This e-Commerce Management Assignment is aiming to provide a business report describing the impact of security features on e-commerce from different perspective like organizational performance, management, technology. It is very important that each perspective is dealt in isolation because if they are studied in interaction with each other then report would not be able to identify which area needs more focus than others. E-commerce is a revolutionary development in business all over the world where consumers are using online portals and website to conduct business transaction. E-commerce uses internet as back bone for conducting business transaction and practically market for e-commerce is entire world with the help of internet. This assignment is secondary in nature and it would be using secondary resources like online databases, journals, previously done researches, peer reviewed articles, newspaper publication etc.
E-commerce in its pure essence is only transaction part of the e-business where sales and payment of sales is dealt with using electronic payment gateways. E-commerce is a revolutionary business model which is dependent on advanced business communication technologies like internet to bring buyers and sellers on same platform. There are different versions of business models in e-commerce and they are analogues to conventional B2B or B2C models. E-commerce can have online sales portals using organizational website where consumers can visit and make purchase using their bank cards and their purchase would delivered to their door steps within the speculated time period. Another form of e-commerce would have electronic platforms bringing sellers and buyers on the same site and acting as a bridge between both. This particular format of the business helps the customers in saving time, increasing convenience as well as cutting down on the costs. For this reason, this format has been very popular amongst the consumers as well as small to medium size businesses. Innovations related to information and communication technology have been able to revolutionize a lot of areas of our life including the way various businesses are being carried out in a lot of industries. On a contemporary analysis it is observed that fast paced growth of e-commerce and online business is giving rise to a serious challenge towards the security of the customers, organization, data and other privileged information. Organizations that are in e-commerce business model are very much concerned about the security features and consider them as a necessary evil in their business (Miller, 2002).
SCOPE AND PURPOSE OF REPORT
The term e-commerce stands for shopping through the part of the internet which is termed as the World Wide Web but that is just online shopping. Term e-commerce deals with a much wider scope and takes in various other activities related to business apart from just shopping through web. Although from the perspective of the businesses the term e-business is generally used for e-commerce in this broader sense. In this paper, we will use the term e-commerce in its broadest definition.
This assignment is aiming to critically analyze security features in e-commerce business model in perspective of management, technology and organization. Here a detailed understanding and a in depth analyses of the security features and needs of security in e-commerce business model would be done. It is also investigated that how security features would impact these three perspectives of management. E-commerce is a developing trend and in its growing stage there are various aspects and attributes whose impact is to be fully assessed (Friedman, et al. 2002).
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SECURITY AND E-COMMERCE
Security and safety of the transaction and protecting the privacy of the data of customers is one issue which e-commerce has been plagued most with. In e-commerce, the transactions between sellers and buyers take account of requests for quotation of prices, information, placing the orders as well as payment, in addition to services given after sales. All of these call for a high degree of genuineness, privacy, confidence as well as timely delivery. The amount of confidence needed for showing these authenticity, confidentiality, and timely delivery can be very difficult to sustain since the medium of exchange is the Internet. The transactions, interception, and above all the details of the credit cards which are needed to be furnished at some stage of the purchase procedure, on the Internet is often a major obstacle to public confidence in e-commerce. There are valid reasons for such in-confidence among customers because in its nascent stage some customers and clients were cheated while doing online transactions like their credit card details were copied, they were provided with the broken or damaged goods or sometime entire e-commerce website turned out to be a fraud one.
ADVANTAGES OF E-COMMERCE
There are various advantages associated with e-commerce and online shopping model for both organizations as well as consumers. It is possible for any company to make use of e-commerce for reaching narrower segments of the markets which are geographically widely dispersed. The web and the internet are on the whole very useful for creation of virtual communities which serve as the perfect target markets for these companies. In spite of all of these advantages there are some serious problems with this format, which have been able to keep e-commerce from being the most dominant format of business till date. Amongst these disadvantages are: difficulty for conducting some of the businesses like perishable foods and high-cost items such as jewelry or antiques electronically (Westin, 1991).
