You know I always thought that at some point, printed books would go the same way as vinyl. Despite sporadic revivals by the music industry and its use by particular groups such as the electronic and “mixmasters,” the majority of households have already replaced turntables for the latest technologies.
Equally the latest published shopping trends suggest a transition from printed to electronic books; so I wasn’t surprised to learn that Amazon has just announced that Kindle book sales outstrip paperbacks by 15% and hardbacks, by 45%. (http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=176060&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1521090&highlight=)
The gradual shift, and more importantly reliance on technology means that failure to observe one of the three key tenants of Information security, Availability, is having a dramatic impact on people’s lives. Take for example the recent virus outbreak at Portsmouth libraries. It was reported that the impact of this outbreak resulted in public internet access being suspended for two weeks. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-12199223)
Although this is unlikely to be a problem for technology professionals like yourself, for many people this is the only lifeline they have to the online world. A member of the Portsmouth Pensioners Association said that “A lot of our members do go to use the computers, because maybe they can’t afford to buy one or run one from home. It’s a shame for them because it’s a good way to stay in contact with people.”
Ensuring that systems are protected from unauthorized malware is a critical function for every organization, but when those systems provide a civic function to some of the most vulnerable groups in society, then it should be mandatory. Access to the online world is now absolutely necessary in order to compensate for the closure of a number of post offices throughout the UK, and so the role of the local libraries is becoming more important than ever before.
Unless we want to keep the internet to only those lucky enough to own a computer, and only allow them access to the array of services both public and private sector has to offer, more must be done to ensure that outages are prevented. After all, there are solutions available to protect systems from such outages.