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FUNDAMENTALS OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

ITEC1104

LECTURE NOTES

Copyright 2007
Mrs. G. Campbell

1.1.4.

1.1.3.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
1.

Module 1 Introduction to computers and information technology .......................... 5


1.1.
Definition of Information Technology................................................................ 5
Purpose of Information Technology ........................................................................... 5
Functions of Information Technology ........................................................................ 5
Benefits of Information Technology........................................................................... 5
Application of Information Technology ..................................................................... 6
1.2.
Definition of computer system............................................................................ 6
What is a computer?.................................................................................................... 6
What is a computer system? ....................................................................................... 6
1.3.
Functions of computer systems ........................................................................... 7
1.4.
Components of computer systems ...................................................................... 7
Memory (RAM & ROM, Cache) ................................................................................ 7
Central Processing Unit (CPU) parts and their functions ........................................ 9
A.L.U. ......................................................................................................................... 9
Control Unit ................................................................................................................ 9
1.5.
Storage .............................................................................................................. 10
Units of storage ......................................................................................................... 10
Magnetic tape unit..................................................................................................... 10
Magnetic disk ............................................................................................................ 11
Optical disk unit ........................................................................................................ 11
MicroFiche /Film ...................................................................................................... 12
Smart Card ................................................................................................................ 12
Flash Card/Picture Card ............................................................................................ 12
Flash Drive ................................................................................................................ 13
1.6.
Other peripheral devices ................................................................................... 14
Input .......................................................................................................................... 14
Output ....................................................................................................................... 18
2. Module Two - Software ............................................................................................ 26
2.1.
Definition of software ....................................................................................... 26
2.2.
System Software ............................................................................................... 26
Operating systems ..................................................................................................... 26
Utilities...................................................................................................................... 27
2.3.
Application software ......................................................................................... 27
Productivity tools/business ....................................................................................... 27
Graphic design/multimedia ....................................................................................... 28
Education/personal/home .......................................................................................... 29
Communication ......................................................................................................... 29
Programming languages/program development software ........................................ 29
3. Module Three - Data and Information ...................................................................... 30
3.1.
Definitions of data and information .................................................................. 30
Data ........................................................................................................................... 30
Information ............................................................................................................... 30
3.2.
Desired characteristics of information .............................................................. 30

1.1.4.

1.1.3.

3.3.
Information systems .......................................................................................... 30
Information requirements and information systems used in the functional units of an
enterprise ................................................................................................................... 32
4. Module 4 Telecommunication and Computer Networks ....................................... 34
4.1.
Definition of networks ...................................................................................... 34
4.2.
Uses of networks/Role in business ................................................................... 34
Intranet ...................................................................................................................... 35
Extranet ..................................................................................................................... 35
Internet ...................................................................................................................... 36
4.3.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Networks .................................................... 37
4.4.
Network classifications ..................................................................................... 37
4.5.
Network Topologies.......................................................................................... 39
Bus ............................................................................................................................ 39
Ring ........................................................................................................................... 40
Star ............................................................................................................................ 41
4.6.
Network components ........................................................................................ 41
4.7.
Software: Network Operating Systems ............................................................. 44
4.8.
Transmission Media: wireless, wired ............................................................... 45
Wired Transmission Media (Physical /Guided) ........................................................ 45
Wireless Transmission Media (Unguided) ............................................................... 48
5. Module 5 Network Security ................................................................................... 50
5.1.
Define Computer security ................................................................................. 50
5.2.
What is a computer security risk? ..................................................................... 50
5.3.
Categories of risk and their effects ................................................................... 50
5.4.
Risk Management Solutions ............................................................................. 59
Backup is the key the ultimate safeguard .............................................................. 62
6. Module 6 Database Management Systems ............................................................ 63
6.1.
Traditional/File Processing Approach versus Database Approach ................... 63
6.2.
What is a Database? .......................................................................................... 64
6.3.
What is a DataBase Management System (DBMS)? ........................................ 65
6.4.
Examples of DBMSs ....................................................................................... 65
6.5.
Common examples of databases in society ...................................................... 65
6.6.
Sample Payroll Database Structure (Single example) ...................................... 66
6.7.
The languages used in database systems (Data definition and Data
manipulation) ................................................................................................................ 67
6.8.
Functions/features common to most DBMSs .................................................. 68
6.9.
Database Administration................................................................................... 69
6.10.
Types of databases/Database models ............................................................ 70
Hierarchical Model ................................................................................................... 71
Network Model ......................................................................................................... 73
Relational .................................................................................................................. 75
Object-Oriented......................................................................................................... 76
Multidimensional ...................................................................................................... 82
6.11.
The advantages of databases ......................................................................... 83
6.12.
The disadvantages of databases .................................................................... 83
6.13.
Data Warehousing......................................................................................... 84

