Research Fellow, Kobe University, and Professor, University of North Carolina-Greensboro
Nir Kshetri is Professor at University of North Carolina-Greensboro and a research fellow at Kobe University. He has authored seven books, one of which is selected as an Outstanding Academic Title by Choice Magazine and has published over 110 articles in various journals. He also participated as lead discussant at the Peer Review meeting of the UNs Information Economy Report 2013 and 2015.
Nir is the winner of 2016 Bryan School Senior Research Excellence Award. He is also a two time winner of the Pacific Telecommunication Council’s Meheroo Jussawalla Research Paper Prize (2010 and 2008).
Nir has been quoted/interviewed and/or his work has been featured by hundreds of media outlets worldwide such as Foreign Policy, Bloomberg TV, CBS News, Fortune, Time, Christian Science Monitor, U.S. News & World Report, New Boston Post, Observer and Salon.
Topical Session 6: Security, Privacy and Data Protection
Monday, 22 January 2018
Firms based in the Global South (GS) face more barriers and obstacles to e-commerce utilization than their counterparts in industrialized countries. Big data (BD) and the cloud have been touted as a key mechanism for levelling the playing field for GS -based firms, especially SMEs. This article examines the deployment of big data- and cloud-based e-commerce applications in the GS economies and reviews the demand and the supply sides. Investigated in the article are the roles and limitations of BD and the cloud in overcoming economic, sociopolitical and cognitive barriers to e-commerce in GS economies.
The roles of BD and the cloud in overcoming economic barriers
The main attractiveness of the cloud is that it leads to a reduction in up-front investments and addresses constraints related to organizations’ human, business, and technological resources. For instance, India’s Apeejay Stya and Svran Group, which is a US$1 billion plus conglomerate, moved the entire IT functions including the mission-critical ones to AWS. The company reported that by doing so, it reduced IT staff from 23 to 3 and cut costs by over 80%.
As noted above, market and infrastructural factors controlling the availability of ICTs and a lack of purchasing power act as key barriers in the GS. To address the low purchasing power, local and foreign CSPs are offering e-commerce solutions at low prices.
Regarding the barriers associated with a low penetration of mainstream online payment methods such as credit cards, it was reported that foreign CSPs require cloud users to pay with credit cards.
The roles of BD and the cloud in overcoming sociopolitical barriers
The cloud’s transformative potential has resulted in significant national political decisions to utilize this technology for key economic activities. To some extent, such decisions addressed issues such as the lack of appropriate government regulations related to privacy and security, and the lack of institutional trust.
The roles of BD and the cloud in overcoming cognitive barriers
Unlike client-based computing, cloud-based software is easier to install, maintain and update. For instance, in the above examples, Demandware makes new features available to Clarins on a rolling basis. Thus in order to expand e-commerce activities, Clarins is not required to undergo any major upgrade project or add staff for maintenance.
Measures taken by global CSPs have also helped overcome cognitive barriers associated with e-commerce adoption. Global CSPs such as Amazon and Google hold seminars for start-ups in India, Indonesia and many other developing economies
Blockchain—a kind of distributed ledger technology-- has been described in the popular press as the next big thing. Among its many practical applications, blockchain is also known for robust cybersecurity. This presentation evaluates blockchain’s roles in strengthening cybersecurity and protecting privacy. Since most of the data is currently stored in cloud data centers, it also compares how blockchain performs vis-vis the cloud in various aspects of security and privacy. Key underlying mechanisms related to the blockchain’s impacts on the Internet of Things (IoT) security are also covered. From the security and privacy considerations, it highlights how blockchain-based solutions could be, in many aspects, superior to the current IoT ecosystem, which mainly relies on centralized cloud servers through service providers. In this regard, for one thing, there is a deep thirst for a foolproof method for confirmed identity in IoT applications. The first of blockchain's direct benefits is that it provides a possible solution to identity management.
An illustration will be presented to show blockchain’s role in strengthening cybersecurity in supply chain management. Blockchain can be used in a supply chain to know who is performing what actions. Additionally, time and location of the actions can be determined. Blockchain thus facilitates valid and effective measurement of outcomes and performance of key processes in supply chain and other market-facing problems. Once the inputs tracking data are on a blockchain ledger, they are immutable. Other suppliers in the chain can also track shipments, deliveries, and progress. In this way, blockchain produces trust among supply chain partners. By eliminating middleman auditors, efficiency can be increased and costs can be lowered. Individual suppliers can perform their own checks and balances on a near real time basis. With blockchain, it is possible to access immutable records for various aspects of transactions involving a product to understand key vulnerabilities in the upstream supply chain. This technology can also help strengthen downstream supply chain partners’ and device owners’ precautionary and defensive cybersecurity measures.
Using practical applications and real-world examples, the presentation thus argues that blockchain’s decentralized feature is likely to result in a low susceptibility to manipulation and forgery by malicious participants. Special consideration is also given to how blockchain-based identity and access management systems can address some of the key challenges associated with IoT security. The presentation provides a detailed analysis and description of blockchain’s roles in tracking the sources of insecurity in supply chains related to IoT devices. The presentation also delves into how blockchain can make it possible to contain an IoT security breach in a targeted way after it is discovered. It also discusses and evaluates initiatives of organizations, inter-organizational networks and industries on this front.