E-commerce is developed and drawn on from different types of technologies like banking technology, electronic form of fund transfer, online management of supply chain, online transaction processing, payment gateway formation and development, electronic data interchange and automatic inventory management system. Initially e-commerce used to take internet and World Wide Web as their technological boon but now they are using mobile technology, cellular commercial transaction and electronic devise based platforms for online transactions. From technological perspective security features in e-commerce is an absolute requirement. It should be thought before making any decision about the usage of a technology that how we can ensure the security of the user and business both. Technology which are being used in development and day to day running of e-commerce platforms are highly dynamic in nature and they tend to change their usage patterns, software, languages etc regularly. Security feature also need to be updated with same pace so that users can use e-commerce platform without any concerns. It is also important to sustain a secured environment for e-commerce which will facilitate online transactions as well as communications. Such an environment can be created through harnessing the various technologies to minimize risks.
From the technological perspective let us first look into the threats or the type of attacks which e-commerce will be rendered vulnerable against:
Attempt by the attacker to delete or damage the user’s files and other data or information.
- Denial of Service
This type of attack will hold back any user from accessing or using the e-commerce services.
Theft deals with the attack to the privacy of an individual user. This provides the attacker with a chance of accessing unauthorized data and information and subsequently compromising or stealing of the data and private information.
Other types of attacks are: harassment, social engineering, compound attacks (Borisov, 2001).
In essence technology is a double edge sword which can be used in e-commerce platform both as a tool to improvise security or a weapon to destroy security of an e-commerce platform. Technological advancement is making it easier for violators to move around the security features and technology is enabling security features to get stricter by the day. Technology has enabled e-commerce uses to use advance security features like 128 bit to 256 bit encryption which are currently considered as impossible to break through brute force method by any existing computer in the world and they also created modulators which can encrypt the passwords and locking combinations in such encrypted format that a hacker will not be able to crack the code easily. Technology also enabled the user to monitor their accounts continuously making the recognition of a violation immediately and making arrangements for it stoppage. For example today SMS is a good way to provide information to the client about any fund transfer in their account and each transaction is immediately reported to the owner of the account. As soon as any unauthorized movement of fund would take place owner can immediately report it to bank ceasing all activities from the account and limiting the theft or sometime even nabbing the culprit (Brands, 1996).
Industry experts believe that technology is not a problem or a solution for e-commerce development but it is a tool which can be used by the professional to protect their data, their communication and Sustainable development. All of these technological developments have been implemented by the companies for inspection of the e-commerce activities as well as for the data which are being captured and used by the companies for purposes of the business. However these technologies also may endanger the personal privacy of the consumers which include causing data trails, warehousing as well as mining of data in addition to biometrics. It has been said by Clarke (2001) “Many of these technical mechanisms can lead to consumer profiles that are no longer based only on the individual’s dealings with a single organization, because their data is shared by multiple merchants”
We have to understand one aspect of security features which are being employed in the e-commerce platform that none of the loop holes are left intentionally so that personal data and information can be stolen from the user. It is analogues to the security system of a home where small carvings in the doors are specifically left so that pets can easily move in and out of the home. Problem arises when same opening is being used with some tweaking by intruders. Even owner is not aware of such intrusions and by the time he sees the intrusion damage is already done. Or may be owner forgot to lock the door then even with latest and advanced alarm and security system there is no impact on a intruder. Similarly in a e-commerce platform security system can secure the data, protect information and save the transaction but they have to give access to the authenticate users and if a user leaves the gate open by sharing password or giving it to a unauthorized person then all security features are useless. A security system is a process oriented system where weakest link of the security is the user itself because in maximum number of cases passwords and security codes are knowingly or unknowingly shared by the users itself (Winner, 2002).
Impact of technology on the e-commerce platform is very significant and it is because of technology like mobile communications, SMS alert, Email verification etc that users are slowly gaining confidence in online transaction using their credit cards. Currently Mobile technology and one time generated passwords (OTP’S) are being considered as most advanced form of security features which enable a safe and secure online transaction.
Management and organizational policies may play as an important a role in site security. For the management it is very vital to be aware of all the various types of risks which the e-commerce’s security system can be exposed to and take effective measures to overcome or minimize such risks. Technology is also changing constantly for taking care of more and more new types of threats which are being introduced by the attackers in the e-commerce segment. Despite the fact that the consumers and the public are more averse towards the e-commerce due to the fact that they think that they are exposed to security threats, it is more the management of the business which is more exposed to this kind of risk. Hence it can be said that the management for any company which is currently dealing with or is trying to deal with the e-commerce platform, are greatly affected by the security and related measures for this format of the business (Bishop, 2003).
