IT personnel should also remember that their obligation extends beyond that of the organisation and to the larger society. The IT departments of major banking institutions, public sector undertakings, government agencies, etc., thereby play a role that is beyond mere commerce. Security failures in these organisations can have ramifications that can affect general public from all walks of life. In this context, IT personnel will do well to remember the following set of personal pledges from ACS’ Code of Ethics document: “I must protect and promote the health and safety of those affected by my work. I must endeavour to understand, and give due regard to, the perceptions of those affected by my work. I must attempt to increase the feelings of personal satisfaction, competence, and control of those affected by my work.” (ACS, section 4.8, 2005)
In conclusion, there is no doubt about the need for increased security standards in the digital age. But while drawing up security measures and implementing them is a costly affair, it saves both time, resources and business prospects to pro-actively counter such threats. The foremost among those proactive measures is to ensure that employees of organisation, especially from Information Technology departments, take an oath of allegiance to a set of ethical standards. The two sets discussed in this essay, from ACS and ACM are very well written, touching all aspects of an IT professional’s work life. It is imperative that the top management ensures that the recommended professional behaviour stated in these two documents does see practical application.
The Code of Ethics document, being abstract and generalised as it is, can give guidance up to a certain level. Hence, the individual employee must take personal interest in meeting those standards and also take the code in its true spirit. Otherwise reading and interpreting them literally, one can find loopholes and justifications for he worst kind of professional conduct (Cox, 2008). In conclusion, it is apt to say that in an increasingly globalized world, when interconnectivity across geographies are becoming easier than ever before, there is a great necessity for ensuring safety of computer networks. Such a safe computer system environment is not only in the interest of the business corporation and the IT organisation, but also in the interest of the general public, for they are also stakeholders in the success of these organisations. And top managers in IT organisations as well as those heading IT departments in other business firms should see to it that the recommendations given by organisations such as ACM and ACS are properly implemented within their purview and that their subordinates absorb the spirit of ethical conduct. With IT expected to expand into all aspects of life in the coming years, it is imperative that the culture of ethical conduct is developed and becomes entrenched during the industry’s formative stages itself.
Britt, P. (2007, December). Technology: Just a Part of the Security Puzzle. Information Today, 24, 1+.
Cox, B. (2008, July). Lock the Network’s Back Door. Communications News, 45, 12.
Kolb, N., & Abdullah, F. (2009). Developing an Information Security Awareness Program for a Non-profit Organisation. International Management Review, 5(2), 103+.
Lin, P. P. (2006, July). System Security Threats and Controls. The CPA Journal, 76, 58+.
Code of Ethics, 1992, Association for Computing Machinery, viewed on 20th October, 2010 from <http://www.acm.org/about/code-of-ethics/>
Code of Ethics, 2005, Australian Computer Society, viewed on 20th October, 2010, from <http://www.acs.org.au/attachments/Code_of_Ethics.pdf>