A Key Concept in Information Systems: Cyber Security
Over the past 20 years, information technology has penetrated all spheres of the management and business. The latest has shifted from the real world into the virtual one; therefore, it faced new challenges connected with the virus, hacker, and cyber-attacks. The damage caused by viruses is huge. Companies have to spend much money in order to protect their business. Nevertheless, viruses are always one step ahead of their victims. Software developers can respond quickly to the attacks but only post-factum and not beforehand. Moreover, small businesses are more vulnerable because of the lack of a reliable security software; thus, they are more likely to be hacked (Steinberg, 2017). Other issues that make companies vulnerable include such factors as the use of an easy or the same password for the business and personal accounts, insecure Internet and Wi-Fi connection, and undeleted old accounts (Salmon, Levesque, & McLafferty, 2017). Hackers strive to find a hole in the corporate security system and get access to the business data. In order to stand up this threat, companies develop complicated regulations for their employees that can cause some ethical controversy associated with the disclosure of employees’ personal information. The focal point regards the slippery slope of accessing information that belongs to an individual rather than an organization. Cyber security is of utmost importance in the workplace, and strict regulations for employees are to be set by the company in order to avoid any leakages and violations. Still, these regulations should not infringe on the right of employees to privacy.
Some recent event can demonstrate the danger caused by the problem. In the recent past, it became known that the Democratic Party presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, used own email for the correspondence about the state affairs instead of using electronic mailbox at the governmental domain. She was obliged to use the official mailbox since her being the U.S. Secretary of State. During that time, she sent and received more than 62 million emails. Critics point out that the use of the personal server and e-mail addresses meant that Clinton had the full control of her correspondence. In such a manner, she could decide which information to convey to the Government and which to hide (Savage, 2016). Some people believe that the use of a private server made the information more vulnerable to hackers and foreign spies. Clinton contravened the governmental regulation since she believed it violated her right to privacy; however, with the same action, she endangered both the Party and the State.
On the one hand, reading all emails of employees is unethical and should be avoided by companies if everything is within the normal condition of safety; on the other hand, such practice can prevent leakages. Today, every business has an own email network, via which employees are supposed to communicate on business matters. In most organizations, the information sent or saved in it can be assessed by the security agent or the management. Apparently, if the company reserves the right to read emails of its employees, the last should be warned about it before the employment. They should be aware that anything they use on the office computer can be traced and used by the company for security measures. If the safety information of the company is disclosed, this access is necessary in order to find the leak. In turn, personal emails or accounts on social networks are a different matter. No company can demand its employees to provide the management with access to such accounts even if they use them on the work computer. Otherwise, such practice would undermine employees’ right to privacy (Siciliano, 2014).
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Many organizations trace the usage of web pages of employees. However, such approach in unethical since people can use the Internet both for the work-related aims and private matters during their rest time in the way they prefer. This behavior does not violate the rules. People may have different ways to relax, and it is unethical from the side of the company to intrude into the personal lives of its employees by limiting their activity during their free time. Therefore, it is better to install special software in order to block access to certain web pages via work computers if specific key words are detected in the search query. When the program traces such request, it sends an e-mail to the supervisor, who will manage such issues accordingly (Blythe, 2013). This approach allows the organization to avoid ethical issues associated with the constant watching after employees, as well as to ensure own security. In addition, it decreases the amount of stress in the work place. Besides, all employees should be informed about the existence of such programs on their work computers. Also, they are to be educated about the policy of the company concerning visiting forbidden web pages.
Many companies use key loggers and screen capture software. Nevertheless, it is not the best approach due to the bunch of reasons. First, it requires additional workers, who will be looking after the work of employees. Also, such programs require well-powered machines that may increase the cost of operation for any business. One more issue is that it overwhelms the Internet connection that decreases the quality of work of the whole office. Lastly, it causes stress in employees.
It should be noted that nowadays, there are three popular approaches to providing the cyber security in the workplace. The first implies a direct development of the protective software; thus, it creates a competitive field for technical specialists in the private, business, and governmental sectors. In general, the approach of the “technical computer security” is designed to prevent the violations of confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data in computer networks (Salmon, Levesque, & McLafferty, 2017). The second approach supposes a managerial activity of specialized governmental authorities, which are tasked to develop and implement national policies regarding cyber security (Tuncer, Koch, Badonnel, & Stiller, 2017). It specifically concerns the elimination of threats posed by networks that are used for communication by radical and terrorist organizations. The third approach is related to the second one; it presupposes strict control of the software program validity under the policy of the End-User License Agreement (EULA). Its purpose is to ensure the legal use of applications by businesses, thus protecting the software from the material damage caused by the piracy (McGill, 2004).
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All in all, the processing of data in the workplace is associated with numerous ethical issues related to the privacy of employees and security of an employer. The lack of control over the usage of work computers can cause companies considerable problems associated with leakages and hacking, which result from actions taken online. On the other hand, permanent monitoring and limiting the activity of employees is not the best solution. Such supervision requires additional costs and is associated with certain ethical considerations. In general, this approach can violate the person’s right to privacy. In order to avoid such violations but ensure the cyber security of an organization, a complicated policy is to be developed and used. This policy should consider various parameters in order to prevent any activities that can affect the organization but not to infringe on the person’s right to privacy. Most importantly, employees should be informed about the policy of the company for monitoring their activities in order to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts between the staff and employers, as well as to achieve the best results.