Square Circle: Wearable Devices and your Company Data?

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Wearable Devices and your Company Data?

Wearables now offer seamless connectivity, with apps developed to help employees keep in contact and collaborate more easily

‘Wearables’ is a term that is quite new but a feature of the technology industry is that it is fast moving. From the smart watch to tablets, sophisticated smartphones, Fit bits and health apps, wearables are set to permeate every aspect of life. So what about the workplace, should companies panic over the potential security risks these “hidden” devices can pose?

There are a number of ways wearable technology can and is already being used in the workplace. One of the most topical and potentially cost saving areas for businesses is the rise of the use of technology to monitor employee health and well-being. They can also help and encourage individuals to make better, healthier choices in their day-to-day living, hopefully resulting in lower absence rates and higher levels of energy and motivation. More recent devices, such as the Lume Lift which clips to the shirt and vibrates when the wearer slumps, and the MUSE headband, tackle poor posture and measure brain activity giving feedback on stress and anxiety levels and suggesting when a screen break is due.

An obvious advantage of smaller, portable smart devices is that they are light weight and easily transported. Smart watches, for example, probably won’t replace lap tops and tablets but do offer a slimmed down alternative for accessing e mails, scheduling diaries and any number of other tasks. Wearables now offer seamless connectivity, with apps developed to help employees keep in contact and collaborate more easily.

There are, however, some downsides to the immense use of smart wearable devices. Even if your company does not plan to use or invest in them, you can be sure that your employees will and that they will become a regular feature of your workplace and may contain your business or client information! Small, almost hidden devices with large memory capacity and high connectivity such as smart glasses and smart watches may pose a real risk in terms of recording and transmitting sensitive company data. There can also be compliance issues for IT departments who may struggle to protect company data whilst respecting the right to privacy of employees wearing personal devices. The other obvious downside is that devices can be a major distraction in the office. Balancing an individual’s personal and professional activity on wearables can be a challenge.

Companies should move with the times and have clear guidelines to deal with wearable technology at work. Issues to include in such guidelines, for example, are:

  • the types and acceptable use of personal devices
  • how these devices will be monitored while on company premises
  • the rules for the use of company-owned devices both on and off company premises
  • how violations should be reported
  • possible sanctions for breaches of the wearable devices policy
  • that the policy applies to all staff, contractors, temps, agents and volunteers.

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As always, if you would like to explore any HR issues, then give us a call at Square Circle on
0141 248 7826 or email alison@squarecirclehr.com

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