Nov 2, 2017 in Business

Internet 

The popular impression that many people have of the Internet is of hackers and geeky students lurking around the net, recording every transmission and trying to take possession of a bank account. The reality, of course, is less dramatic (Olson 2009). The risk that is taken if a credit card number is sent over the Internet is probably no greater than the risk taken every time the card is handed over to a waiter in a restaurant or told someone over the telephone. However, there is some risk involved, if only because of the open and anarchic nature of the Internet. The company’s security objectives will fall into one or more of the following five categories (Kaldal 2011):

These objectives are closely related to the type of information that is being transferred. The first example that people usually think about when considering that is credit card transactions (Kaldal 2011). However, this is only one of many possible uses for web security. For example, imagine that someone is going to open the first college of education based entirely on the Web. This venture will involve sending many different types of documents, with a variety of security objectives.

The nature of the web application gives some additional areas for concern. The following list summarizes some of these vulnerabilities (Kaldal 2011):

  1. When the user clicks on a link, the system that he is connected to is determined by what is defined in the document stored on the server. If that server has been compromised, a hacker could misdirect the user to his own server.
  2. CGI programs are often written ad hoc, rather than being properly designed. This means that they are likely to contain bugs, which may be exploited by a hacker (Olson 2009).
  3. HTML documents can imbed in many different types of data (graphics, sound, etc.). On the browser, each data type is associated with a presentation program, called a viewer. These programs are, themselves, often large and complex, which means they may as well contain bugs. Furthermore, some of the file formats contain some programmability (a good example of this is Postscript). A hacker could use these features to execute programs or install data on the client machine (Kaldal 2011).

Firewalls 

Firewalls are pieces of software or hardware allowing only those users, who are outside a system with specified characteristics to access that system. They protect a system or network or a section of the Internet from unauthorized use from both inside and outside. Inside the system, it is possible to implement an internalized firewall system. Firewall devices enable secured access and communications with external networks where the level of security and trust is not well established (Olson 2009).

Proxy

One of the more common forms of firewall is the use of a proxy. A proxy is a small program that is able to read messages on both sides of a firewall. Requests from outside users for information, files, transactions, or communications from the web server are intercepted by the proxy, checked, and then forwarded to the server machine. The response is eventually forwarded back to the requestor. Proxies increase network security because they can strictly control authentication processes and check all logins on the server (Olson 2009).

Proxies can support high-level protocols that can enable and deny access to the server and thus to the organization's systems. Proxies also provide better network management and a higher level of security because they add another level to the transaction process, which increases the potential for checking. However, one disadvantage of the use of proxies is that by having an additional level of activity in the process, there is a greater chance for viruses to infiltrate the system and escape detection until some damage has been done (Kaldal 2011).

Authentication

Authentication is the process that the person or process with which are carrying on a conversation is indeed the party they claim to be. Authentication can be accompanied by a number of different means. It can be based on a unique property possessed by the person or process. One example is fingerprints. Authentication can also be based on a knowledge possessed by the person or process. An example here is digital signatures, where the unique knowledge is the sender's private key: SSL provides an authentication service and this is discussed in depth in this part of the chapter. One of the key safeguards in any system is user authentication (Olson 2009).

This is why a username and password are assigned, which must be verified by the system before a user is allowed to use it. The username and password files however are a weak link in the system, and if they can be hacked and stolen, anyone possessing them can gain access to one system, and from there, possibly others. Other security loopholes have been discovered in popular Unix software (Kaldal 2011; Olson 2009). One way to avoid some of these loopholes is to encrypt the password file. Other, more complicated authentication systems grant tickets to the user after he or she has signed onto the system. The tickets are time-stamped and are valid only for a specific period. Someone 'listening' on the network may be able to grab the unsuspecting user's username and password as it entered a login. However, without the resulting ticket and means to decipher it, they cannot use services on the system (Kaldal 2011).

In order to address security and privacy issues, customer registration mechanism was used. It was done to provide the users with extra convenience and create additional opportunities for the registered users. Payments are to be performed via secured mechanism with the encryption of transferred data. Since privacy is one of the most important issues to consider, the mechanism of keeping privacy is the following: visitors can register on the website using Login mechanism; in addition, there is a register form allowing users enter more information for the further purchases.

Mechanism of the registration is email-protected. It means that a user needs to activate newly created account via clicking the link sent to the entered email. Such convenient scheme provides rather standard but reliable protection of the registration process. In addition, it allows keeping clean the website database from accidental or mass registrations.

Joomla CMS is a rather simple and easy tool for website creation and maintenance. There are Joomla CMS 1.7 and its requirements in Table 1 (Joomla.org, 2012):

Table 1. Software Requirements

Software

Recommended

Minimum

PHP

5.3 +

5.2.4 +

MySQL

5.0.4 +

5.0.4 +

Apache

(with mod_mysql, mod_xml,

and mod_zlib)

2.x +

2.x +

Microsoft IIS

7

7

As for the hardware requirements, the major requirements are the appropriate bandwidth of the internet connection and server, running under Linux or Windows system.

