Tuesday, June 5, 2012

New Cyber Security Measures Threaten Small Enterprises

When you download something online, you need to give up some personal information. When you try a free antivirus, for example, you may need to fill out an online form that requires your name and email. That company now has a bit of your personal data. A breach sometimes happens and all of the data collected by the company can be compromised. Lawmakers are now creating measures to try and protect the security of people online. Online regulation in this country is now taking a different direction. That is quite alarming. New measures on cyber security are under deliberation in the U.S. Congress. While many can admire what these lawmakers are trying to do, many more simply know that these measures do not really go after the root of the problem. These can instead punish those small start-ups and enterprises that do not have the resources to comply with these kind of measures.

Some put forth the idea that bigger businesses are supporting certain bills and proposals in the Congress. Lawmakers now want companies to be fully responsible when there is security breach and when data are compromised. Companies do try to protect data at all costs. Bigger companies have no problem with this since they have the funds to access the latest technology. Smaller companies, however, may not be able to keep up. Going back to our earlier example, a company that previously offers a free antivirus may end up putting a price on their product and that is one free product less for users.

All software do have a certain amount of vulnerability. Hackers can take advantage of even the tiniest vulnerability in software. Some conspiracy theorists believe that even though software developers want to plug these holes they are limited to do by the government because they want some form of access, too.

If small companies are punished for not being able to protect data then they may decide not to collect data at all just to avoid prosecution. If they are limited to collect data, they may be further limited in doing business online. This may in turn put their business itself in danger. In the earlier years, the internet provided a tool for small companies to be able to catch up to larger competitors. Now small entrepreneurs may not be able to take advantage of the internet anymore.

The social networking industry has been taking personal information and selling them to third party companies. This practice has been done without any qualms and consideration for the privacy of individual users. The problem is a lot of people now rely on online companies to keep some of their files and personal data safe. Online companies do remind its users to be more responsible. But users have the notion that all responsibility lies on these companies.

The problem with these politicians and lawmakers is that they are so keen at looking at the end and have a complete disregard for the means to achieve such an end. If a boutique employs more than enough security measures and a robber still manages to get into the store and ends up endangering a customer, does the boutique owner get punished for the incident?

This country has more than enough and even more important problems that should concern our leaders and lawmakers. It is quite easy for them to look for likely scapegoats when what they should do is analyze the problem and look for a real solution to threats against cyber security. Whether it's a free antivirus, a place in the cloud to store your backup files, or a shop online, small companies provide consumers with choices on different products. They have to be protected, too, if we are to keep a healthy economy.

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