Wearable tech like Google Glass set to hit unprepared public sector’s IT departments hard

If you think that BYOD has caused considerable confusion and security worries in the private and public sectors thus far, then just wait until wearables arrive in the workplace at large.

That's the message from network experts Ipswitch, who spilled the details of a Freedom of Information request it made concerning the readiness of Public Sector Organisations (PSOs) in terms of coping with wearables entering the workplace.

As it stands, 85 per cent of PSOs have no advance plan to deal with staff usage of wearables. The wearables market has, of course, arrived already with smartwatches (Samsung, for example, is on its second-gen Gear) and other health devices, even if products like Google Glass are still some way off yet.

Breaking things down further, the biggest offender in terms of PSOs was local councils, 88 per cent of which had no wearables plan – followed by 85 per cent when it came to government departments, 83 per cent of NHS trusts, and 76 per cent of universities.

It also emerged that 93 per cent of PSOs might have invested in network management tools, but only 23 per cent actually review network performance regularly in working hours – and 65 per cent can't tell the difference between wired and wireless devices on their network.

The findings also showed that one in eight PSOs never bothered to review their network performance at all.

The long and short of all this: The public sector is going to struggle to keep its networks running fluidly as BYOD expands with wearables added into the equation, potentially leading to serious performance hiccups and possible security nightmares.

Stephen Demianyk, director for UK and Ireland at Ipswitch, commented: "Many cash-strapped public sector organisations are spending on network management tools offering features that they either don't need, or will never use. Meanwhile, they appear unable to easily gather fundamental data about the growing number of devices on their network. It's a perfect storm of device overload and performance degradation that they'll struggle to manage."

We've previously spoken to Demianyk on this topic – see: How Google Glass and Samsung's Galaxy Gear smartwatch will change IT network management.