Wearable Tech World Feature Article
May 04, 2015

Going to the Office? BYO Apple Watch

By Wearable Tech World Special Guest
Chris Kozup, Senior Director, Aruba Networks

“Gorgeous”. “Beautiful”. “Actually useful”. “Epic”. The accolades from the reviewers of the Apple Watch keep pouring in, and the new device – though not the first of its kind in the market – holds the potential of becoming as ubiquitous as the iPhone or the iPod.

However, the expected popularity of the Apple Watch raises interesting challenges for CIOs and IT managers. The Apple Watch is merely a herald of an expected tsunami of BYOD smart devices and Internet-of-Things wearables into the workplace, potentially opening up new risks to corporate data privacy and security.

It’s highly likely that the first Apple Watches in the workplace will be personally owned. Yet, these devices will be able to interact with corporate networks; and access, download and store company data. Other wearables (not the current version of the Apple Watch) come with built-in cameras. In fact, one of the more interesting features of the Apple Watch is the ability to tether to, and control, iPhones over a remote connection.

IT departments will be understandably worried about the impact of the Apple Watch on the workplace. Even though many organizations have already adopted BYOD policies, several new conundrums will pop up.

At the very top of the list: is it appropriate to allow wearable devices to connect to enterprise networks? What if the device is already tethered to a smartphone that has already been given access?

Bear in mind that, according to a study by Aruba Networks, the new generation of employees – dubbed #GenMobile – expect mobility at the workplace to be a given, so any blanket decision to ban such devices from the workplace will be highly unpopular. In fact, almost two thirds of study respondents say they use mobile devices to help them manage their work and personal lives better. 

If the decision is made to accept Apple Watches and other wearables into the organisation, will existing BYOD policies that govern the use of corporate data be enough—will new policies be required?

When tinkering with these policies, CIOs have to keep in mind the fact that there will be other IoT-based devices coming along that could be embedded into an employee’s clothing or even office pantry appliances. In fact, the acronym “BYOD” will soon have to be replaced with “BYOX”, with the “X” symbolizing “practically anything”. 

Once policies have been amended appropriately, then—and only then—can CIOs turn their attention to the underlying communications network. Many IT organizations have already put in place solutions that can secure any mobile device that connects to corporate Wi-Fi; giving them complete visibility of the number, type and frequency of mobile devices assessing their network. What’s more, these platforms are also capable of enforcing flexible security policies that are capable of analyzing, and acting on, the context of how an employee uses the mobile device. For instance, an employee using an Apple Watch at a coffee shop to access corporate data may not be granted the same level of access as one who uses a PC during office hours. Depending on the context, different policies can be applied to make sure that the right balance between flexibility and security is met.

Given these considerations, CIOs will need to skilfully juggle the competing requirements to arrive at an enlightened BYOX policy that is most appropriate to company’s needs. The Apple Watch certainly won’t make that juggling act any easier. But it will make it more beautiful.

Want to learn more about the latest in wearable technology? Be sure to attend Wearable Tech Expo, July13-15 at the Javits Convention Center in New York City.  Stay in touch with everything happening at the event -- follow us on Twitter.

About the Author: Chris Kozup, senior director at Aruba Networks has over 13 years of experience in all pillars of the information technology ecosystem including software, hardware, services, research, and consulting services. He is responsible for full funnel marketing for Aruba's wireless and mobility solutions including awareness, preference and demand generation across Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

Comments powered by Disqus

Featured Video

Dedicated to Wearable Tech: Mobile, Sports, Fitness, Audio, Fashion, Design

Featured Podcasts

The Business of Wearable Computing: An Interview with Brand Finance An interview with Edgar Baum, Managing Director North America with Brand Finance, the world’s leading brand valuation and strategy consultancy. Mr. Baum specializes in marketing ROI and financially quantified brand strategy.
Getting Attention for Your Wearables Joe Daniels of Loeb & Loeb discusses how wearable tech entrepreneurs can gain exposure for their ideas and what to do once they've won attention from potential investors.
Wearable Success Rides on Actionable Intelligence Lux Capital's Adam Goulburn focuses on the traits sought by investors as they consider wearable startups, such as how well their software turns collected data into actionable intelligence.
Wearable Tech Startup Strategy CRV's George Zachary talks wearable startups and how they can secure the attention of the right investors as the seek to become the next great thing in wearables.
How to Win the Wearable Tech Funding Game Donatella Giacometti speaks with Canary Ventures' Alex Goldberg about what the investment community looks for in startups, such as the many new wearable tech companies that are emerging.

Wearable Tech World Media Sponsors