile apps that are being used on a wearable device.