Information Technology Boon or Bane?

Until recent times, the role of technology and technological developments has been regarded as entirely beneficial to the society. However, in the past few years, a number of voices have questioned this benevolent view of the effects of technology upon society. We are wedged in a society that compels and encourages us to get the newest and best possible technology as we can. The problem is that for most of us having the newest and best is more than we will ever need.

The maximum exploitation of technology exits at workplace where personal computers, network systems, Internet access, e-mail and telephones are easily accessible for employee’s use. Employers’ greatest risk to their computer security comes not from outside hackers but from current and former employees who intentionally or inadvertently disclose confidential or sensitive information. Employees no longer have to photocopy documents behind closed doors; they can simply download package of data to disk, CD or DVD, or even e-mail the information to a competitor with the click of a mouse.

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Another form of technical exploitation or defamation is employer harassing female employees’ by sending obnoxious and sexually assaulting emails. Technology may also be used to commit a wide spectrum of other offenses, including embezzlement, defrauding the company and customers, and corruption of company records. The easiest way for a modern office worker to destroy the company is through its information resources.

It only takes one disgruntled or irritated employee, or former employee with enough information technology expertise, to create serious disruption, which could result in significant economic loss. There are numerous ways in which insiders or former insiders can attack company computers: hacking (gaining access to a computer or network without authorisation); cracking (gaining access for the purpose of committing crime once inside); sabotage (gaining access for the purpose of doing damage); and spamming (causing the system to be bombarded with so much unwanted information so hat its capacity is temporarily degraded). While the Internet is considered as an essential productivity tool that allows employees to communicate rapidly and conduct research, it could also be fundamentally disadvantageous to an organisation if it becomes a major distraction to employees allowing them to engage in inappropriate online activities such as chatting, surfing pornographic sites, gambling, shopping, or illegal downloading of software, music and movies.

Employees downloading inappropriate material from the Internet tend to share it with colleagues and friends by email, potentially cause severe damage to an organisation’s reputation or increases the risk of software virus infections. The abuse of technology in the workplace points to weaknesses in an organisation’s employees’ training, corporate policies, and technical defences.

Unless employers take serious precautionary measures to remedy these issues in the workplace, they will remain defenceless against viruses, security violations and financial loss. The burden of creating a respectable digital behaviour lies within the users themselves. Observance of netiquette will result in increased productivity and significant cost savings in IT deployment in the workplace.

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