Apple Watch Cyber Security for Small Businesses
By Carolyn Schrader
With the introduction of the Apple Watch, business people will once again debate whether Apple products are safe from cyber-attacks. The new watch has already some enticing apps for the business person. PaybyPhone Parking that lets you add time remotely will be coveted in many metropolitan areas. The Salesforce app for sales folks on the go, Invoice 2Go – https://invoice.2go.com for onsite NCI – Question Regarding Article billing hours, and Evernote for quick dictated notes will be a boon to many watch wearers. If you grew up with Dick Tracy talking into his watch, you knew that someday you too would be able to talk to your wrist. The question if Apple cyber security is strong will now carry over to this new way to communicate.
Apple Watch Cyber Security
Apple products have a reputation for strong cyber security features. Some are built in, while others, such as the file encryption feature for Macs are user optional. Even PIN features on iPhones are optional.
Apple says there is an optional PIN feature (similar to iPhone’s) that requires a code whenever you put the watch on. The watch is really a companion to your iPhone and doesn’t have a lot of benefit without one. There are still some potential concerns about how Apple Pay security will work when using the watch.
Apple Watch seems to rely mainly on the iPhone security features and measures that you implement for your Apple BYOD users.
Apple software is vulnerable to cyber-attacks, just as is Windows and other software. Attacks historically have not been as prevalent on Apple software as other software, but much of that is due to the overall market share of Microsoft in business environments. As Apple’s market share continues to increase in the small business market, many security experts expect attacks to increase.
A challenge Apple products users have is to not believe the myth that ‘since the Apple security is strong, the product is completely cyber safe’. Several types of attacks are software neutral. Social attacks can target any computer network. It leverages the human element of fear, interest or greed. Cyber criminals can attack anyone using open Wi-Fi at the airport or local coffee house. Placing an infested file attachment in a file sharing service can be the cause of an intrusion.
What to Think About
Should you allow Apple watches to become part of your business technology? As with any new technology, you should ensure appropriate security measures are in place. Topics to think about for Apple watch and other Apple products include:
• Do you want your data stored on the iCloud? It is super easy, but you need to ensure your employees are using passwords and other measures that meet your company’s security standards.
• As with any BYOD, you need to have a BYOD policy covering who owns the device, how data will be handled if an employee leaves the company, and if the employee can use the device for personal use as well as business (emails, apps, surfing, and social media)
• You still need anti-virus software, strong passwords, and firewalls.
• You need to upgrade the operating system when releases are available and install patches immediately.
Based on initial reports and reviews, Apple Watch may be a pivotal technology for many small businesses. It provides new ways to stay connected to your business. According to Apple, the watch is water resistant. They recommend not submerging it, so you should be able to get away from work if you are swimming or bathing, at least.
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