Every company has a goal of being competitive in the global market. This has given rise to a phenomenon called globalization. Companies no longer have to operate from one place. As they continue to grow, they expand over vast geographical regions. This expansion at times exceeds beyond the geographical borders of one nation. As the company expands and gains more capital, it opens branches and subsidiaries in other countries. In some cases, this phenomenon continues and eventually covers the entire globe. Employees also do not have to be obtained from one region. They can be outsourced from other countries and undertake their tasks remotely over the internet. However, there are a variety of issues that arise as a result of a company having offices in different locations. Most of these issues border on security. This essay attempts to address the issues someone might face while managing security in a company with offices in multiple countries.
Firstly, different governments have different regulations concerning company information. In some countries, it is a requirement that the government gains a certain amount of an institutions information. This might be in conflict with the companys native company. When too much information is demanded by the government, the company risks giving confidential information. This information might involve user data or financial information. The company on the other hand has no choice but to abide by the laws of that country or vacate (Ferner, 1997).
In different regions, various networking standards are utilized. Some of these standards are more secure than others. If a company establishes an office in a country that uses less secure communication protocols, there in need for concern. Unsecure standards pose a big threat to a companys data. It leaves the data vulnerable to hackers and other cyber-attacks. Some companies have centralized data storage that links up all branches in different geographical regions. In the event of the system getting hacked through a less secure network, the intruder has the possibility of gaining access to a companys entire data.
Some company branches and subsidiaries in various countries might allow employees to use their own devices (BYOD) in accessing company information. This creates a high vulnerability to the companys data because some of those devices might be infected with viruses (Miller, Voas & Hulburt, 2012). Some workers can at times be careless. A worker can forget his/her unlocked phone in a taxi cab leading to the leakage of sensitive company data. In a similar manner, employees who do not receive training on best security practices and have weak passwords pose a threat to the company. Furthermore, those who visit unauthorized web pages or click on links within suspicious emails or even open email attachments, pose an even bigger risk to the companys data.
Rogue disgruntled employees are a high risk category of individuals. They are the ones who are majorly responsible for internal attacks. Members of the IT department who are adept in networking technologies are able to access data centers and administrator accounts. When motivated by sinister objectives, they can be very dangerous (Shiels, 2009).
Technology is becoming more complex and specialized. More companies are outsourcing vendors to repair and maintain systems. An example of this is whereby more firms are outsourcing the maintenance of their point-of-sale machines to third party service providers. These parties often remotely connect to the firms network without following best security practices. They might use the same password to remotely connect to all clients.
Cloud computing is becoming a very popular trend among various multinational companies. It is a very convenient method of storing data. Whether a user is on mobile device or a desktop computer, the cloud is able to provide instant access to information at any given time, anywhere an internet connection exists. When it comes to business, the cloud offers numerous benefits. They include scalable file storage, applications and other data types. It offers improved collaboration of team members regardless of their locations. It saves time and money through eliminating the necessity to construct an expensive data center and hire IT technicians to manage.
One major demerit of cloud computing is that it is an off-premise system. Users outsource data needs to a third party. In this case the company trusts its data in the hands of a third party. Such data can always be accessed by the cloud vendor. Also with the recent WikiLeaks report about the NSA, it shows that governments are also interested in spying on internet users and company data. It claims Government organizations are collaborating with telecommunication companies in the U.S to inspect data during its transmission or where it is stored in the internet. This includes the clouds.
The risks associated with cloud storage are not only limited to breaches in security. They also include repercussions in the form of lawsuits filed by or against the company. Currently, there are no unified guidelines for cloud providers. This leads to a lack of standardization within the cloud. With the numerous number of cloud providers, it becomes hard to determine which cloud service is the safest. The safety of a cloud service generally depends on the providers themselves, the type of industry the company operates in, and the supplementary regulations regarding the information it intends to store in the cloud (Tucker, 2012).
In conclusion, cultural issues also arise concerning company data. When a company has branches in different locations, they have to employ people from within those localities. These people have different attitudes and views on technology. People in different regions have varying levels of technological know-how. Those with poor knowledge of technology might put the companys data at risk. The acceptance of different technology and procedures might not be uniform across all regions. This makes it difficult for someone to remotely manage the security of a company based in different locations. The perceived ease of use regarding new technology varies for instance if a technology is considered difficult to use then it might be rejected and this might lead to the use of older and less secure technology.
Ferner, A. (1997). Country of origin effects and HRM in multinational companies. Human resource management journal, 7(1), 19-37.
Miller, K. W., Voas, J., & Hurlburt, G. F. (2012). BYOD: Security and privacy considerations. It Professional, (5), 53-55.
Shiels, M. (2009). Malicious insider attacks to rise. BBC News Online, 11.
Tucker, G., & Li, C. (2012, January). Cloud Computing Risks. InProceedings on the International Conference on Internet Computing (ICOMP)(p. 1). The Steering Committee of the World Congress in Computer Science, Computer Engineering and Applied Computing (WorldComp).
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