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All information needs to be sorted in some way and this becomes an even more complex task due to the speed of growth in information availability through the Web. Before the commercial acceptance of the Web data, warehousing was already offering this possibility for larger businesses. Such terms as data warehousing, data mining, or information warehousing are frequently used terms for managing the storage and data analysis process more effectively. This was and still is a specialist area that is often outsourced. The emergence of the Web and more global networks in general has seen data warehousing merge into the more fashionable Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and business intelligence arena. This has become the prime means of collecting customer data, which is then in a form that is easily managed with the right computing tools (Kaldal 2011; Olson 2009).

The volume of data available on customer behavior via the Web is formidable. ‘Click stream’ analysis reveals exactly where the customer came from, at what time, duration, actual activities, when they departed and where they surfed onto. The new web-based systems allow more seamless integration with ‘backend’ systems and also improved validation compared to older legacy systems. The so-called cleaner data also brings with it its own problems, in particular when considering the customer catchment area is potentially the population of the world. This means that the level of complexity in undertaking the analysis and also the need for scalability in the Web warehouse needs to be taken into account (Kaldal 2011; Olson 2009).

Recently, physical distribution has been expanded into the broader concept of supply chain management. Supply chain management starts earlier than physical distribution, attempting to procure the right inputs (raw materials, components, and capital equipment); convert them efficiently into finished products, and dispatch them to the final destinations. An even broader perspective calls for studying how the company’s suppliers themselves obtain their inputs all the way back to the raw materials.

Supply chain management is the part of backend system for any website today. It should be integrated into the entire business system and interconnect frontend, backend, and legacy systems of business to grant continuity and further success of new venture. The new business of selling e-business materials should be supported by legacy systems, such as phone lines, faxes, courier mail, and others. As for the backend systems, it would be necessary to hire several people who would maintain the database, work with authors, process payments, returns, etc. Administering of the website is a very important process and it should be performed by the highly qualified professionals, as well (Kaldal 2011; Olson 2009).

The importance of legacy systems in modern business is still high. Therefore, the above-mentioned phones, faxes, courier mail, and other old-school communication systems are necessary to be present in this business. In case of hardware failure, it would be utterly useful to assure customer support and business continuity for some time, at least. CRM system would work as dozens of years ago – by phone. All systems should be of moderate or high quality.

Modern Marketing Demands

Modern marketing demands more than just developing a good product, strongly promoted with desirable pricing, and which is made available to target customers. Organizations of all types, in both consumer and industrial markets, need to be able to communicate with customers in a timely and effective way. These new technological modes of communication are becoming more complex and driven at an unprecedented speed. The basis of information technology relates to the collection, processing, and transmission of information and consequently has a major impact on the communication process (Kaldal 2011; Olson 2009).

A traditional approach towards an integrated marketing communications mix consists of a specific blend of advertising, personal selling, sales promotions, and public relations tools. The balance and emphasis placed on the marketing communication mix will clearly be affected by the types of industry but just as importantly the specific organizational characteristics. In recent years, direct communication initiatives have gained greater importance and this reflects the need to meet individual customer aspirations and needs (Kaldal 2011; Olson 2009).

For many, technological development is an enabler of radical change in the mode and speed of communication. It is important not to take a too narrow focus and accept the ever-changing nature of marketing communication. The information collected and processed, by a consumer provides a total image of a product, which goes far beyond the advertising message. The product offering synthesizes everything the consumer needs to know about the product including the type of usage and the type of person who buys it. Accepting organizations as open social systems, one can view the elements of a system as both interactive and interdependent (Kaldal 2011; Olson 2009).

Considering the decisions associated with the development and delivery of a marketing communications strategy, it is possible to see the complexity and sensitivity of the decision components. The traditional marketing communications mix identified below provides a basis for this chapter in further exploring issues related to the e-Business Grid and interactive marketing communications tools (Kaldal 2011; Olson 2009). The strategically orientated e-business grid puts into context issues such as context analysis, research and evaluation, resources, positioning, promotional objectives. The operational interactive marketing communications tools are clear extensions of the traditional marketing communications mix such as: direct marketing, advertising, public relations, personal selling and sales promotions.

The Internet offers a unique medium for communication whether it is through e-mail, newsgroups and the latest hypermedia based approach that incorporates 3D virtual space (flash technology) (Kaldal 2011; Olson 2009). The focus of the internet transactions is much more of a two-way process that is faster and more dynamic in nature. Communication on the Internet between a customer and a supplier surpasses previous one-way communication, by invoices, purchase orders, online database queries, and faxes.

The Internet allows one to securely trade for B2B markets via Extranets, allowing two-way access to information on delivery schedules, enterprise resource planning data and just the ability to feed into the production and development process. In B2C markets, the interactive nature of the Web allows communications to be targeted at individual needs but to a mass market with virtually real time response (Kaldal 2011; Olson 2009).

