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Product Idea and Search Engines/Electronic MarketingAfter reviewing the assigned reading materials, complete the following activities: 1. Develop a brand new product or service idea. (do not copy from the internet be original)A. Describe the product/service including the benefits of using the product/serviceB. Discuss the potential customers for this product/service2. Based on the nature of the product/service, recommend at least 3 possible ways to market the product electronically. Your suggestions must include at least one search engine. Describe your recommendations and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each.
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Copyright © 2007 by Learning House, Inc The Information Age and Security
Page 1 of 7
Introduction
This lesson will first focus on the Information Age and how it relates to society as a whole.
Discussion will then move to the relevance of security in the Information Age and the
distinctions between ethical and legal perspectives. This lesson will then offer some possible
solutions to resolve ethical and legal dilemmas and address how the role of management has
changed in order to accommodate eSecurity.
The Information Age
Construction of the first airplane and installation of the first telephone both required that
accurate information be managed and stored. One can assume the same was true with the
construction of the Egyptian pyramids and invention of the Model T. Thus, why is today referred
to as the Information Age? What has changed? Why the most exotic telecommunications
systems and need for increased speed in information transfer?
The main bridge that separates yesterday’s informational
needs from today’s is competition. It is not that
protection of information was not important in the early
days of businesses; it just functioned as more of an
informative tool rather than a competitive advantage. For
example, in 1876, very few people, if anyone, were
competing with Alexander Graham Bell to develop the
phone system. No one was pushing him to get the
product out early or manufacture 20,000 telephones a
day. Rather, at this point in history, the market was filled
largely with single producers of specific products; each entrepreneur enjoyed his/her own highly
specialized market. Such a system allowed producers the space and time necessary to work
slowly but surely on a product, without pressure from a competitive market.
Today, competitors race to get products into the market as early as possible and to perfect their
services as soon as possible. If they cannot do this successfully, then they will lose their place
in the market for this product. As such, information has become the main tool for competitive
advantage. Companies rely on information about their products, competitors’ products, the
market, and the consumers interested in their products and services. Such reliance results in
continued perfection of the information process, making it faster, more reliable, and increasingly
cost effective.
The Information Age forces computer professionals to act creatively and deliver Management
Information Systems that will facilitate the needs of today’s marketplace. Such systems must
result in a high ROI (Return on Investment) for the organization, which means that design and
security protection of the systems must yield outcomes beyond the systems costs and be
profitable to use. Without security, MIS is of little use to an organization, hence, the focus on
protection in the Information Age.
Copyright © 2007 by Learning House, Inc The Information Age and Security
Page 2 of 7
Security in the Information Age
Since the goal of pursuing quality information is that of competitive advantage, systems must be
secure so that they are not vulnerable to competitors. The following are five (5) of the main
reasons for strong security in the Information Age:

Protects a company’s competitive edge
o A company will invest in Management Information Systems if they can produce
the type of information it needs for competitive advantage. If such information
becomes available to the company’s competitors, the entire purpose of the MIS
is defeated. Without security, a company’s place in the market becomes
jeopardized, because of the loss of valuable company and product information
and the loss of the investment in the MIS they were using. These systems are
very costly and, as such, they must yield a favorable ROI to the company.

Protects employees
o Employee information is almost sacred. A company’s
most important asset is its human capital. As such, it
has the responsibility of ensuring the safety of
employee information. Incidents have occurred where
ex-spouses of employees were able to obtain personal
employee information from the company and use it for
destructive purposes. Whether it is an incident such as
this, or an attack from an outside source, it can be
devastating to the lives of the employees and to the
company. Employees can enjoy trust and peace of
mind when they are assured that their personal
information is safe with their company.

Protects customers
o Customers are a company’s bloodline. Especially during the era of eCommerce,
customer’s information must be protected at all times. Without security of the
MIS, customer information is vulnerable, as is the customer’s trust in the
company and the company’s success. Unfortunately, one also hears of
companies selling their customer information to other companies, such as
marketing companies. Such actions will be addressed in the ethical and legal
section of this lesson.

Protects suppliers
o Suppliers give consideration to certain customers based on a range of criteria.
This consideration helps the profit margin of companies. As a result, it is to the
advantage of both company and supplier to protect relevant information. Breach
of this security can cause poor business relationships that hurt everyone involved
and decrease the profits of the company.

Avoids lawsuits
Copyright © 2007 by Learning House, Inc The Information Age and Security
Page 3 of 7
o
In all of the above examples, lawsuits are often filed for violation of privacy and
the sharing of confidential information. These legal battles can be life threatening
to a company, as legal costs can deplete a company’s resources and time, as
well as affecting their business reputation. Companies can work to safeguard
themselves against such threats by investing in information security that protects
all of their constituents.
The Ethical and Legal Perspectives
How does one differentiate between ethical and legal perspectives? Ethics is a personal
decision and desire to do what is right, whereas a legal decision is a mandatory order to do
what is right. Both may carry weight in a particular society, although oftentimes the legal
repercussions of laws make them more influential.
Ethical issues cost a company less, as they do not carry the fees
involved in monitoring a process legally. As such, companies are
finding it cost-effective on a long-term basis to educate their staff about
ethics and/or to invest in improved hiring processes. Through better
hiring strategies, companies can find employees who will contribute to
the integrity of the company instead of lowering its ethical standards by
unethical actions.
The dilemma today as companies go worldwide is deciding upon a
global meaning of ethics and law. What may be ethical or legal in one
country may be unacceptable in another country. As such, companies
need to fully educate themselves on the cultures of the locations into
which they are expanding. Such expansion also complicates security
issues in relation to Management Information Systems, as the level of security demanded in one
place may not apply to another.
Because the legal systems in countries vastly differ, having international attorneys on board in
multinational companies is a wise move. However, investing in high security measures may not
be necessary in certain countries where protection of employees’ personal information is not an
issue. Either way, this is an issue to be taken very seriously by a company before expanding
and doing business in an area that may not follow the same standards as the company’s
original operation.
Consider the following scenarios:


