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Are Your Employees’ Smartwatches Security Risks?

Are Your Employees’ Smartwatches Security Risks?

The smartwatch is one of the most popular gifts given to technology lovers; and, they have quite a bit of utility. They can help improve communication, health, and of course give them a sleek accessory. One problem that people don’t often consider is how their employer has to handle the influx of smartwatches and other IoT devices that are brought to work after the holidays. Today, we’ll briefly discuss how Internet of Things devices could be security risks and what a business should do about it. 

Personal Data Needs to Be Protected

The first thing we are going to touch on really doesn’t have to do with businesses, it has to do with smartwatch users. The smartwatch is a cool gadget and can do a lot of really neat things as long as you remember to charge it. Unfortunately, there is some risk involved in allowing these devices access to your business’ network. Some models don’t have completely fleshed out operating systems and could provide hackers an avenue of access to the rest of your business’ computing infrastructure if they aren’t kept updated. 

Many of the noted security shortcoming of these devices may not mean anything for your business, but should be a consideration. It’s a best practice to create, implement, and enforce a BYOD policy that extends to smartwatches and other wearable technology and IoT devices.  Here are a few tips that you can pass onto your employees to avoid problems with vulnerabilities brought onto your network through wearable technology: 

  • Users shouldn’t use unofficial apps - Users need to avoid “jailbreaking” a device to give them access to applications that they wouldn’t typically have. Jailbreaking is essentially installing a non-authorized version of an application or operating system on a device. It voids the warranty and can exacerbate the questionable security surrounding smart devices. If the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store can’t always catch malicious apps, importing apps from an unsupported platform is a risky proposition.
  • Don’t jailbreak your phone - This should be common knowledge, but you really shouldn’t jailbreak your phone either, but especially don’t use a smartwatch with a jailbroken phone. 
  • Don’t connect devices directly to your watch - Avoid hooking up things directly to the watch. If your plan was to use your watch as a cool controller for all of your smart devices, you should immediately reconsider. Since there are built-in vulnerabilities for many watches, it’s important to choose options that prioritize security. 
  • Keep your smartwatch OS and other apps updated - Software vulnerabilities can cause major problems regardless of what platform they come on. Smart devices like smartwatches are no different. Keep their OS up to date for the best security. 

Build an IoT Security Strategy

With the popularity of smart devices, there is probably a pretty good chance that you have plenty of them already at your place of business. In order to get the control you need, you will likely need a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) strategy that also considers the IoT endpoints that are brought in. This is called a Bring Your Own Internet of Things (BYOIoT) Strategy. 

By extending your BYOD strategy to a BYOIoT strategy, you not only have the coverage you need to keep threats off of your organization’s network, but you also have the solutions in place to scale that platform as your employees plan on bringing in additional smart devices. Securing endpoints and monitoring data flow will be important strategies to consider in the days and years ahead. 

Securing the endpoints on your network is extremely important. For more information about what White Mountain IT Services technicians can do for you, give us a call today at 603-889-0800.

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Although we provide remote services and support to businesses in over 20 states, onsite services are limited to within reasonable driving distance from our office in NH.  For locations outside of our service area, we will manage a local vendor to provide onsite assistance when needed.

 

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