by Rebecca Merrett

Organisations preparing for bring your own wearables

Nov 13, 20142 mins

Just as some organisations get comfortable with bring-your-own-device programs, others are starting to prepare for wearables entering the workplace.

In a new study by ISACA – a non-profit, information security professionals association – 55 per cent of 279 IT execs surveyed across Asia Pacific said they are planning for wearables in the workplace or will do so in the next 12 months. Wearable technology will support their plans to tap into the opportunities of the Internet of Things.

The consumer part of the study, which surveyed 1,007 Australian and New Zealand consumers, found 45 per cent drive connected cars, with 42 per cent owning smart TVs and 64 per cent planning to take up connected devices soon.

“The Internet of Things is here, and we are likely to see a surge in wearable devices in the workplace,” said Sydney-based ISACA International VP and governance advisory practice lead at Vital Interacts, Garry Barnes.

However, there are some challenges to wade through when it comes to accepting wearables in the workplace. The study found the potential for increased security threats and privacy issues are concerns.

In the Asia Pacific region, 47 per cent of organisations fear the uptake of wearables will increase security threats, with 27 per cent most concerned about privacy.

Wearables being hacked into or malicious attacks were of most concern to 28 per cent of A/NZ consumers, with 26 per cent not knowing how the information collected by the devices will be used.

“These devices can deliver great value, but they can also bring great risk. Companies should take an ‘embrace and educate’ approach,” said Barnes.

He said organisations need to “aggressively” educate employees and customers on steps they can take in helping reduce the risk or minimise the impact of data breaches or hacks.

Despite the risks, 48 per cent of Asia Pacific respondents believe the benefits wearables can bring to an organisation outweigh the risks. Forty-one per cent said that wearables and the Internet of Things have given their business greater access to information, with 34 per cent stating it has improved their services in some way.

Long term benefits identified in the study were lowering costs, which 48 per cent in Asia Pacific hope to achieve in future, and increased customer satisfaction and efficiency, which 47 per cent hope gain from connected devices.