As mentioned, especially during the era of eCommerce, the customer’s information must
be protected at all times. Unfortunately, one hears of companies selling their customer
information. Is this legally and or ethically wrong? The answer depends on the country in
question. Consider the following.
John is Mary’s supervisor. It is obvious that he has been sharing her information with
others by revealing her systems passwords.
Copyright © 2007 by Learning House, Inc The Information Age and Security
Page 4 of 7
o

Is this legally and or ethically wrong? Though such actions are clearly ethically
wrong, unfortunately, if John and Mary were living in a highly patriarchal
society that did not consider women equal to men, this situation may not have
legal ramifications and may simply be dismissed.
Anna really hurts her fellow employee, Bill, by
constantly telling him how insignificant he is.
o Is this legally and or ethically wrong?
Such actions are ethically wrong, and
could be considered a legal matter if
they qualify as harassment under the
company’s policy.
These scenarios illustrate that ethical and legal issues
are contextually and geographically based. Security, then, also becomes an issue whose
parameters are determined by the meaning of confidentiality and of violation in given locations
and contexts.
Richards and Solove (2007) offer a definition of confidentiality in their article, “Privacy’s Other
Path: Recovering the Law of Confidentiality”:
Confidentiality focuses on relationships; it involves trusting others to refrain from
revealing personal information to unauthorized individuals. Rather than protecting the
information we hide away in secrecy, confidentiality protects the information we share
with others based upon our expectations of trust and reliance in relationships
(Richards & Solove, 2007).
The underlined words do not appeal to legal adherence but to personal ethics, and as a result,
confidentiality’s parameters similarly depend upon geography and context.
Possible Solutions to Resolve Ethical and Legal
Dilemmas
How can one resolve ethical and legal dilemmas? The following are a few solutions:

Maximize information security
o Companies need to invest in security. It is the responsibility of the
company to protect its constituents from possible breaches of security.
While security increases costs, these
short-term costs can result in many
long-term benefits, such as loyalty
from employees, customers, suppliers,
and so forth.

Educate employees on the benefits of ethics.
o Design internal training that will
address ethics in a manner that is
Copyright © 2007 by Learning House, Inc The Information Age and Security
Page 5 of 7
culturally sensitive. Employees need to understand that adopting strong
ethics is not a choice; rather, doing so is one’s responsibility to another
human. This also includes emphasizing the values and integrity of the
company.

Educate employees on the costs of legal actions.
o Employees innocently do not realize the many hidden costs associated
with legal actions. Make clear the effects of these costs. If managers
understand that their bottom-line dollar will be affected by legal fees, they
will care. If employees clearly understand their annual pay increases will
not occur if the legal fees continue to increase, they may think differently
about illegal actions. Effectively and unfortunately, unless people are
personally affected by certain actions, they are not always motivated
enough to do what is right. Therefore emphasize how these issues directly
impact the employee.

Increase the workplace penalty associated with unethical and illegal actions.
o At a time when companies are experiencing a level of competitiveness
that they have not experienced before, they cannot afford to allow
unethical and illegal actions to just slip by. Employees must be held
responsible for their actions at all levels of the organization. The key here
is for a company to consistently deal with these violations and have a
system in place for doing so.

Walk the talk.
o Finally, yet importantly, leaders and managers must walk the talk. The
best way to lead is still by example. The leaders are the ones who create
and maintain the culture of an organization; thus, they must set the
example and uphold to it accordingly. If the leaders are people of strong
integrity who uphold the values of the organization, the employees will be
more likely to follow.
The Role of Management and eSecurity
Top leadership cannot implement all these strategies and monitor them in relation to security,
ethical, and legal issues alone. As a result, leaders often hire competent managers who can
oversee the security processes in efficient and effective manners.
It is not unusual to find the following being included in the role of today’s manager:





Trainers of ethics and legal seminars
Acting policemen and policewomen
Systems testers to ensure that the system is secured
Technology competence – able to at least detect when a system is incompetent
Protectors of information – decide who will have access to certain levels of
information
Copyright © 2007 by Learning House, Inc The Information Age and Security
Page 6 of 7
Companies must seek to develop a certain level of ownership in each manager so that he/she
will be willing to safeguard his/her department. One way this can be done is to get managers to
understand that secured information means more money to their teams’ bottom-lines. Again, the
key is to personalize the benefits.
This management of information has certainly changed business during the past twenty years. It
is not that protection of information was not important in the early days of businesses; it was just
not as needed. Information was more informative than competitive.
In summary, the age of information and management systems are still somewhat cutting-edge
to some small- and medium-sized companies. However, it is true that for these companies to
grow and become giants in their industry, they must inevitably accept that to safeguard
themselves against poor eSecurity, they will need to clearly understand ethics and legal
perspectives of information and find a way of communicating this to their entire organization.
Copyright © 2007 by Learning House, Inc The Information Age and Security
Page 7 of 7

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