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Augmented Reality Uptake Slow over Privacy Concerns

With this year’s release of Pokémon Go, awareness of augmented reality (AR) applications soared among organizations and consumers. Yet, security fears are having a chilling effect on AR adoption for businesses.

Despite its popularity and potential business benefits, AR adoption rates are slow among enterprises, according to research from global business technology and cybersecurity association ISACA. Security concerns top the list of barriers to AR adoption, followed by ROI worries. Only 21% of the nearly 6,600 business and technology professionals surveyed believe the benefits of AR outweigh the risks; the overwhelming majority are unsure.

“We expect to see these numbers change in the very near future as businesses begin to view AR as a valuable technology that can deliver positive business outcomes, such as improving training, education, marketing and customer experience,” said Rob Clyde, board director of ISACA and executive advisor at BullGuard Software.

However, even those organizations that aren’t actively using AR need to be monitoring it, said Clyde. The survey findings show that 63% of global respondents say their employers don’t have a policy to address the use of AR apps in the workplace. And only 25% are confident they have a way to detect pictures, posts and videos geotagged to their business location or advertisements.

Virtual graffiti apps using AR technology aggregate negative comments from social platforms and other sources, and overlay them on a business. But despite these risks, only six% of organizations have a program in place to monitor them.

While only 16% of respondents have used AR outside of work, on a whole, consumers are more positive about the benefits of AR than IT professionals are, with 60% or more in each region agreeing that a range of suggested AR applications would improve their life.

Here too, security offers adoption barriers: More than three in four consumers in each region surveyed are concerned that AR enhancements may make their devices more vulnerable to a privacy breach. In India, that number rises to more than 90%. And, the majority of consumers in each region believe that their workplace is vulnerable to virtual graffiti attacks.

To help organizations realize the benefits and overcome potential security-related barriers of AR applications, ISACA recommends that they review their governance framework and update their policies to accommodate AR. Also, it’s crucial to incorporate use of AR as part of the business into organizational policies and procedures—including BYOD (bring your own device) and privacy policies. Building security into every part of the process is a critical component of AR initiatives that helps ensure confidence in the data being used.

“Enterprises need to work on being agile and applying sound measures around governance, security and risk management to fully realize the benefits of these technology advances.  Proactive monitoring for malicious activity like virtual graffiti and data breaches is critical for businesses to gain the full value of new technologies while mitigating risk,” said Christos Dimitriadis, chair of ISACA’s Board of Directors and group director of information security for INTRALOT.

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