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ch07_v8_notes - 1 Essentials of Business Information...

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Essentials of Business Information Systems, 8E Chapter 7 Securing Information Systems As our society and the world itself come to depend on computers and information systems more and more, firms must put forth a better effort in making their systems less vulnerable and more reliable. The systems must also be more secure when processing transactions and maintaining data. These two issues, which we address in this chapter, are the biggest issues facing those wanting to do business on or expand their operations to the Internet. The threats are real, but so are the solutions. 7.1 System Vulnerability and Abuse As firms become more technologically oriented, they must become more aware of security and control issues surrounding their information systems and protect the resources more stringently than ever before. It’s that simple. Why Systems Are Vulnerable Information systems are vulnerable to technical, organizational, and environmental threats from internal and external sources. The weakest link in the chain is poor system management. If managers at all levels don’t make security and reliability their number one priority, then the threats to an information system can easily become real. The figure below gives you an idea of some of the threats to each component of a typical network. Figure 7-1: Contemporary Security Challenges and Vulnerabilities. Businesses that partner with outside companies are more vulnerable because at least some data may be less controlled. Partnering companies may not protect information as stringently. Hardware and software safeguards may not be as important to outsiders. Employees of the partnering firm may not view security as diligently as the primary business. Internet Vulnerabilities “If electronic business is to prosper and truly move into the mainstream of commerce, everyone involved–merchants, financial institutions, software vendors, and security suppliers such as VeriSign–has to make security a 1
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top priority, starting right now. Security is very hard to get right under the best of circumstances and just about impossible when it isn’t the focus of attention. If the industry doesn’t get this right–and fast–it’s setting the stage for a catastrophic loss of confidence.” (Business Week, March 26, 2001) “In a survey my company carried out last year, security professionals were asked to identify the most common sources of automated worm attacks. Not surprisingly, three of the top four causes pointed directly at dirty PCs. Forty-three percent said employee laptops were the primary source of worm attacks, 34 percent fingered contractor laptops, and 27 percent claimed that home PCs connected to virtual private networks (VPNs) were the guilty parties.” (Jon Oltsik, Time to send a consistent message on security , CNet News.com Feb 23, 2006) These two articles show how long the problem with poor security has existed and how vulnerable computing systems are. Every point of entry into the Internet network is a
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