1.1.4.

1.1.3.

7.

Module 7 Information Technology in the business office ..................................... 92


7.1.
Definition and purpose of office automation .................................................... 92
7.2.
Features of office automation ........................................................................... 92
Facsimile ................................................................................................................... 92
Voice mail ................................................................................................................. 92
Voice messaging ....................................................................................................... 92
Telemarketing ........................................................................................................... 93
Teleconferencing....................................................................................................... 93
Telecommuting ......................................................................................................... 93
Electronic fund transfer............................................................................................. 93
E-commerce .............................................................................................................. 93
Electronic mail .......................................................................................................... 94
Internet ...................................................................................................................... 94
7.3.
Application of computers in various fields ....................................................... 96

1.1.4.

1.1.3.

1. Module 1 Introduction to computers and information


technology
1.1.

Definition of Information Technology

Information Technology (IT) entails all aspects of managing and processing information. IT
includes any and all hardware, software, and data used to create, store, process, and communicate
information electronically as well as services that are utilized to maintain operations of resources.

Purpose of Information Technology


There are many purposes of IT. IT is used:
To improve operations of any organization/individual by utilizing technology as the
underling tool to improve the processing and dissemination of information.
in helping organizations achieve profitable results and keep competitive forces in check.
in optimizing effectiveness and efficiency of processes within the industry it is used,
whether education, business, science etc.
to solve problems .

Functions of Information Technology


1. Provide supporting information to assist managers in making strategic decisions
2. Provide effective communication
3. Allows the effective Management of Information capturing, generation, storage,
retrieval and transmission of information

Benefits of Information Technology


1. Speed: The processing of transactions is carried out at high speeds. The ability of
computers to perform information processing in fractions of a second primarily facilitates
high processing speed. For example computers are able to perform complex
mathematical calculation within milliseconds.
2. Consistency: Once a computer has been given the correct instructions to execute a
specific command, that command will be executed consistently without variation each
time. For example the addition of the two numbers one (1) and five (5) will result in the
answer six (6) each time the addition is carried out.
3. Storage: A computer can transfer data quickly from storage to memory process it and
then store it again for future use.
4. Reliability: Computer systems provide reliability by ensuring consistency, speed and
precision in the execution of tasks. Additionally, computers can carry out human related
tasks with greater efficiency and minimized error.

5. Communications: Most Computers to day can communicate with other computers


often wirelessly.

1.1.4.

1.1.3.

Application of Information Technology

1.2.

Tourism Industry
Education
Edutainment
Entertainment
Business
Science
Architecture
Personal computing etc.

Definition of computer system

What is a computer?
A computer is an electronic (no moving parts) device that can accept instructions and
input data and can manipulate that data to produce meaningful output.
The functions of a computer are therefore:
Input
Process
Storage
Output
What is a computer system?
A contemporary computer system consists of a central processing unit (CPU), primary storage,
secondary storage, input devices, output devices, and communications devices.
2. System Unit: A case that contains the electronic "brain" of the computer and the main
computational components of the computer that is used to process data.
3. Storage Devices: Stores and hold data, instructions & information for future use.
4. Input devices: computer hardware that allows a user to enter data and instructions.
5. Output devices: computer hardware that allows a user to receive information.
6. Communications devices: hardware components that enables a computer to send &
receive data, instructions & information to or from one or more computers.

