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Wearables in the workplace strain existing GRC policies

Have you considered the GRC implications of wearables in the workplace? In this #GRCChat recap, participants consider the impact of wearables on established policies and how businesses can ensure data security and privacy.

As if bring your own device (BYOD) policies weren't complicated enough, wearable technologies seem poised to throw a wrench in established approaches to management. Wearables have been gaining traction in the enterprise as new devices offer the promise of improving productivity, business processes and even the fitness of employees.

Wearable technology shows no sign of slowing down: In TrendMicro's survey of 100 senior IT decisionmakers, 82 %of respondents said their organizations' BYOD security policies will have to change in order to account for wearables in the workplace.

How will policies change? How can companies assure BYOD policies are flexible enough to handle wearables while also guaranteeing that sensorized data is compliant? In this #GRCChat recap, participants discuss the effect of wearables on established MDM and what businesses can do to ensure data compliance.

#GRCChatters were quick to point out the uncertainties around where wearables fit into larger mobile device management (MDM) strategies. The technology is so new that few policy precedents exist, making incorporating wearables in the workplace a challenge not only to security and compliance, but also to user experience:

An important factor, according to SearchCompliance Editor Ben Cole, is to pay special attention to precisely which devices have the potential to enter the enterprise:

(Yes, this chat took place during the height of #DeflateGate.)

Lack of standardization is a challenge for wearables policies because it is hard to identify the right device-governance practices. SearchCompliance Associate Editor Francesca Sales raised a question about controlling device usage and data access within a company:

With wearable devices potentially recording a lot of sensitive, personal information about the wearer, bringing those devices into the workplace raises significant privacy concerns. Who has access to that information? How much privacy should employees expect? SearchCIO Senior News Writer Nicole Laskowski broached the subject of wearables privacy:

Security is another concern. Wearable devices may move on and off a company's network frequently and, with their increasing use for email and other business-related communications, may carry sensitive company data. But, as one participant pointed out, it's not just the data that needs to be secured -- it's the devices themselves:

How do you think wearables in the workplace will affect mobile device management? Sound off in the comments section below.

Next Steps

For more on BYOD governance, check out this #GRCChat recap on enforcing GRC essentials for a strong BYOD security policy. Then, read through this Q&A to get an expert's take on overcoming the data governance complications of wearable technology.

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How do you think wearables in the workplace will factor into BYOD policies?
I do not see how wearables add any benefit, in fact, I do not think wearables bring much value to the tech at all. All wearables do is try and merge fashion and technology, two areas that are so far apart in terms of ideas. Wearables are a major distraction to the employees and they will spend more time thinking of how trendy they look than the core reason they are at work that day.
I think there are a couple of key things to consider. First, as some of the tweets mentioned, privacy is going to be a rather large obstacle that will need to be overcome. I agree with Ben Cole’s tweet that IT can’t ensure total employee privacy. That said, I think the governance aspect needs to focus on what devices can be allowed on to be used in conjunction with BYD. The second key consideration I see is similar to IoT – the IT departments will have their hands full determining which of those wearable devices are supposed to be connected to the network, and which are “shadow devices” that an employee has brought into the office and connected to the network without IT knowing about it.
would it be possible for companies to ban wearables completely, or would it be too hard to draw the line between wearable devices and and common mobile devices like cell phones? It sounds like the privacy/security/IT logistics may be complicated to allow wearables in the corporate setting, but I wonder if companies ban them the company would be missing out on potential business benefits like improved employee productivity + satisfaction.
Ugh - seems like there's always something new to make corporate culture more tricky. Does anyone think this "wearables" trend will hold water for much longer?