Online Communication

The development of online communication facilitates a move towards more information rich specialist groupings (similar to user groups) or what is frequently being called communities. Enablers of communication development are defined as computer infrastructure and bandwidth, international information technology standards, and shared working environments for online communities (Kaldal 2011; Olson 2009). Mirabilis (www.mirabilis.com) is an example of a portal driving forward global real-time communication across the Internet. Even though leisure and informal chats primarily drive usage, the website provides an invaluable insight into the potential of cost effective real-time communication on a global scale. Mirabilis.com has been a leader in facilitating online chat around the globe along with similar services. The site offers free facilities that are easy to use for either collaborating in established Internet Relay Chat (IRC) forums or setting up a new discussion group (Kaldal 2011; Olson 2009).

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The importance of IRCs can be seen through the level of IRC usage by AOL subscribers. AOL quote that between 30 and 40% of text based messages in the US are via chat rooms. A natural progression for synchronous communications on the Internet is for IRCs to gradually incorporate more multimedia tools, such as ‘whiteboard’ tools for brainstorming activities. Over time, both audio and video conferencing applications became the norm for interactive two-way communications processes (Kaldal 2011; Olson 2009).

The Internet is viewed as replacing scarcity with abundance for both products and services and consequently organizations need to develop successful strategies that benefit from an oversupply in many markets. Strategies need to be based on seeking out and occupying the most valuable niches in the Network quadrant or an organizations supply chain across the Internet. For many affiliate marketing strategies are an enabler in reaching the higher value niches on the Web. In acquiring customers on the Web, it is now widely accepted that affiliate-marketing initiatives are highly effective means of driving an integrated approach towards marketing communications and typically moving organizations into the network and virtual quadrant (Kaldal 2011; Olson 2009).

The Internet offers a new media form where new tools and techniques are required in achieving effective marketing communication initiatives. Web browsers and the hypermedia format of web pages provide a new type of ‘window to the world’. The promotional mix is viewed by many as of central importance to marketing communications and includes advertising, personal selling, sales promotion, and publicity.

The promotional mix needs to be extended further to form the marketing communications mix and incorporate other important communications elements that are focused on the product itself, price, and distribution. The basic web page structure has become very powerful for marketing communications and has now become an integral part in the traditional marketing communications mix.

The focus is made on marketing communication tools specific to the Web and a detailed description is made to the unique features that have evolved consequently. As identified earlier in the e-business grid, e-direct marketing is a tool of central importance and is currently having the greatest impact, which is indicated through being relevant to all four quadrants (Kaldal 2011; Olson 2009). The success of marketing communication on the Internet will now be considered in the context of direct marketing, e-sponsorship, customized selling, e-journals, portal advertising, sales promotions, wired relations, and web exhibitions.

The website in question is one among many. However, it provides the opportunity to learn how to be smart and enterprising in the modern world of the Internet’s dominance. Information is priceless if given to the right people and in the right time. Therefore, this venture has all the reasons to become successful. It has obvious competitive advantage – it is the source of the valuable information that is rather cheap.

The project has the following estimated costs (Table 2):

Table 2. Estimated Costs

Requirements

Number x Cost

Total Cost

Development Costs

Salary

Programmers

2 x $1,000

$2,000

Data base designer

1 x $1,500

$3,000

Interface designer

2 x $1,000

$2,000

Team Manager

1 x $1,000

$1,000

Other employees

 

$5,000

Cost of equipment

Software tools

 

$1,000

Project Scope

 

$300

Software Project Plan

 

$500

Project Team Org worksheet

 

$200

Cost Estimate Worksheet

 

$100

Consulting Time Estimates

 

$1,000

Performance Evaluation

 

$700

Development Tool

 

$2,000

Hardware

Computers

2 x $500

$1,000

Printers

1 x $300

$300

Others

 

$2,000

Operational Cost

Setup costs

   

Cost of legacy conversion

 

$1,000

Training

1 x $1,000

$1,000

Purchase of any equipment

 

$1,000

Overall Cost

 

$24,400

For the creation website's needed functionality and network that will support it, one would have to create the following system architecture for the company:

The project timescale is limited with 4 four weeks (plus additional week for any emergencies). There is one week for planning, two – for the creation and development, one week is for implementation and the last week is for testing purposes. Therefore, the initial meeting took place on day 1 of the project. Day 2 and 3 were spent for the actual planning. Days 4, 5, and 6 were devoted to the process of project improvement. Finally, the final meeting was on day 7 to provide all interested parties with actual plan and the strategic features of the future product.

Two weeks were spent for the creation of the database, source code and set up of the Joomla template and various extensions. Week 3 was devoted to the process of actual implementation of the website and realization of all above-mentioned features. Week 4 was necessary for the testing purposes and further improvement of the website.

The website has the following structure:

  • Home
  • Login
  • Forum
  • Site Map
  • Contacts
  • Payments
  • Customer Registration
  • Cart
  • Products
  • Policies

It is plain and simple in order to assure easy understanding of the navigation principle and finding all the sections without extra search. 

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