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Analysis using DET

Write about the Case Study for Diane Company.

Diane runs a consultancy firm. Diane’s Company has several employees as well as clients. They advise their clients for setting up corporate intranets and designing DBMS. They are also responsible for giving security related advises to their clients. Diane has taken up a project to design the DBMS of a company that is medium sized. Diane has allowed the participation of the client in the process of designing. The client opted for a less secured system as the cost of a highly secured system will be high. According to Diane, the system requires more security features as it contains sensitive information.

This report analyzes the entire case study from the ethical point of view. It analyzes the entire situation the is presented in the Diane’s Company case study by taking the help of Doing Ethics Technique or DET. This report answers eight main questions to evaluate the situation and determine whether it is ethical or not. This report also analyzes the Diane’s Company case study from the perspective of ICT Professionals by taking the help of ACS Code of Ethics. This report also combines the analysis based on DET and ACS and gives overall recommendations regarding the situation.

DET or Doing Ethics Techniques is used for the purpose of analyzing ethical issues in various situations (Wachs 2017). This technique helps the people to think in an ethical manner. It does not ensure best solutions but it helps in providing an ethical solution. Eight questions can be answered to get an accurate result. The Diane’s Company case study is analyzed by DET and by answering eight questions as follows:

The Diane’s Company was founded three years ago. It deals in consulting business. Diane is involved in giving several types of corporate advices to the clients. There are several employees and clients of this company. Recently this company has taken up a DBMS project of a company that is medium sized (Bernstein and Jain 2014). The client is also participating in the process of design of the DBMS. Diane has found out that this database will store sensitive and valuable information and therefore it requires advanced and strong security features. The cost of incorporating strong security features will become much more than they had planned and this made the client opt for less secured system. According to Diane, if the system does not have strong security features then it will become easy for any attacker to hack into the system and therefore she gives suggestion to use a strong security system. She tried to explain about the various risks of a less secure system but the computing director, personnel director as well as the CEO was in favor of a less secure system (Shapiro, Stefkovich and Gutierrez 2014). Diane is in a state of dilemma whether she should build a highly or less secure system.

Options

Several facts have been observed in the case study.

  • Diane’s Company is a consultancy firm. The business is running for the past three years.
  • The company provides advice regarding designing of DBMS and setting up corporate intranet. This company is also engaged in advising their clients regarding security.
  • Recently Diane has taken up a project for designing DBMS of a medium sized firm.
  • The client is also involved in the design process of the DBMS.
  • The company needs to take decision regarding the degree and level of security that is to be incorporated in the system.
  • Several options were presented to the client.
  • The project cost would be higher than the planned cost by incorporating strong security features.
  • The client wanted a less secured system because it would be less costly.
  • The computing director, personnel director as well as the CEO was in favor of a system with less security features.
  • Diane knew the security risks that can harm the system and wanted to build a highly secured system.

There are several issues involved in this case. The case depicted a scenario where Diane can understand the importance of the security risks involved in the DBMS that they are designing for a medium sized company. The client as well as the computing director, personnel director and the CEO is in favor of a system with less security features. They are unable to understand the information security needs of the DBMS. This can lead to a conflict between Diane and directors of the company. This issue of conflict can disturb the harmony of the work environment leading to low productivity and low customer satisfaction (Shafer-Landau 2014). Another issue can be conflict between Diane and the client company. The client company might misunderstand Diane and think that she is suggesting in designing a high security system because of high price. The client company might not understand the real importance of the security needs (Ford and Richardson 2013). This situation can lead to low customer satisfaction. Another important issue that can occur is ethical in nature. Designing a less secured DBMS will harm the company later. It will not be ethical for a IT company to deliver a project with less secure features. Delivering a less secure project will not only affect the reputation of Diane’s Company but also affect the users as their sensitive data will be lost due to any security threat and attack.

The people who are affected in this case study are the CEO, computing director, personnel director, Diane and the client company. There can be conflict among the stakeholders due to the security decisions of the DBMS of the client company. This can lead to disharmony in the work environment leading to low productivity. Low productivity will dissatisfy the customers. On the other hand if the company decides to deliver a low secure DBMS then it will affect the entire reputation of the company (Durkheim 2013). If later on the system’s vulnerabilities are exploited by the attackers to access the sensitive information then it will harm the users of the DBMS. The financial data and other valuable data will be lost. The users will be affected in this case. 

