Skip Navigation
BlackBerry Blog

How to Make Wearable Devices Secure and Compliant with your EMM Policy

Connected to the digital worldIf there’s one mobile technology that has really emerged in the last couple of years, it’s the wearable device. What began as a trickle of niche devices in 2013 turned into a steady flow of Android-focused devices in 2014. Now, it’s turned into a tsunami, with Apple Watch moving 12 million units in 2015 and the predicted value of the market hitting $25 billion by 2019.

Wearables are coming into the enterprise and they will be here in force very, very soon. How should an IT department deal with protecting sensitive corporate information in the face of this influx of new devices? As it turns out, the proliferation of wearables is very similar to the early days of BYOD – and the basic principles are much the same.

The first thing an organization needs to accomplish with any new device is to differentiate the sensitive data stored on that device from the non-sensitive. Not all data is confidential or critical, though it’s worth understanding that the aggregation of otherwise benign information can lead to subtle data leaks. The contents of an email, for example, are typically more sensitive than the header, but the subject line can still tell a savvy reader a great deal about what’s going on in your business or who you’re working with.

Most businesses are aware of this to an extent and already have a way to categorize sensitive data. You’ve likely already defined data-use policies related to mobility. As your data starts moving from mobile devices to wearables, it’s important to go through those policies and see how they might map to new technology.

When judging who is allowed to access sensitive data on the move, it’s helpful to look at wearables as an extension of your overall mobility strategy. Many companies do not allow all employees unmitigated access to corporate information on their mobile devices, and the same should be done with wearables. It might be acceptable for the names of email senders or meeting participants to be stored and shown on the watch of someone in an entirely internal role, but with employees who access and use sensitive data frequently (think legal, finance, sales, biz dev, etc.), leaks become a huge concern.

smartwatch-appsDifferent users need different policies, and your Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solution must be capable of giving you that level of fine-grained control. In order to enforce a policy about what data can be “worn” by whom, that data needs to be under the control of a management application. And just as with mobility, separation of corporate from personal is key, irrespective of who owns a device.

That separation must be more than skin-deep. Sensitive data should be encrypted from personal data with different encryption keys. More importantly, the authentication that unlocks corporate secrets should be distinct from the code used to unlock a phone call or change your music selection.

Finally, having considered all of these security issues, we need to ensure that we never lose sight of why we are doing this in the first place: to make people more productive. With any security solution, usability is key. If you can’t make security usable, employees will work around it instead of embracing it.

Here’s where BlackBerry comes in. As your organization reaches mobile maturity and prepares to manage the coming age of wearables, BlackBerry Enterprise Mobility Suite (formerly known as Good Secure EMM Suites), provide exactly what you need to keep your employees productive and your data safe. Depending on the security posture of your organization and the data policies you choose to implement, this may include device-level, application-level or content-level controls – or a combination of all three.

With encryption of data both at-rest and in-transit, a suite of powerful collaboration tools, a fully functional Enterprise File Sharing and Synchronization system and multi-factor authentication, BlackBerry offers the most comprehensive EMM offering on the market – and the perfect choice for an IT department looking to bring the security concerns of wearable technology to heel.

Wearables promise an entirely new user experience, giving users access to the most relevant information at the flick of a wrist. The ability to not only see messages, but actually interact and collaborate with colleagues, is both powerful and extremely engaging for the user. After all, why should the consumer and social networking apps have all the fun?

Interested in learning more? Check out Introducing BlackBerry Enterprise Mobility Suite, or go Hands-on with BlackBerry Enterprise Mobility Suite in our demo. And if you want to see how your own business fits into the current EMM landscape, be sure to also view Making Sense of the EMM Alphabet Soup – a detailed look at MDM, MAM & MCM.

About Michael Khalili