1.1.4.

1.1.3.

1.3.

Functions of computer systems

Computers are used to speed up the work/functions carried out in a business. The vast
number of transactions that exist today could not possibly be processed at the desired
speed and as accurately as possible. Computers also allow for easier retrieval of files, and
saves on physical storage space. Computers reduce the amount of paperwork and remove
boring, repetitive tasks. Computers also allow persons in different locations to effectively
communicate with each other. Computer systems provide supporting information to assist
managers in making strategic decisions. Computer systems allow the effective Management
of Information capturing, generation, storage, retrieval and transmission of information.

1.4.

Components of computer systems

Memory (RAM & ROM, Cache)


Primary - also called IAS (immediate access storage), main storage, main
memory.
To hold data and instructions after input until needed. Hold
info awaiting output. Fast data instantly accessible. Close
proximity to the processor. Data must be transferred here
before it can be processed. Expensive - contained in a semiconductor chip. Part of O/S remains resident in memory.
Instructions awaiting to be obeyed, Instructions currently being obeyed
Data awaiting processing
Data currently being processed, Data awaiting output.
Made up of silicon and galium (semiconductors) on the motherboard. The
motherboard is the main circuit board, on it are mounted the microprocessor,

1.1.4.

1.1.3.

memory chips, slots for adding other circuit boards.


RAM - random access memory - another name for main storage. Arranged like series of
boxes, numbered from 0, so know location. Once data placed in each box it remains until
replaced by more. Each location has a 0 or 1. Volatile - info lost if power switched off.
There are different types of RAM eg. DRAM (dynamic RAM needs to be reenergized
constantly). SRAM (static RAM), SIMM, DIMM (dual inline memory module pins are
on opposite side of circuit board). SDRAM synchronous because synchronized to
system clock).
ROM - read only memory. Permanently written during manufacture. Non-volatile - info
kept even if power switched off. Firmware - software instructions held in ROM (contents
hard wired into device). Controls the function of the machine. ROM extends
computer instruction set, O/S, control S/W for peripherals.
CMOS Complementary Metal-Oxide semiconductor. A chip that holds computer
settings/configuration. Eg. Date, start up info, keyboard. A battery is used to keep the
information.
PROM - programmable read only memory. able to have data and programs written in
them after manufacture, but once written become permanently fixed. Used to provide
permanent instruction capability to microprocessor on functions to perform each time it is
used. Does not lose data when power turned off.
EPROM - erasable PROM - PROMS which may be erased by a special process (e.g. thru
exposure to ultra violet light) and written again as a new PROM.
EAPROM - electrically alterable ROM - a variant of EPROM.
RAM disk - RAM used as if it were hard disk. (e.g. palm top, data bank). Also called
silicon disks. Advantage is fast performance.
Cache a special high speed memory that operates at the speed of the processor. It holds
data or instructions that were recently used in anticipation that it will be required in the
near future.

1.1.4.

1.1.3.

Central Processing Unit (CPU) parts and their functions vb


The system unit houses the electronic components of the computer that are used to
process the data. The CPU is a chip. A chip is a small piece of semiconducting material usually no larger than a square on which one or
more integrated circuits are placed. An integrated circuit is a
microscopic pathway capable of carrying electrical current. Each IC
can contain millions of elements such as transistors which act as
electronic switches or gates that open or close the circuit for electronic
signals. The motherboard contains many types of chips, one of which is the CPU.
The CPU is where the processing of the information takes place. It is the brain of the
computer system. It carries out the basic instructions that operate the computer. It
consists of electronic components called chips. It is the fastest of all the devices. Some
large computers have more than 1 CPU. The CPU has 3 parts that are integrated by
wiring (bus). The 3 parts are control unit, arithmetic and logic unit (ALU) and primary
memory. Each storage location has an address so that the computer knows where to find
it. The CPU is located on the motherboard or system board.

