IT security

According to Robert Reich, author of the book The Work of Nations, the industrialized world will need large numbers of "symbolic analysts," that is those educated in the use of data, words, and oral and visual representations. These include entertainers, movie producers, corporate executives, engineering consultants, lawyers, and so on. Routine workers face bleak prospects in the future in Reich's view.

The institutional nature of work and employment will also continue to undergo dramatic changes in the future, according to Charles Handy, author of the book The Age of Unreason, as the new world of work becomes more decentralized, mobile, flexible, and less structured. IT security will become a thing of the past for large numbers of the population and lifetime careers could cease to exist for many people.

Instead of permanent positions, workers will probably be working on one-year, three-year, or five-year contracts, and large numbers of people will be working in part-time positions and holding down two or more jobs in different occupations or in different organizations. Most people will, in effect, be pursuing multiple careers. A growing number of organizations, including governments, will outsource their activities to individuals and groups of individuals working as freelancers and consultants.

In all likelihood, large numbers of the workforce will be working in independent teams with contracts throughout the world. It was generally held that good IT management practices led to improved business performance; however, today the view is that good information management practices, and even good information behaviours and values lead more clearly to improved business performance (Marchand, Kettinger, & Rollins, 2000a).

In the Information Age, the focus has shifted from aligning specific systems and technology with the security issues, to aligning far-reaching information practices and culture. The term “information orientation” has been introduced to describe firms' information capabilities and choices. Information privacy is an important information orientation component. Business and IT managers have both an admittedly challenging and a potentially rewarding responsibility when it comes to shaping their company's information privacy strategy and aligning it to existing or evolving business directions.

It is hard to dispute the argument that “IS professionals and managers should be aware of information privacy issues—especially the potential impact on existing IT and on future systems development. IT outsourcing must have the oversight responsibility for information liability as they have the most extensive knowledge of their organization's systems and programs and an intimate understanding of the data.

To perform this oversight function effectively and to provide justification for increased information security to policy makers, however, IT managers and professionals must understand the driving forces surrounding individuals' concern about personal information privacy” (Henderson & Snyder, 1999, p. 215). Managers' privacy-related decisions can go far in aligning positive business impacts with necessary external directives, whether they come in the form of consumer demand, industry regulation, or even national and international legislation.

External dimensions, however, are not the only driving forces behind managers' decisions with respect to information management. Depending on the firm's values, strategy, and information orientation, managers will be guided by an internal “information privacy orientation” (Greenaway, Cunningham, & Chan, 2002) that will determine whether they choose to use information to promote the joint interests of the business and of the customer, or to promote the interests of the business at the expense of the customer.

Business policies and practices regarding information ownership, access, use, and distribution will vary, and tradeoffs will be made among the rights and benefits of the business and the customer.

References: Alfaro, L. and Rodriguez-Clare, A, 2004 ‘Multinationals and Linkages: An Empirical Investigation', Economia, 4: 2, 113-69. Ando, K, 2004 Japanese Multinationals in Europe. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. Bernard, A. B. and Jensen, J. B, 2003 ‘Foreign Owners and Plant Survival', National Bureau of Economc Research Working Paper No. 10039, 1-24.