For the majority of the population, especially those born in the midst of the internet era, being able to connect and surf the web is more so a requirement than a privilege. And yet, most of us don’t really know how it works. Unfortunately, it is precisely that lack of understanding which allows hackers and spammers to take advantage of and incite chaos in the lives of internet users around the world, all from the comfort of their own computer screens. Here is a guide to IT compliance and how using the internet properly can benefit you and your business.
For starters, IT compliance involves the general or specific guidelines for internet usage used by higher powers such as employers or governments. This comes in 2 forms: internal and external compliance. Internal compliance involves the rules of the group who own the system, such as a company which does not allow personal web design, social media and/or pornography to be looked at during office hours or on office servers at all; external compliance comes from the larger system involved, such as a government which restricts certain keywords to be used in searches made within that country’s borders. These restrictions are placed for the sake of maintaining online decency within the company, as well as preventing fraud or cyber-security breaches as much as possible. With the rise of unified communications, the government has created mandates such as HIPAA, FISMA and PCI in order to shield sensitive company information by forcing businesses to track, protect and monitor access to all classified information.
With all of these restrictions in place both by large governments and corporations (plus small businesses) within these countries, it can be a little easier to understand why people are so scared of the internet; the ability to say or do anything online is a powerful ability, and most people do not have the ability to control or even filter what depths they are able to reach (or their children are able to reach). Out of the 60 billion emails sent every day, 97% of them are spam. In fact, 9 computers out of every 1000 available are already infected with spam to the point of no return.
This sounds scary, but what is even scarier is the fact that your entire system could go down with one wrong click or one spam-filled website. Unfortunately, most of the issues with cyber-security originate with issues with the company itself (and its employees). In fact, 4 out of every 5 security breaches is caused by having a relatively-easy administrative password to crack. If your passwords are all secure (usually defined as containing uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers AND symbols), chances are your employees are not: almost 3 out of every 5 employees who are fired or quit their jobs steal some sort of proprietary data or information from the company before leaving work for the last time. To top that off, three-to-four out of every five hacks or security breaches come from within the company.
Cyber-security isn’t confined to businesses either, although business IT consulting is clearly beneficial in several ways for everyone on the business spectrum. In this case, the numbers don’t lie; nearly 60% of small businesses have reported cyber-security hacks involving current or former staff, a major reason for creating and maintaining company IT compliance policies in the first place. On the other end of the spectrum, the past six years (only!) have seen the federal government’s cyber-security breaches increase almost seven-fold.
With all of this information, it is important to remember that the internet is a overflowing with data; therefore, it is up to each person on an individual and collectivist level to understand all of the rules of IT compliance prior to entering this new realm and way before we let a simple search engine inquiry turn into a major cyber-issue.
Does the internet seem as scary as described in this article or do you think that you are more in control when you surf the web? Please share your thoughts and stories in the comments below!