While ethical businesses is an incredibly growing sector, it’s also true that most of the social entrepreneurial movements happen in the online world. And not because it’s “business for good” you are guaranteed to have risk-free cyber security. Over the past year, we realised that most of those ethical businesses and changemakers are social entrepreneurs finding themselves wearing “many hats”. For this reason, we thought it was worth providing you with some information and give you a rough idea of what aspects in your cyber security needs to be addressed if you are running a business and make the most ethical use of your digital assets. Blogger Judy Robinson digs into the data protection and the cyber security paradigm by giving you the very basics of what to take into account for your organisation.
Many consider the phrase ‘business ethics’ itself, to be an inherent oxymoron, i.e. something that is roughly analogous to the terms ‘successful failure’ or ‘military intelligence’ (for instance). However, this is chiefly due to the fact that this concept is not particularly well understood by the vast majority of the IT- using populace. After all, how precisely does one go about teaching morality, in the information technology sphere?
Ethics and the IT sector
Well, business ethics is more or less the same as any other type of ethics, in the sense that it is fundamentally the difference between right and wrong. Albeit, not in terms of mere business decisions alone, but rather in terms of what constitute widely accepted societal norms.
Including the age-old moral diktats such as; don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t dump toxic waste in your locality’s water supply and so on. As a matter of fact, many corporations and other business organizations should also be every bit as accountable to human civilization in general.
After all, do we not actively shun thieves, adulterers, domestic abusers and similar unsavoury people? Ergo why on earth should we allow giant conglomerates to get away with cybercrimes such as stealing corporate secrets of their erstwhile competitors?
A more accountable business and cyber security environment
Regulators, as well as legislators all over the world, are now increasingly holding business organizations personally accountable for any lapses in terms of data protection. In fact, from the EU to the US to Asia, many regulatory bodies all over the world are now also looking at various employee actions, even as they consider making changes to different international privacy laws. This is all done in lieu to best protect the rights of customers and end consumers.
It is imperative that every business takes a few steps in order to safeguard their data from unscrupulous hackers and other criminals. In today’s ever increasingly complex world that encompasses elements of digital security as well as strong moral leadership, effective communication as well as sound policies are of paramount importance.
As a matter of fact, even as various consumers’ needs and demands continue to stretch the horizon they basically define and subsequently drive the digital age. In the long run, this means that businesses have considerably more access to all sorts of highly personal information than they ever did before. In fact, from bank account digits to social security numbers, consumers near constantly sharing a veritable plethora of highly personal information with businesses. Today’s companies and other business organizations are entrusted with all of these critically valuable data at the same time.
Here, it is almost axiomatic to note that the overall digital exchange of such information essentially drives businesses and also simultaneously helps to sustain the economy, as a whole. However, it is pertinent to understand that at the same time, such information is not only almost incredibly powerful but downright dangerous, should it be misused, or even if it falls into the wrong hands. Furthermore, the current digital transformation of business operations will also affect cyber security in every aspect.
This is indeed why many organizations basically share a critically important ethical responsibility to make sure they are doing their level best in order to safeguard their customer information. To put it in simple words, one needs to take the right steps in order to protect all of the precious data, that has been entrusted to them.
How Secure is the Overall Control of Data?
Businesses have to analyze and subsequently understand the organization’s overall control of data, this includes the chain of access as this is the most vulnerable point in any system. This in turn, also means proactively taking the right steps in order to reduce any sort of exposure and to increase the integrity of their respective security protocols.
Here, it is absolutely crucial to understand the critical importance of setting the tone, right from the very top of the organization. As a matter of fact, a really strong corporate culture that lays heavy emphasis on compliance and ethics is very important indeed. Especially, if it extends to the thorny issues of data protection and cyber security. In fact, ethical considerations with regard to cyber security must be met with the same level of oversight, diligence, as well as internal reporting, as would be applied to just about any other sphere of otherwise highly regulated, high-stakes exposure.
This basically necessitates the boards of directors in essentially asking all the requisite questions with regard to its overall cyber security paradigm. They will also have to simultaneously receive timely reports, regarding the organization prepared for any type of cyber-attack.
Role of Business Leaders in Cyber Security
From the cyber security point of view, it is imperative that the movers and shakers of the CS world adopt the relevant corporate policies as well as the requisite training procedures. This has to be done in order to encompass the true responsibility for ethical handling of data and so that they can help business mitigate the risk of potential breakdowns and failures in the system.
Within the organization itself, developing a collective sense of responsibility all across the data protection spectrum and raising employee awareness is an absolutely crucial goal. This holds even truer when it comes to safeguarding against potent cyber threats, that are constantly evolving and multiplying even as hackers are becoming increasingly more sophisticated and their attacks are more difficult to defend against.
At an internal level, this can only be best achieved when just about everyone present in the organization will finally be able to understand the fact that the corporation’s core leadership has set this pivotal issue, as its topmost priority.
Why data breaches occur?
Employee error is widely reckoned to be one of the single most important reasons due to which many such breaches tend to occur. If we vector in the fact that cyber-attacks and threats are becoming increasingly more sophisticated every passing day, we will easily see why it is imperative for just about all business organizations to establish the right policies and protocols in order to safeguard against both external and internal threats.
What has been your experience with cyber security running your ethical business? Share it with us, we are sure many social entrepreneurs also find it useful!