Securing a new reality in 2022
Extended Reality solutions, ranging from virtual reality, to augmented reality, deliver a host of benefits to businesses and consumers alike. These powerful solutions are excellent for boosting productivity, and creativity, but there are various challenges to consider too.
XR solutions rely heavily on the ability to track and leverage highly personal data from users, and critical content from business landscapes. Like any transformational technology, implementing these tools requires companies to think carefully about how to protect data from a host of security concerns.
When comparing XR innovations for your business, it’s vital to assess your security and privacy strategy at the same time. Here are some of the things you’ll need to consider when comparing privacy and security solutions for XR technology.
Step 1: Know your XR Environment
The first step in successfully comparing XR security and privacy solutions, is knowing exactly how you’re going to implement your new XR tools. There are various avenues to explore, and each come with their own distinct challenges.
For example, if you’re planning on leveraging Augmented and Mixed Reality, you’ll need to think about the data these tools can capture in real-time when interacting with the real world. MR smart glasses and AR apps collect biometric data, scans of geographical spaces and more to deliver a highly immersive experience. Companies need to consider how this data is stored by vendors (locally, in the cloud, or on-premises), and whether the data is shared with third parties.
In the VR world, there are various unique challenges to consider too. Companies may collect biometric information with eye tracking and finger scanning. The data collected here could allow criminals access to sensitive data if leaks occur.
Evaluating the XR environment you’re planning on using will allow you to list some of the most common challenges you need to address with your vendor.
Step 2: Determine Your Compliance Requirements
Security and privacy in the XR world will mean different things for various companies. From a compliance perspective, each industry has its own set of distinct guidelines and rules to consider. For instance, if you’re working in the financial or healthcare space, you may need to ensure your technology is compliant with PCI or HIPAA standards.
Looking at the list of risks you’ve curated for your new XR tools, ask yourself what kind of threats you might face from an industry perspective, as well as what kind of steps you’ll need to take to adhere to your company’s own security and ethical policies.
Think about what kind of data you’ll be collecting, what sort of tools you’ll use to boost immersion (like tracking and sensor technology), and what users will be allowed to do in an XR environment. For instance, if team members can create virtual avatars to represent them in the Metaverse, how will these digital identities be protected by your chosen vendor?
Step 3: Prioritise the Basics of Cyber Security
The XR world can feel like an entirely new landscape for many businesses. Whether you’re exploring augmented, mixed, or virtual reality, there are countless new experiences and opportunities to explore. However, it’s important to remember that XR tools are still part of the digital landscape we already know, connected to the internet and other devices through IoT technology. As such, these solutions are still susceptible to many of the common security challenges we’re aware of.
When comparing XR solutions for security and privacy, it’s worth making sure your vendors excel in handling the basics of cybersecurity. Look for end-to-end encryption for all of your connections to the internet, and make sure you have full access control features in place. You should be able to control who in your team has access to which data.
It’s also worth looking at the policies your vendor can help you implement for your team. Can you set up two-factor authentication for users hoping to access sensitive information? How will you ensure your teams stay protected with the use of the right passwords and security measures?
You may even want to look into vendors who can offer training on things like avoiding phishing, malware, and common attacks in the virtual world.
Step 4: Consider Data Protection
For most companies exploring privacy and security measures in the XR landscape, the main focus will be on protecting the vast amounts of data collected by these tools. XR environments are packed with sensitive data from a business perspective. Everything from scans of your office environment to eye and motion tracking solutions produce critical data concerns.
When exploring vendor solutions to help secure your ecosystem, make data your priority. Consider data sovereignty, and whether it’s possible to control where information is stored when it’s moving through your digital devices. Explore the additional data security measures companies can help you to implement, like multi-factor authentication and single-sign-on.
Remember, when you’re using technology in the XR environment, you’ll need to think of all the touchpoints where data could be collected and stored, from the storage systems in the devices themselves, to the apps and software you’ll use. It’s particularly important to consider data from a metaverse perspective too.
How will digital identity be preserved in your XR landscape, keeping users safe while giving them the freedom they need to embed themselves into digital environments?
Step 5: Remember Health and Safety
Security and privacy in the XR landscape aren’t just about securing your software, and using the right passwords to protect data. It’s also worth thinking about how you can keep users physically safe when they’re traversing different landscapes. Wearing AR headsets can be an excellent way for professionals to stay hands-free when accessing information in a manufacturing space, for instance.
However, too much information on a screen at any given time could distract your workers and make it harder for them to focus on the matter at hand. Cordless VR headsets allow your team members to move freely, but this can also lead to accidents if the space they’re using isn’t properly secured.
When exploring solutions for XR security and privacy, don’t underestimate the importance of keeping your employees healthy and protected wherever they are. Everything from the comfort and ergonomics of your headsets to the layouts of VR practice spaces needs to be considered.