There are certain policy related decisions which can be used by the management of the organization to ensure that there company is fully secured and their communication and transactions can be done with full confidence by their employees. An organization can take decisions like developing an entire department which will oversee the security of data and transaction and prevent any intrusion or attack on the organizational process and databanks. They will ensure that all communications are done through secured channels from end to end, there are policy related decision which can also initiate a basic training and development programs for all employee who would be directly and indirectly involved with the e-commerce and online transaction of the organization. This training would help them in understanding the threat level of insecurity; appreciate the importance of security features and impact of negligence and carelessness on transactions.
This feature is being used by many organizations these days and it is considered as the single most effective way to integrate the personal goals of the employees with the organizational Performance goals in context of security in e-commerce and e business transaction. If both entities are well aware and vigilant towards such activity and keep a close eye on any unwanted movement then more than half of fraudulent activities can be stopped in the budding stage.
Impact of management on security features is very high and out of three perspective this would hold the key to development and future of e-commerce in the organization because until and unless top management is in agreement with a development and they understand the need of stringent security features for safe and secure e-commerce then it becomes a strategic goal of the organization to uplift and improve the security features in e-commerce transaction and also communicate the similar message to each employee that security should be considered as area of prime importance. To enhance the effectiveness of such decision an organization can easily link them to the performance management and make it an integral part of annual review of the employee. This will encourage the employees to remain vigilant and enthusiastic about the security features and he would also encourage employees at lower level to follow the same pattern. These employees are the weak link where security can breach easily and if they are integrated with management’s aim then organization can make it invulnerable towards potential threats and challenges in security of its e-commerce transactions (Kotler, 2009).
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Organizations are well aware of the fact that security features create obstacles in easy navigation of their websites and portals and this will deter the consumers who are not internet friendly. They get discouraged with the unnecessary demand of passwords, key pressings, visual tests and similar other features which verifies the authenticity of the user visiting the e-commerce portal. To tackle these issue organizations put a very detailed and clear instruction sheet which can be read by the users and then follow them easily. However if a user (may it be employee or a outside person) cannot use it and stay away from the portal then it’s better than using it in a insecure manner and exposing the organization’s classified information for outsiders.
In organizations e-commerce is normally used for suppliers and vendor management, internal communication of the organization where departments are purchasing each other’s services and working as independent units. A large number of employees in an organization presently are using e-commerce platforms for the first time and they might not be fully proficient in using them in a secure manner. Organizations that are in competitive bidding process and use online bidding to get contracts are highly vulnerable. if any employee uses the portals insecurely and by any chance give the informational access to the competitors and market forces then entire profitability and sustainability of the organization can be at stake. This indicates how important and critical security of the e-commerce process is for organizations and how much impact can be made by one single mistake or a security loop hole (Adams, 2001).
In order to improvise the security of e-commerce usage and online shopping portal from organizational perspective many organizations uses internal security features like web filters, firewalls, voice recognition systems and facial recognition before giving access to the users. For any financial transaction going above a certain level permission and monitoring would be required from the finance department etc. such features might not guarantee 100 percent security but they will definitely improvise the level of safety in organization. Some organizations are into sensitive areas of business like defense organization, taxation, banking, hospitals etc where impact are not only associated with financial losses but there are more critical matter of a person’s health or national security. In such industries and organization usage of e-commerce platform is still limited and they are growing in a very cautious manner. They are concerned that online platforms and e-commerce might have some obvious benefits over conventional process in terms of time saving and cost effectiveness but they will not be able to meet the security features of conventional communication where everything can be physically verified.
CONCLUSION: e-Commerce Management Assignment
Security threats and protection of data is an ongoing battle of technology, resources and internal motivation where entity who is better prepared would be having an upper hand. It can be said in the conclusion that despite the security factor being still under the research, it has already taken up significance in terms of the companies which have their e-commerce service facility. There may be different perspective in security of e-commerce transaction and they need to be studied in isolation but for practical implementation they need to be implemented in a integrated manner organization wide to provide a complete and comprehensive security cover to the e-commerce transactions.
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