Control Unit
Arithmetic
and Logic
Unit
Memory

A.L.U.
Composed of miniature solid state components. This is where calculations are done (add,
subtract etc.). It is also where decisions are made based on comparisons. Uses logic
operators eg >, <, =, AND, OR etc. The ALU has a space called accumulator where data
items can be stored during processing. (same concept as scrap paper).
Control Unit
Also composed of miniature solid state components.
Controls order in which program instructions are carried out. Determines priority of services.
Also responsible for timing of all the operations done in CPU. Coordination and control of all
hardware operations. It contains the system clock to synchronize or control timing.
Instructions are sent here, interpreted then executed by sending command signals to the
appropriate hardware. (Tells computer what to do).
Instructions in a form which can be used directly by control unit are called machine instructions,
and programs written in the form of machine instructions are written in machine language.

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1.1.3.

The CU is sometimes referred to as Traffic cop. It interprets instructions issued by a program then
initiates the appropriate action to carry out the instruction.

1.5.

Storage

Units of storage
bit - 0 or 1 (binary digit)
byte - 8 bits, one character. by combination of bits represented by
binary codes (e.g. ASCII codes). 32 bit machine - instructions take
up 32 bits, i.e. 4 bytes.
nibble - 1/2 byte
KB - Kilobyte 1024 bytes (call it 1000) 210=1024
MB - megabyte 1 million bytes (1000KB) 220 = 1048576
GB - gigabyte billion bytes (1000 MB) 230 bytes
TB terabyte trillion bytes (1000 GB) 240
Storage devices
Secondary - Also called auxiliary, backing storage, mass storage. Supplements
main/primary storage. For mass storage of programs and files (those not currently
being operated on but which will be transferred to the main storage when
required. Less expensive compared to primary storage.
NB. Data in secondary storage cannot be directly addressed by CPU, so must be
transferred to main memory before they can be processed by CPU. They are
divided into online and offline storage.
Magnetic tape unit
A serial access device. Data records stored from start to end.
Storage locations cannot be addressed. Read in order stored on
medium.
Aluminium strip - load point marker marks beginning of the
tape for recording. Plastic base coated with metal oxide film.
Header label is at start of tape - has filename etc. To record data
you magnetise various spots on the tape (each spot is a bit).
Tapes has variable size, length. Tape divided into tracks (channels) 7-9 tracks. A
char is recorded across the tracks in a row called a frame.
Data is read one block at a time. A block is a group of records treated as a single
unit during transfer of data.
Density = bpi (bytes/chars per inch). Between 200-6250 bpi (800-1600 most
common). About 40 million chars per reel.
Tape is known as offline storage.
Can only write to tape if have "write-permit" ring attached.
1/2" wide, 2400ft long typically.
cassette tape - similar to audio cassette - 1 track. 1/8"

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cassette - 280 ft long, 340 KB


cartridge tape - (1/4", 1/2", 8mm). 8mm store up to 10GB
Quarter inch cartridge 40MB-5GB
digital audio tape (DAT). 4mm DAT store up to 2-49GB.
Magnetic disk
A Direct Access Storage Device (DASD). Have addressable storage locations. So
if know address can go straight to it. Records can be retrieved without having to
process other records. Coated with magnetic material (e.g. ferrous oxide). Data
recorded as magnetized spots on tracks which run as concentric circles. A track is
a narrow recording band that forms a full circle on the surface of the disk.
Floppy disk/Diskette
Made of thin circular flexible plastic disk with a magnetic
coating enclosed in a square shaped plastic shell. Drive A
8" original - now less common
5 1/4" - 360KB -DD, 1.2MB - HD
3 1/2" - 720KB - DD, 1.44MB - HD
Hard disk
Enclosed in air tight case
Made of several inflexible circular disks called platters. It is made
of aluminium, glass or ceramic and is coated with magnetic
material. The first partition is always drive C.
fixed disk - disks not removable from disk drive
fixed head disk - fixed disk which has one read/write head per track
exchangeable disk - disk may be removed from the disk unit. (A disk pack is a set
of exchangeable disks on one spindle).
winchester disk - fixed disk unit is sealed and has robust mechanical features.
Intended for use in adverse environments (e.g. dusty, humid).
Zip disk/drive
A higher capacity floppy disk that can store the equivalent of about 70 standard
floppy disks. It was developed by Iomega Corporation. It stores about 250MB.
SuperDisk drive
Developed by Imation and holds 120MB.
High-Capacity FD (HiFD)
Developed by Sony Electronics and holds 200MB.
Optical disk unit
Drive D or E. Made up of a thin metal polymer compound. Data recorded by laser
burns. Read by another laser of lower intensity detecting the pattern of light

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reflected from beam by surface of disk.


