Since 1995, we've been a heavily involved in the debate of how best to implement a system that will protect children, families and businesses online. After deep thought and research, we present this white paper to serve as design manifesto for both parents and entrepreneurs in growing their families and businesses.
We propose that human morality and IT security are two processes that model each other in many ways. A business' networking system can be thought of as the brain of a growing child. At first it is concerned with simple survival tasks of reliably moving data from one point to another. It is as a child learning to crawl and then speak simple words. It works well as long as its connection to the world is very selective and highly monitored. Parents usually limit a baby's contact to relatives and close friends. The first software security products limited access to only company approved sites and offered no outside access to files.
However, our goal is to raise a productive adult capable of interacting with the world or to produce a fully functional network, capable of sending and receiving sensitive information from anywhere in the world. This is where a well planned developmental process is crucial for ultimate success.
Waiting Too Long
Sadly, many parents and business just allow their children and systems to grow and only respond to issues after they arise. We assert that for a business to wait until after a networking system has been fully implemented to start thinking about building in security measures is akin to a parent waiting until their child graduates from high school to begin teaching them morality. Serious consequences await them both.
An otherwise normal young adult can find himself involved in a serious crime where he must spend thousands of dollars in legal fees and spend years in prison because he had an inadequate moral security system implemented to protect his thoughts from evil influences. Likewise, a company can be devastated when a hacker or software virus infiltrates it's casually installed security measures.
Steal, Kill and Destroy
We have come to the conclusion that the Internet goes beyond having no morality. It is filled with truly sinister spyware, malware, viruses, Trojan horses, worms, spammers, hackers, and evil people. These elements exist for no other purpose than to steal your data, kill your system, and utterly destroy your family or company. Unless a defensive system is implemented early and rigorously maintained in both the areas of human morality and software security it will be cracked with dire consequences.
It is not enough for a parent to install porn-filtering software. Parents need to communicate with their children about the dangers of allowing lust to drive one's actions. Then, parents need to monitor the actions of their children and provide follow-up guidance. As your child grows, new issues will arise and each new issue will require further guidance. The most powerful moral firewalls are built, one carefully placed brick at a time.
While most companies buy some sort of off-the-shelf security product, they neglect implementing adequate Internet policies and employee training. As the result, they become infected with viruses and spyware programs, as if they had no protection software at all.
The Hacker is Coming
Every networked company must prepare for the hacker, whose goal is breaking into well-designed security systems. They know their target almost intimately and have prepared a detailed battle plan. They search for the slightest weakness and then exploit it. Any administrator who underestimates the ingenuity of a hacker has consequently invited him in.
Likewise, any parent that thinks that his child will not encounter an immoral friend with influence, or a pedophile with well-developed methods of seduction, is unknowingly opening their front door to this scourge. Talk with and listen to your child, often, about their online contacts and friends.
There is no easy solution, but there is a hard solution. Vigilance! Constant vigilance!
If you have a networked business handling sensitive data without a security expert, get one, now!
Most importantly, don't just depend on software to protect your children. Frequently sit down with your child to teach and discuss with them how to prepare and resist the dangers of life and the Internet.
The Internet can be an incredible tool for enlightment. However, whenever there is light, darkness will attempt to corrupt it. This is a universal truth. But, have no fear and be diligent, because it is also true that light will overcome the darkness.