 IT companies must look into the safety features of the projects that they deliver. They must deliver a safe project incorporating security features in the system. It will not be ethical for a company to deliver an unsafe project that can harm the client company in the future (Dewey 2016). If the company delivers an unsafe project and later on if any security breach occurs then it will harm the reputation of Diane’s company and will also affect the users whose valuable data will be lost.    

Conclusion

A mutual decision can be taken in order to resolve this issue. Diane can compromise with her decision. She can compromise with the security features of the DBMS for the client company. This solution is unethical. Diane can explain the importance of information security and convince the client to opt for a highly secure database system.

There are several options that can be taken in order to resolve the issues:

  • Diane can agree to deliver the DBMS to the client company with low security features.
  • Diane can try to explain the need for information security to the client and convince to deliver a highly secure system.
  • Diana can give up the project because she does not want to deliver a less secure product to the client.

The best option is to convince the client to take up a highly secured DBMS. The client should not compromise the security features because of the cost of the system. If Diane agrees to sell a less secure product to its client company then it will not be an ethical act. Loss of sensitive data will harm the users and it will also affect the reputation of Diane’s Company. According to Deontology theory it is morally correct if Diane carries out her responsibility and delivers a safe system to its client (Conway and Gawronski 2013). Selling a safe product will produce happiness among the users, stakeholders as their data will be secured and it will give happiness to the shareholders of the company as it will create a good reputation of the company (Albee 2014). Therefore according to Utilitarianism theory, this decision is the best decision (Mulgan 2014).  

The contract theory can be divided into moral as well as legal contracts that promote ethical activity. In this case study, Diane has entered into a legal contract for developing DBMS for the client company. She knows that the database will contain sensitive data and loss of valuable data can harm the users of the system. Diane’s moral values stop her from developing an insecure or less secure database system as this can cause an adverse effect in the future (Levitt and Moorhead 2013). Therefore the best option according to Contract theory is not to develop an insecure system or convince the client to choose a secure database system. 

ACS code deals with professional conducts. Its main focus is to guide the behavior in a professional society. This code of conduct encourages adherence to certain society values:

  1. 1. Public Interest Primacy: According to this code, the interest of the public should be given primary importance. In this case study, Diane is morally correct because she looks into the interests and benefits of the client first (Craft 2013). She thinks about the negative effects of a less secure system and suggests the client to opt for a highly secured system. She discusses the negative effects of a less secure DBMS and aims to preserve privacy and confidentiality of the data of the stakeholders. Here Diane is acting in an ethical manner as she gives importance to the public interest.
  2. Enhancement of Quality of Life: According to this code, the ICT professionals must try to improve the quality of the life of all those people who will be affected by their projects and works (Crane and Matten 2016). In this case study, Diane understood the importance of information security. She understood the severe effects of selecting a less secure DBMS. She told her clients that the employees will be able to gain access to the client data and she also explained the chances of hacking that can occur. Here it is clear that Diane thought about improving the quality of life of the client by suggesting them to choose a highly secure system and hence it is ethically correct.
  3. Honesty: According to this code, the ICT professionals must be honest with their clients. They must not hide any important aspect of the services or products which they are delivering (Hart and Graham 2012). They must not give any false ides to the clients for selling products. This code of conduct also includes rules like not to accept bribery and differentiate professional and personal opinions and advices. In this case study, Diane is honest with her clients and tells the client company about the negative effects of adopting a less secure DBMS.
  4. Competence: According to this code, the ICT professionals must work in a competent as well as diligent manner for stakeholders. Their aim is to deliver products that will be able to meet the operational as well as financial needs of the clients. They are supposed to give the best advices to the clients. In this case study, Diane is involved in the designing and development of DBMS for a medium sized firm. She suggests the client company a product that will fulfill the maximum operational needs of the company (Gotterbarn 2013). She knew that the client company will store sensitive data in its system and this will require high security. She gave correct advice to the client company for preventing any loss of valuable data.
  5. Professional Development: According to this code, the ICT professionals must enhance their own professional development (McDermid 2015). They must also try to enhance the professional development of the staffs and employees working in the organization. The focus must be to be aware of advanced technologies, practices as well as standards related to work. The staffs of the organization must be motivated to upgrade their skills and knowledge. In this case study, Diane is fully aware of the recent technologies and the security threats and risks. She knows the importance of information security (Gray and Schein 2012). She knows the negative impact of a less secure database. She even tries to enhance the professional development of the CEO and directors by explaining them about the various risks associated with less secure database.
  6. Professionalism: According to this code, the ICT professionals must try to enhance the society’s integrity. This code also aims at increasing the respect of the members towards each other in the society (Boughton 2013). The aim of this code is to resolve ethical dilemma so that appropriate actions can be taken. The company must take action against any member who does not follow ACS code of ethics or conduct (Wright and Mordini 2012). This code is responsible for promoting cooperation among different professionals. Public interest is given primary importance. In this case study, there is a dilemma regarding designing of a less secure database system (Miller et al. 2012). The client company does not want a highly secure database because of high cost factor. The ACS code of ethics does not support the idea of developing a less secure database system.