More storage capacity than magnetic disks and less susceptible to damage.
Access to data slower than magnetic. Used for video, audio.
CDs store items using microscopic pits (indentation=0) and
land (flat areas =1) in a single spiral track. A high powered
laser beam creates the pits and a lower powered laser reads
items by reflecting light through the disk. The reflected light
is converted into a series of bits that the computer can
process. The speed of the drive measured as multiple of X where X is the speed of
the original CD-ROM eg. 40X, 75X. X = 150KB per second.
CD-ROM (compact disc - read only memory) - 4 1/2" 700MB/80 min. Kept in
Jewel Box.
CD-R (recordable can record to it only once), therefore it is a WORM.
CD-RW (rewritable)
DVD-ROM (Digital video/versatile disk read only memory). An advancement
on CD-ROM technology and can store greater amounts of data e.g. an entire
move (4.7GB 17GB). The pits are placed closer together or there are two layers
of pits or can be double sided.
DVD-R
DVD-RAM can erase and record multiple times
WORM (write once, read many)
EO (erasable optical) - magnetic molecules in disk surface aligned when heated
by a laser beam.
PhotoCD or PictureCD holds pictures
MicroFiche /Film
COM recorder used. COM - computer output on microfilm. Page of print may be
photographically reduced and produced on reels of film. Alternatively the print
may be output on small sheets of film called microfiche. Used to reduce filing
space for paper. Used in libraries etc. For high volume of docs.
Typical microfiche measuring 105mm x 148mm will hold 98 pages reduced in
size about 24 times. Film - 16mm roll. 100-215 foot. COM recorder speed 10000
to 60000 lines per minute. Easily distributed, lightweight and compact.
Microfiche can be duplicated up to 1000 copies per hour.
Smart Card
Similar in size to a credit card, stores data on a thin microprocessor embedded in
the card. Electronic money/Digital cash.
Flash Card/Picture Card
Stores pictures from 2MB to 256MB.

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12

Flash Drive
A flash drive is a small removable data storage device that uses flash memory and
a USB connector. Flash drives are also known as keydrive keychain drive, micro
hard drive, pen drive, pocket drive, thumb drive, jump drive, USB flash drive,
USB flash memory drive, USB key, USB memory key, USB stick, Piripicho
(primarily in Spanish), and Kikinou (primarily in French)

1.6.
Flash drive

1.1.4.

1.1.3.

13

Other peripheral devices


Input
Input is data or instructions that you enter into the memory of the computer. Once input is
in memory, the CPU can access it and process the input into output. Input devices are
used to load input data or programs or commands and user responses into a computer.
Most computers have several input devices.
Keyboard

The most common. User enters info by typing/pressing the appropriate keys. Most
desktops have 101 to 105 keys, while laptops etc have fewer keys.Data entered
into computer in this way is either sent directly to processor or first stored (for
processing in future) on a magnetic tape in a key-to-tape system or on a disk in a
key-to-disk system.
Types of keyboards
alphanumeric - like in lab, letters, numbers, special keys (func, ctrl, alt
etc.)
QWERTY due to the layout of the letter keys
DVORAK has an alternative layout designed to improve typing
speed. The most frequently used keys are placed in the middle (not very
widely used)
Enhanced have 12 function keys along the top, 2 CTRL keys, 2 ALT
keys and a set of arrow and additional keys.
special func - e.g. in a fast food restaurant.
Wireless transmit data via infrared light waves
Ergonomic designed to reduce repetitive strain injuries
Mouse

A pointing device allows you to control a pointer on the screen. This allows you
to move or select items on a screen.
The mouse is the most common point and draw device (joystick, trackball). Used
in computer systems with graphical user interfaces (GUI) alongside keyboard.
Mechanical mouse the ball is at the bottom
Optical mouse has no moving parts inside, it emits and senses light to
detect movement. No need for a mouse pad.
Cordless/wireless uses infrared or radio waves
Trackerball - a variation of mouse, ball is on top side so mouse stays
stationery
Touchpad/track pad an area on a laptop where the finger is used. It is
sensitive to pressure and motion.

