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Exploring the Security Concerns for an Online e-Business

written by: Daniel Brecht•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 5/28/2010

With many enterprises making the move to e-business, why is it there are security concerns? Are there ways to overcome them? Yes. This article will explore the pros and cons of an e-business, as well as explain how to establish a secured e-business. Continue reading.

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    e-Business: Its Purpose

    What's an e-Business? Simply said, it's doing business online. But, it's more than that...

    The purpose of an e-business is to completely change the way traditional organizations do business. It uses information technology and the Internet (as well as other technologies and forms of communications) to perform business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-customer online work. For example, an e-business involves buying and selling, marketing, providing services and products for customers, and networking business partners and suppliers.

    Note: The term e-business also includes e-commerce, however, they are not synonymous; each term refers to a different entity.

    Over the years, doing e-business has helped to reengineer and improve how companies work with customers and suppliers to communicate, coordinate, and collaborate more easily and effectively. Nowadays, companies will incorporate the development of an e-business because it has become a competitive necessity. The future of doing e-business is reassuring since companies depend on it to support their particular needs, speed-up online business processes as well as transactions.

    Today, many enterprises run an e-business for the simple reason of being able to reach out to the global market. As well, it helps enterprises establish a good business-to-customer relationship, and business-to-business partners relationship. With so many positive outcomes of running an e-business, why is it that having one has security concerns? This is explained next.

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    e-Business: Security Concerns

    Having an online e-business requires establishing a good relationship and trust. Since an e-business has no face-to-face communication, disclosing personal and financial information online is one security concern between a company and its customer. The security concern here is identity theft, as disclosed data could be stolen or misused. The image below proves that e-businesses do in fact use their customers' released information (but it doesn't mention why they do it, or for what reasons).

    Identity theft is one of the major concerns of today's e-businesses. To overcome such a security concern, an e-business must establish a customer's trust; to do that, it has to assure that a customer's personal information is kept confidential and secure. The solution: an e-business could have a customer-friendly Web site that deploys a privacy policy and a secured online ordering process – a secure transaction system.

    Another common security concern deals with privacy. Many e-business customers are finding it hard to believe that their information released online will be kept from unauthorized parties. When this is the case, privacy is best handled by encryption. An e-business should know that collecting customer's information other than for the intended transaction (like many e-businesses do) is violating a customer's privacy rights, if done without his or her consent.

    There are also security concerns in B2B operations. Since it does involve running an e-business, the information exchanged between business partners needs to be held confidential. Again, a trusted business relationship is essential. Overcoming B2B (as well as customer/client) e-business security concerns can be easy. Here's how.

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    e-Business: Gathered Customer Information (is a security concern)

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    e-Business: Overcoming Security Concerns

    In order for companies to ensure the security of their e-business system (and overcome security concerns), they should be using Internet Protocol Security (IPSec) for securing communications on the network, and Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) for setting up e-businesses using wireless communications. Also, a secured e-business requires encryption for all connections to the Web server. An additional strategy is to utilize Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and/or S-HTTP, which work great to secure e-business transactions and other communications between browsers and Web sites. Furthermore, e-mail should use file encryption like Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), Privacy Enhanced Mail (PEM), Secure Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (S/MIME), or MIME Object Security Services (MOSS). Finally, using Secure Electronic Transaction (SET) can help secure e-business payments online.

    As for e-business customers overcoming security concerns, they just need to be aware of the numerous online scams, as well as aware of anything else offered in an unsolicited or spam email.

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    Useful Web Site

    Why E-Business Is Now Everyone's Business: