Are Enterprise Wearables A Boon Or A Bane?

12-09-2014
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As destinations gets closer and functions become increasingly interconnected, the internet offers the only viable way for multinational companies to bring all their employees, across departments and locations, on the same platform. Employees can now access their company network even when they are not physically present in the premises. Recent technological advancements have helped companies improve operational efficiency further by introducing wearable devices in the market, breaking all conventional connectivity barriers. However, apart from increasing productivity and ensuring smooth functioning, such devices have also brought certain imminent security risks to light.

The Pros

Apart from encouraging mobility, wearable devices have also made performing tasks easier and more convenient by ensuring that the software and tools required for the job are always at hand. These wearable devices enable employees to access client details, support information, project requirements, etc. needed while participating in virtual meetings or answering phone calls.

The concept of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), thus, is fast gaining popularity. Not only does it improve employee performance, but also ensures significant cost savings. Moreover, many wearable devices ensure hands-free access to critical information (via voice commands etc.), which can be of great help during critical situations.

Devices like Google Glasses can help employees look for information, record videos/click photos, or transfer data, etc. even while travelling, working on project sites without a laptop/desktop, etc. Google Glasses can also be used by medical practitioners for filming surgical processes. The Apple Watch, too, offers an easy way of making payments, networking, getting directions, etc. for those always on the move.

The Cons

However, wearable devices, if allowed for official use, also complicate the already complex matter of data security further. As newer ways of ensuring fast and easy access to data evolve, so do new threats to sensitive organisational information. Since these devices can connect to company servers from anywhere and store crucial organisational information, they expose a huge amount of data to attacks. The rise in the number and variety of devices not only dilutes the strength of security measures undertaken, but also increases the risk of hardware fragmentation.

Moreover, such devices generate of lot of data, both personal and official, especially in case of BYOD. Without a proper mechanism to filter out the information required, companies end up with a lot of data to store and protect. Any misstep leading to leakage of personal data can result in legal actions. The sheer volume, velocity and variety of data streaming in from such devices makes it imperative for firms to have tools that can process and analyse such data effectively, which entails considerable investments.

The Impact

Owing to the operational and functional benefits they offer, wearable devices are fast gaining ground despite their disadvantages. Mobile warehouse workers and rescue/search teams can use them for their high-tech tracking features. Smartglasses could be ideal for those who need manual or schematic consultation while repairing. Wearables can also help in remote monitoring of devices. In the healthcare industry, such devices can be used for monitoring patient condition and sending information to doctors.

As far as security issues are concerned, they can be dealt with by tracking and granting limited access to corporate or private networks. The IT departments can set-up a mobility team to handle process adoption, ensure compliance, and allay security risks. Moreover, organisations can formulate policies and ensure strict adherence.

However, since wearables call for significant investments, companies must go ensure that they are both reliable and durable. They should also ensure that such devices are not only scalable and easy to integrate with other business systems, but also project a healthy return on investment.



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