Are Smartwatches a Ticking Time Bomb for Cyber Security?

April 24, 2015 brought a revolution in wearable technology. Yes, there have been smartwatches in the past that have failed to gain traction, yet when Apple entered the market it felt like a seismic shift (to the tune of approximately 2.7 million preorders) in the marketplace. Suddenly there will be millions of people wearing the Internet on their wrist. With this new power comes the new risk of data breaches in the workplace. This article will briefly examine the basics of managing the risk that smartwatches bring to the office.

With Novelty Comes Vulnerability

Just as was the case with smartphones and tablet computers, as more people adopt wearable technology the risk for breach increases. It is well known that smartwatches are extremely vulnerable to hackers and malicious intrusion, and offices need to be prepared with policies for data protection (as well as server strength) that prepare for the waves of initial hacks and data breaches that are nearly certain to occur.

Smartwatches Carry a Treasure Chest of Personal Information

Before connecting to the Internet the software powering smartwatches and other wearable technology collect a wealth of personal data. When that personal data includes work-related email and text messages there is clearly a risk of intrusion. For this reason it may be wise to train your managers and employees on these risks, or create a policy about the usage of smartwatches for business purposes. With the proper training the risks can be minimized, if not eliminated.

Offices Have a Wealth of Vulnerable Access Points for Intrusion

Tech-savvy offices now not only have a variety of Wi-Fi access points, but also Bluetooth connections, and other areas where data can be breached. Of course it is important to encrypt all data with a new type of technology flooding the marketplace, but it is also important to train employees on the proper means of safely using their devices within a risky environment like the office.

Proper Training Alleviates Many of the Issues

At a minimum, employees need to be encouraged to turn off Bluetooth or Wi-Fi settings when their devices are not in use. The problem with a request like this is that it is impractical, especially with respect to a device like the Apple Watch, which pairs with the users’ smartphone. Therefore, it is far more important to introduce training on the enemies and types of hackers that may be trying to intrude upon the office’s networks than engage in training on technical jargon that may confuse your staff. After all, the key to training is to make your employees know you are doing the best you can to keep the office safe for both their benefit and the benefit of the company.

Syntrio is committed to helping businesses prevent data intrusions from occurring within their offices, yet also with assisting business in complying with their ethical obligations to train employees on cyber-security and the protection of employee, business, and customer data. Contact for more information and remember to follow us on TwitterGoogle Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on employment law and compliance issues that may impact your organization!


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