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Simple Things To Protect The Internet

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The debate surrounding net neutrality has been ongoing for more than a decade and is equally heated on both sides. Essentially, the principle of net neutrality would remove restrictions on user access to content on the Internet. This means Internet Service Providers cannot favor certain websites or give precedence based on content. But it may also mean ISPs have more freedom to monitor user activity.

Advocates say net neutrality would give everyone equal access to the web. In principle, users would be able to control what content they can access on the Internet, as ISPs wouldn't be able to block certain content, like P2P or voice over Internet protocol sites for example, based on their own discrimination. Proponents argues that this would improve transparency and promote fair practices, which could benefit smaller websites.

Opponents, largely consisting of ISPs, telecoms and hardware companies, argue that net neutrality inhibits ISPs' ability to manage web traffic, which could seriously impede speeds, especially during peak hours. Some also say that net neutrality violates property rights, because ISPs themselves own the channels through which people can access the Internet.

At issue is the question of whether an ISP should be able to block or slow access to some networks, some content, or some applications, and whether that ISP should be able to charge more for access or not. Today, ISPs charge only for bandwidth, regardless of how it's used.

It's not a far stretch to imagine your bandwidth provider telling you that if you want to use their cloud offering, access is free, but if you want to use a larger cloud with more features, faster performance, or better pricing, you'll have to pay a steep toll to access it. Extending the analogy even more, your telecom could even potentially charge you a "Salesforce.com toll" or "Amazon EC2 toll" on your bandwidth.

Even worse, this gives your ISP license to spy on what your employees do online by opening your network packets to see what's inside.

Now more than ever, it's time to ensure that enterprises encrypt all public network traffic to the cloud. It's becoming very apparent that security on the way to the cloud and in the cloud itself will be a major issue for enterprises this year.

The author is Managing Director, APAC, Trend Micro


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