Two-thirds of UK staff bring wearables to work

IT bosses say 69% of UK staff bring wearables into their organisations, according to a survey by Trend Micro

IT bosses see 69% of UK staff bring wearables into their organisations, according to a survey by Trend Micro.

The research by the IT security firm also showed 91% of organisations expect the number of employees bringing their own wearable devices to work to increase in the next year.

Trend Micro CTO Raimund Genes said wearable technology is in its growth stages.

“It’s a developing market," he said. "We are now talking about all the Fitbit devices and we’re talking about the Apple Watch, which have pretty basic sensors.”

But the hardware is coming on in leaps and bounds and, as an example, Genes pointed to a wearable blood-pressure monitor available in Germany, which could be used for insurance and healthcare purposes.

In September 2014, research firm Juniper predicted premium wearable devices will push wearable revenues to $53.2bn by 2019. Genes explained this rapid development and proliferation into different markets will continue, and raise more concerns.

“I believe in the future we will see more and more of this. We are witnessing devices which are measuring heart rate and all this kind of stuff, and it’s positive but you also have to think about the security implications,” he said.

The research revealed 64% of UK staff said this increase in wearable devices entering their workplace will not prove to be a problem and they are not worried about it.

Freelance writer and consultant Shane Richmond said: “There’s a very good reason to assume either those people need to know why it’s not fine or they’re staggeringly well prepared for this.”

However, although there is a lack of concern over wearables entering the workplace, 85% of respondents said they are aware of the security risks wearables may bring.

Concerns over identity theft

The biggest concern for IT professionals bringing wearables into the workplace was identity theft, which was cited by 47% of participants. The second was that employees were unaware of the policies or issues surrounding wearable devices in the workplace.

Earlier in 2014, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) warned wearable technology must comply with UK data privacy laws to protect its user’s information.

“If something is free on the internet, you are the product to be sold,” said Genes, who also highlighted that bring your own device (BYOD) could be interpreted to mean bring your own disaster.

“Sooner or later it will roll out – almost everybody will have these devices and, if we haven’t talked about these implications and if we haven’t thought about it, it will be too late,” he said.

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