Teleworker's Security Risks Minimized with Informal Online Information Technology Communities of Practice

Teleworker's Security Risks Minimized with Informal Online Information Technology Communities of Practice

Loreen Marie Powell (Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-014-1.ch187
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The advancements of technology have altered the way many small businesses operate in the United States of America (USA) (Butcher-Powell, 2006). Small businesses have been forced to embrace technology or lose valuable employees and business. As such, many small businesses have merged to wireless networks and adopted various forms of telework. Today, it is estimated that more than 60% of the workforce are teleworkers (Butcher-Powell, 2006; DecisionOne, 2002). While moving to a remote workforce is good for small businesses, it also places a substantial amount of security risks upon the small business. Butcher-Powell (2006) documented some of the security risks associated with corporations employing a remote workforce, indicating that teleworker’s lack of information systems and security training can compromise the corporation’s network. The study investigates one particular method for aiding teleworker’s: informal information technology communities of practice in cyberspace. One hundred and forty four teleworker’s were surveyed on what sort of IT-related activities they devote time to, how much problem-solving they attempt via technology discussion groups with respect to those activities, and their perceived community and organizational benefits to participating in such discussion groups. The study found significant differences in perceived value of technology discussion groups among teleworkers.
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Telework is often defined as an agreed upon working arrangement whereby the employee is permitted to officially perform their job tasks in another location other than the typical place of business (United States Department of Defense, n.d.). Most telecommunication elements include laptop computers, the Internet, and various wireless routers, a firewall, and a virtual private network (VPN). Each teleworker is typically provided with a laptop that contains locally installed corporate software. Each laptop typically uses a client and Microsoft’s Point-to-Point Transfer Protocol (PPTP) to enable remote access to the small business’s network. The client is configured to allow TCP/IP connections on the small business’s network as needed (Butcher-Powell, 2006). The client contains a designated Internet protocol (IP) address, and a valid log-on user name and password needed to establish a relationship with the small business’s network. The relationship between the client and the small business’s network is established by utilizing client software to connect to the small business’s firewall via tunneling. Once the client is authenticated, the teleworker gains access into the network.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Voice Commerce (V-commerce): The initiating of business transactions through voice commands.

Electronic Commerce (E-Commerce): The conduct of business communication and transactions over networks and through computers. Electronic commerce is the buying and selling of goods and services, and the transfer of funds, through digital communications.

Television Commerce (T-Commerce): This is e-commerce occurring over the medium of the television.

Bluetooth: This is a low-power wireless network standard that allows computer, peripherals, and consumer electronic devices to talk to each other at distances of up to 30 feet.

Micro-lectro-mechanical systems (MEMS): These are chips that combine the capabilities of an RFID tag with small, embedded mechanical devices, such as sensors.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID): The electromagnetic or electrostatic coupling in the RF portion of the electromagnetic spectrum is used to transmit signals. An RFID system consists of an antenna and a transceiver, which read the radio frequency and transfer the information to a processing device, and a transponder, or tag, which is an integrated circuit containing the RF circuitry and information to be transmitted.

Ubiquitous Commerce (U-Commerce): The use of ubiquitous networks to support personalized and uninterrupted communications and transactions between a firm and its various stakeholders to provide a level of value over, above, and beyond traditional commerce. It is the combination of electronic, wireless/mobile, television, voice, and silent commerce.

Silent Commerce (S-commerce): The conduct of machine-to-machine transactions in real time, without human involvement.

Wireless Commerce (also referred to as mobile or m-commerce): The buying and selling of goods and services through wireless handheld devices, such as cellular phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs).

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