Security checks in Global business

Globalization can be defined in many ways such as spread of businesses across the globe and breaking down of boundaries between nations or at a more basic level, the increased level of communication between people and an ability to relate or connect with people from different cultures or countries. In whatever way we interpret globalization, commerce has a huge role to play in our march towards a truly global world.

Just a decade back, outsourcing and accessing information on the internet was something unimaginable and unheard of; in contrast we are now living in a world where people can easily access any kind of information at the click of a button and outsourcing of jobs to Asia is more the norm rather than an exception. In fact some Indian players who have bagged outsourcing contracts are now looking at the possibility of further outsourcing parts of their work to third party players either in India or in other countries.

On the manufacturing front too, take for instance the everyday computer we work on; it is put together from components manufactured in two dozen different countries. Many of the companies involved are subsidiaries of Western multinationals.

In a world that is quickly breaking down barriers and is changing the very definition of boundaries, we need to take stock of the implications of such a scenario on business and commerce. Given below are some of the areas of concern:

Security checks: Availability, integrity and confidentiality of information are of paramount importance these days. Given the changed global scenario since the 9 / 11 terrorist attack in the US and the vulnerability of information assets and strategic installations to terrorist attacks, organizations need to be cautions about their assets and also ensure that entities they deal with are equally aware about this. How does an organization take care of its assets? Even more pertinent is how a company ensures that other entities it is dealing with can be trusted and is equally aware of security issues.

Apart from security checks, businesses should take seriously and implement appropriate systems and procedures. Very much like how manufacturing processes are assigned ISO 9001:2000 certificates indicating the level of quality maintained. Similarly, there is information security established by certain institutions; for instance, the British Standard Institute (BSI) has established a standard for Information Security Management System (ISMS) called the BS 7799 which first issued in 1995 and then revised in 1999 and the latest version was issued in 2002.

Likewise, security is of vital importance to any business that uses a database management system as these would collect, store and analyze millions of rows of data. With all that responsibility the database must enable administrators to grant and restrict access appropriately. And it must offer ways to keep unauthorized users from accessing classified data. Thus securing a database should involve:

1. Prevention of unauthorized access to classified data.
2. Preventing unauthorized users from maliciously deleting or tampering with data.
3. Monitoring user access of data through auditing techniques.

If businesses are able to ensure proper security checks, secure appropriate certification and provide adequate security cover to their database systems, and also ensure that the entities that are dealing with are similarly secured they will be much better off in the present business situation.

Securing payment systems: The advent of internet banking has bought about significant legal and technological changes with respect to the protection of customer information, increased incidents of fraud and identity thefts. Simultaneously though, a number of improved authentication technologies have also been introduced to tackle these, organizations offering internet based products and services to their customers should use effective methods to authenticate their identities.