←All Posts Posted on March 7, 2015 By admin
We often hear public speakers talk about the digital divide. Usually they mean the sections of society that don’t have access to the Internet and therefore don’t get the best access to products and services via technology or are unable to find the best deals online.
But there’s another digital divide too, between people who understand the technology they’re using and those who know just enough to get by. The latter group are able to use computers and mobile devices to carry out their daily tasks, but are likely to panic when something changes or doesn’t work as they expect.
Digital skills are more important than ever to the way we live our lives, particularly when it comes to things like social media and the cloud. But this also means it’s easy for people to become paranoid and think they’re under attack when things go awry.
Part of the problem is that the people who do understand technology often keep things to themselves. A recent survey showed that more than half of IT staff don’t tell their bosses about a problem until it’s become serious or urgent. Day-to-day malware detection may therefore go unreported and managers may not be aware of all the threats their business is facing.
Businesses aren’t the only ones affected by a lack of digital understanding. Share a Dropbox or OneDrive folder with someone, for example, and you have the ability to place files on their computer. For someone unfamiliar with this type of cloud-based file sharing, seeing a pop-up message saying that a file has been added to their machine can come as a shock and they may think they’ve been hacked. Forget to unshare a folder when you split up with a partner or leave an employer and there are all sorts of other implications too.
Another example is that smartphone users may follow advice to turn off location tracking to make their device more secure. But when they travel abroad on holiday the lack of tracking means the time zone won’t be updated and they’ll puzzle over why the time stamp on their photos is wrong, perhaps assuming malware is responsible.
A digital divide then isn’t necessarily about economics. It can be about skills too. Often this will only come to light when something goes wrong and an enterprise or individual realises they’re not fully in command of their technology. It’s a particular problem for smaller businesses that don’t have in-house IT support.
A computer forensic investigation may seem to be a little drastic, but often it’s the only way to uncover what’s been happening. This can then help the person or company to understand the systems they have and how to use them correctly.
The more we use technology and the more it moves into our domestic lives thanks to Internet of Things devices, the more scope there is for the digital divide to occur. Once our cars and domestic appliances are online there’s even more opportunity to worry about how our information gets shared and copied between systems.
Bridging the digital divide presents a challenge for users, manufacturers and service providers alike as they seek to balance security against ease of use and peace of mind.