The Importance of Being Earnest

Oscar Wild in 18th century, wrote a play called, ‘Importance of being Earnest.’ The play talks about a wealthy gentleman called Jack, who uses the name of Earnest when visiting a different town. Jack’s friend Algernon (Algy) also christens an imaginary friend Bunbury. The author clearly points towards the different lifestyle that Jack lives when he switches the name. Both the characters indulge in deception, created by the two names, or the imaginary friend as per their convenience highlighting the importance of being Earnest.

Earnest in English language is defined as a thing intended or regarded as a sign or promise of what is to come. The intended satire of this English classic, although first performed in 18th century fits in modern day cookie world also. The websites or the web tools use cookies to predict what you would like to see. Cookies are actually given to a browser by the server. These cookies, then help the website to determine your interests, your likes, your dislikes etc. So if you have searched for a thing on the web and find ads related to it when you are visiting social media platforms, it’s just your cookies telling your social media about your likes and dislikes.

The social media is a small part of our daily life. We are living in a globalised world, where the distance is just a number. IT has revolutionised the way we communicate, the way we spend our time, the way we shop, and most importantly the way we work. We are living a data driven life, making data an important tool. Imagine, if just like our social media platforms, our work and related data are also used to predict what we wish to do. The indication in itself has two faces. One points towards Business Intelligence (BI) wherein the data is used to automate our daily process and the other points towards data access provided to users without our consent, commonly known as data leakage. The problem is exactly as has been raised in the play. Can we trust the web resources we have been relying upon?

For BI the data moves in order to generate meaningful analysis, which can support business decisions, but the business is aware of the data movement and expects it to be turned into meaningful results. Apart from BI also, a huge amount of data flows from and within the organization. Be it through mail, phone calls, messages or marketing brochures. We are sharing the data, and if we are sharing the data, then what harm would a web portal sharing the data do? The answer to the dilemma is simple – when we share the data or the information, we are in total control. We can control the level of information that we share, as well as decide the receiver of the information. But in the case of our tool sharing the information, there is no control over what will be shared or how much would be shared.

Recently, a social media giant was questioned for data privacy in the US. The organisation under question has a user base of millions and is a global brand. The brand is famous for not generating its own content, but has been accused of selling the customers’ information to a third party. The case for now seems to be confined to just social media, but if a similar thing happens with the web tool that we use for our official purpose, it will be a nightmares for business stakeholders.

The impact of the harm from data leakage is hard to anticipate, and when we look at private security organisations the scenario turns into a complex equation. The organisation’s biggest resource is manpower which is exposed to high attrition. The manpower moves from agency to agency, and agencies are looking for guards. Hiring new guards brings training cost with it, making new hiring an expensive business. Along with the industry specific risk, the industry also faces the generic risk of exposing their contract/ tender value which can pose a direct danger to the agency’s income. The damage is not restricted to the private security organisation only but to the customer also. The customers hire private security agencies in order to protect their premises, but if the information such as guard allocation is out it can jeopardise customer’s security also.

Specific to private security industry, a contradictory statement that is often heard in the industry is that the private security industry in India is highly unorganised. The ‘unorganised’ in the statement refers to the minimal usage of process solutions streamlining daily operations of the industry. But the statement is deceiving in its own terms. Most of the private security agencies rely readily upon available solutions. The commonly used solutions do not have any encryption and generate data in a format which can be easily transferred. The lack of encryption and easy availability of the solution makes the data prone to leakage.

Some of the agencies have opted for offline solutions which, unlike the readily available solutions, are agency specific. These solutions need to be maintained in-house only. The private security agency has its expertise in manned guarding, and for an agency to invest in their solution maintenance is more of a cost than investment. Moreover, the technology changes rapidly, and the in-house software are often found lagging behind the latest technology, turning them into a burden for the agency rather than a solution.

Cloud computing has revolutionised the world and looks like a perfect solution to the needs of the industry. Private security agencies should be able to relate to cloud computing more than any industry. Cloud computing is like giving our data to an expert to keep it secure and provide the authorised access whenever requested. Cloud solution providers deal in data and thus are well equipped to secure the data. There are solutions in the market which can work as a bridge between the agencies’ daily operations and cloud servers. These solutions provide add on measures such as access control, ensuring safe data transition. Moreover, the trending events direct towards the conclusion that, it is any day better to rely upon a solution which is dealing in data with our knowledge. An earnest solution which handles the data the way it says.

By Ruchir Walia – Product Manager, TA Netgables Pvt. Ltd.


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