Can you trust the government?Janette Toral
The slow process in prosecution of cases, lack of an institutionalized cybercrime program, and the recent Proclamation 1017, I believe, have affected the trust level of companies in outsourcing.
Unless otherwise the culprit admits to his or her cybercrime, expect a hacking or fraud case to take years to prosper. This is the current situation of Yes I.T. Corporation in its case against accused fraudsters, still lingering in Philippine courts for more or less three (3) years now.
In addition, the recent Proclamation 1017 that had provisions where government can take over major infrastructures further scared companies from outsourcing their data center requirements. Most companies would rather put up an in-house data center rather than risk their valuable data. Although the Supreme Court ruled that the said provision in Proclamation 1017 is not legal or allowed, the preparedness of government to cross the line or boundary hampers the gain of trust, as the application of law is pretty much subjective and there’s no immediate penalty for the executive’s abuse of power.
For international companies who have established offices in the Philippines, an option to have continuous business operation with secured disaster recovery infrastructure is to build them in-house. Another emerging option is to have it located overseas such as Malaysia.
On the positive side, this provided opportunities for vendors to attract more business as companies have been more than willing to invest in securing their infrastructure and data security. In a survey of 100 companies that I conducted last July to August 2005, vendors like IBM and Hewlett Packard are known for being the brand of choice in desktops, servers, and laptops among top companies in the country. While American Power Conversion or APC solely dominates the uninterruptible power supply category.
The problem with trust is that it must be genuinely earned. It can’t be imposed. Government’s determination to build a trustworthy business atmosphere to encourage more IT investments should be well-rounded. Its action in other areas, although not related to the IT sector, can have significant effects if unchecked.
On the other hand, the private sector must be responsibly vocal in airing its sentiments on government’s action that affects their sector. Being passive and just addressing the issue on its own, taking other alternatives that affects related sectors. In this case, those who are in the data center infrastructure business were most affected.
Although the IT sector is known for its flexibility and resilience, government moves that threaten proper enforcement of laws and protection of data must be undertaken with sensitivity especially in retaining confidence among locators and businesses in the country.