One of the items on our list of “5 Cyber Security Threats for SMBs to Watch in 2016” was “Wearable Tech.” Better known by the nickname tech wearables, this category of mobile devices includes smartwatches, fitness bands and other pieces of connected hardware that monitor our every move and send that data through wireless networks – including office Wi-Fi – on a nearly continuous basis.
While wearables provide portable entertainment and help us manage our time and health, they also can create what editors of ITBusinessEdge once called a “perfect storm for personal data breaches.” And it’s a squall destined to roll through your office sometime soon. According to recent report by IDC, nearly 102 million wearable devices are expected to ship by the end of this year – up 30% from last year. By the end of this decade, that number is expected to rise to more than 213 million units. So, inevitably some of your employees will begin bringing wearables to work, if they haven’t already.
How do you cope with the increased risks to cyber security and privacy that wearables represent? InformationWeek contributor Lisa Morgan talked with multiple experts to develop a set of pointers. Here’s a digest of recommendations from her article:
- Extend Your BYOD Policy to Wearable Tech
When the Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) trend swept through your workplace, no doubt you adapted your remote and mobile computing policies to include personal laptops, smartphones and tablets. It’s time to do the same for wearables. In our post “6 Must-Have Items for Your Written BYOD Policy” we offer a template for developing this type of policy.
- Consider Cyber Liability Insurance
Just as you insure yourself against accidents and injuries that may happen at your facilities or on your office premises, cyber liability insurance helps insulate your business from the potential costs of a data breach caused by equipment beyond your control. While new insurance premiums surely add new expenses to your balance sheet, financial damages from data breaches can reach six figures in a matter of hours, making a cyber liability policy a compelling option.
- Hire a Third-Party Security Auditor
Laws regarding data breaches vary by jurisdictions, which means statues differ from country to country and from state to state. And by virtue of digital technologies, many businesses – regardless of size or industry – are operating across state lines and overseas, if only in a virtual sense. Failing to understand the web of laws and regulations that apply to your company in this digital environment could significantly increase liability exposure in the event of data breach. In addition to disrupting your operations, a major data loss could result in fines and lawsuits. A credible third-party audit can mitigate these risks as regulators and other authorities make take your preventative measures into consideration in the event of any punitive or legal actions.
As always, dealing with the cyber security implications of wearables in the workplace isn’t a challenge you have to face alone. Our post “3 Ways MSPs Can Help SMBs with IoT” explains several ways your IT Managed Services Provider (MSP) can help you manage the current wearables phenomenon — and then prepare for whatever may come next.