Data Security and Outsourcing - Trends in Business Technology- Part 3
Updated: Aug 1
First, let's talk about data security. Data security may be more important today than it ever has. I'll be discussing multi-factor authentication as a practical step for any company to be more secure. This is always the first layer of protection. I'll then talk about ransomware or ransom attacks, and the effects of regulatory changes. Lastly, I will mention the benefits of outsourcing, especially for small businesses.
Every company needs to be on a multi-factor authentication. Yet, there are still businesses that are on a single log-in. Data breaches are now business as usual. Once a login is compromised, or it's been phished, then the company may have a lot of sensitive information or systems completely exposed. Multifactor authentication is table stakes for anything critical in a business.
The second thing I think we need to address is the potential for ransomware or ransom attacks. Some of these ransom attacks that have happened have not been publicized in the media because it might affect a company's stock price. I have also seen ones that do make it into the media end up causing national shortages like gasoline distribution. It will be vital that our information security experts simulate and run through drills on what happens in a ransomware attack. This is where the cloud and on-premise resiliency pieces come into play. Business systems must be set up to where even if part of the system is compromised and goes down, the core function can still be performed. This is very challenging, but necessary.
Third, there are regulatory changes on the horizon for social media specifically. Our personal information is out there, and this enables hackers and malicious actors to understand us and start to gain access to our other systems. Private companies have already started these regularly changes to protect their data. Recently, there was a major disruption in online ad tracking between Facebook and Apple. Presently, there are different companies imposing different policies around privacy such as what constitutes privacy and what rights do advertisers have to know your personal habits. As this unfolds, there will be "battles" between these companies. I wouldn't be surprised to see Google enter the fray very soon. They probably will feel left out and then Amazon will be right behind them. All the major tech companies are going to be imposing policies that start to compete or have different philosophies around privacy. Everyone thinks it's a little creepy when you talk about something and then you open your phone, and you see a banner ad for that exact thing. There will soon be new behaviors regarding this that are privately enforced.
Regulatory changes around blockchain and cryptocurrency will impact the future of the web as well. Right now, as it's probably well known, it's pretty much the wild west. There are some early opinions from the federal government, but there's certainly not prescriptive guidance. As companies pivot towards operating with blockchain as part of their DNA, a whole new regulatory landscape will need to be implemented. The early adopters that will influence this, PayPal or Amazon, for example, are now dealing in cryptocurrency for payments. As this proliferates, there will need to be creation of new regulatory policies to protect consumers from fraud, as well as a creation of a framework for security.
Now let's transition to talking about outsourcing and managed IT. I'll go first because I'm the owner of a small business. Everyone needs managed IT support but this depends on what "managed" means. For small companies, outsourcing the management to a provider such as Google or Apple or something similar makes a lot of sense. These platforms have a single interface that sets up email, drive storage, shared calendars, and other basic business functions. There will then be further complex steps that can be addressed. As your company starts to integrate other applications and proprietary systems, there will be a need for a person to manage this. I personally don't have a great answer for when that happens. I'll say, as a starting point, outsourcing to a major provider, like Google is a great first step. Once your company begins integrating to other systems, it's probably time to get somebody on board.
The one challenge I just ran into with using outsourcing for basic business functions is accessibility across countries. We just started our first design collaboration work with the people's Republic of China. This is the first time that we've done collaboration work internationally in my company. This opened a whole new world for us: our tech solutions do not work in China. They don't have a Google. They don't have Amazon. They don't have box.com. They can't access Dropbox. We must now be selective about which providers are interoperable between countries. We have learned the hard way that some web services, and web meeting services work in both countries and some don't. And that's across the board.
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