On this basis it’s clear to see why, undiluted, the public network is about as clean as the public sewerage system. You drink it at your peril.
So if service providers wish to subscribe to the ideal that the pervasiveness of cloud-based IT services will compel business consumers to absorb increasing amounts of bandwidth as essential utilities, it is clearly incumbent upon them to start behaving like other utility providers. That ultimately leads down a path toward greater regulation. If it cannot be acceptable for one utility company to provide water containing traces of cryptosporidium, then why is it acceptable for another to provide service containing all manner of undesirable IP contagions?
An often quoted retort is that consumers take responsibility for what they consume over a ‘dumb pipe’. Why then, when dumb pipe water providers have been ensuring they carry no cholera for the last 100 years, does providing dumb pipe data carry no similar burden? Utility authorities need to impose some quality control. Who else can check what’s good for us?
Though radical, and even somewhat harsh on the wider operator community, this is a worthwhile proposal; and some kind of clean pipes manifesto, a serious opportunity. The objective is to stamp out IT security threats, and that cannot be achieved while responsibility for accomplishing it continues to be passed around the IT ecosystem like a hot potato. Personal health might not be directly affected by a data infection, but livelihoods mostly certainly would.
Indeed, operators have the opportunity to confront this individually by demonstrating leadership on this issue and taking customer sentiment with them. What better way of engendering customer satisfaction and loyalty to a trusted, utility service than by underpinning virtues of reliability and affordability, with trustworthiness. Utility industries are, by the very nature of handling critical life affirming (and by default, potentially life threatening) services, heavily regulated. Acting collectively to benefit their customers and their industry, they can share the burden, self-regulate more proactively, and draw away that potential sting.
In the UK, the overall cost of cybercrime to businesses alone is conservatively estimated at £22 billion a year. Much of that damage could only have been achieved by the insidious spectre of malware and web-borne threats, all of which are ultimately preventable. If more cloud-based services really do turn out to be the predominant IT delivery model, then there is no better opportunity to disinfect these threats at source.
Public health for the public network
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