Conclusion

This report concluded that Diane should not agree to build a less secure database system for the client company. According to this report it is not ethically correct to build and design a less secure database system for the client. The ICT professionals must take care of the security features of the products and services that they deliver to the clients. This report analyzed the situation by using the Doing Ethics Techniques and suggested that the best option is to convince the client to opt for a highly secure database system. Loss of sensitive data will harm the users and it will also affect the reputation of Diane’s Company. The best option as suggested by the DET is supported by the ethical theories. The client should not compromise the security features because of the cost of the system. This report also analyzed the situation by using ACS code of ethics. ACS code deals with professional conducts. In this case study, Diane was morally correct because she looked into the interests and benefits of the client first.  She thought about the negative effects of a less secure system and suggested the client to opt for a highly secured system. She discussed the negative effects of a less secure DBMS and aimed to preserve privacy and confidentiality of the data of the stakeholders. The ACS code of ethics does not support the idea of developing a less secure database system.  

References

Albee, E., 2014. A history of English utilitarianism (Vol. 1). Routledge.

Bernstein, M. and Jain, V.K., 2014. Ethical decision-making. In Neurosurgical Ethics in Practice: Value-based Medicine (pp. 135-146). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

Boughton, C., 2013. 5. What is an ICT professional anyway?. Professionalism in the Information and Communication Technology Industry, 3, p.77.

Conway, P. and Gawronski, B., 2013. Deontological and utilitarian inclinations in moral decision making: a process dissociation approach. Journal of personality and social psychology, 104(2), p.216.

Craft, J.L., 2013. A review of the empirical ethical decision-making literature: 2004–2011. Journal of Business Ethics, 117(2), pp.221-259.

Crane, A. and Matten, D., 2016. Business ethics: Managing corporate citizenship and sustainability in the age of globalization. Oxford University Press.

Dewey, J., 2016. Ethics. Read Books Ltd.

Durkheim, E., 2013. Professional ethics and civic morals. Routledge.

Ford, R.C. and Richardson, W.D., 2013. Ethical decision making: A review of the empirical literature. In Citation classics from the Journal of Business Ethics (pp. 19-44). Springer Netherlands.

Gotterbarn, D., 2013. 13. ICT governance and what to do about the toothless tiger (s): Professional organisations and codes of ethics1. Professionalism in the Information and Communication Technology Industry, 3, p.267.

Gray, K. and Schein, C., 2012. Two minds vs. two philosophies: Mind perception defines morality and dissolves the debate between deontology and utilitarianism. Review of Philosophy and Psychology, 3(3), pp.405-423.

Hart, R. and Graham, R., 2012. The ICT Profession Body of Knowledge.

Levitt, D.H. and Moorhead, H.J.H. eds., 2013. Values and ethics in counseling: Real-life ethical decision making. Routledge.

McDermid, D., 2015. Ethics in ICT: an Australian perspective. Pearson Higher Education AU.

Miller, T., Birch, M., Mauthner, M. and Jessop, J. eds., 2012. Ethics in qualitative research. Sage.

Mulgan, T., 2014. Understanding utilitarianism. Routledge.

Shafer-Landau, R., 2014. The fundamentals of ethics.

Shapiro, J.P., Stefkovich, J.A. and Gutierrez, K.J., 2014. Ethical decision making. Handbook of ethical educational leadership, pp.210-228.

Wachs, M. ed., 2017. Ethics in planning. Routledge.

Wright, D. and Mordini, E., 2012. Privacy and ethical impact assessment. Privacy impact assessment, pp.397-418.

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