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14

Joystick

A vertical lever (like gear stick in a car) mounted on a base. Moves graphics
cursor/pointer in direction stick is pushed. Commonly used for video games. Has
buttons called triggers to activate certain events.
Trackpoint/Pointing stick

Looks like a miniature joystick. Operated with tip of finger. Used for same
purpose as traditional mouse. (looks like a pencil eraser)
Touch screen

This is a monitor that has a touch sensitive panel. You interact by touching the screen
with your finger. Due to the arm movement they are not used to enter large amounts of
data. These are often used in ATMs, kiosks, hotels, stores, airports.
Pads and Tablets

These are able to recognise neat handwriting by means of a sensitive pad on


which the source doc can be filled in by hand using ball point pen or pencil.
Digitizer Tablet and Pen

Consists of a flat, rectangular plastic board used to input drawings. Tablet has flat surface
on which you can draw using a special pen. Pressure on surface is detected. Popular for
people who draw maps (draughtsmen, architects etc.). Some people also use a puck
which looks like a mouse but allows you to look through it to the tablet.
Scanners, Digitizers/Graphics Tablet

A light sensitive device that converts images into digital data that the computer can
understand and represent on the screen.
Bar code readers

Bar codes readable by light pen, light wand, laser scanner. Bar codes are read
optically or magnetically.

Light Pens, Magnetic Pens, Stylus

These resemble pens. More bulky hand held alternatives are sometimes called wands
(used in point of sale systems). They can read specially coded data in form of either
optical marks/chars, or magnetic codes, which have been previously recorded on strips of
suitable material. A common version is called the bar code reader.
Light pens can emit or detect light. Some require a special monitor while others work on
the standard monitor.

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1.1.3.

15

The pen, also called a stylus looks like a ball point pen but uses an electronic head instead
of ink. Pen computers use handwriting recognition software that translates the letters and
symbols used in handwriting into character data that the computer can use.
Key-Tape, Key-Disk

Data entered, most errors filtered out by an edit program then stored on disk/tape.
Verification then done by another operator, who keys in the data a second time. This is
compared with data already stored and differences can be examined and corrected.
Advantage is that reduces load on main computer (input is handled offline).

Document Readers

To enable data to be read directly from source documents (forms). Falls into 2 main
categories a) mark readers b) card readers.
Mark Readers

Mark sensing
(Old method) - Detect pencil marks by using electrical contacts
which brushed the paper surface. Pencil mark between the contacts
conduct electricity therefore detected. (Marks multiple choice
exams e.g. CXC)
Medium - mark sense sheets.
Optical Mark Recognition (OMR)
(New method) - Direct thin light beams onto paper which reflect or
absorb depending on pencil mark.
Character Readers

Optical Character Readers (OCR)


Used extensively in connection with billing, e.g. prepare bill, payment returned with bill,
document is evidence of payment. (E.g. of turnaround technique).
No typing required. Read typed data. Letters recognised based on shape of letters.
Magnetic Ink Character Readers (MICR)
Documents passed thru strong magnetic field causing the iron oxide in the ink encoded
chars to be magnetised. Doc then passed under read head when a current flows.
These chars appear on most cheques. Quality of print has to be very high.

Badge Readers

These read data from small rectangular plastic cards. This is done in several ways:- a)
magnetized marks a short stripe or magnetic tape sealed in to the cards surface. Eg.
Credit cards, ATM cards. Used to open doors when an employee swipes his id badge. B)
optical marks, c) punched holes.

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1.1.3.

16

Smart Card Readers

Normally a badge holds static data, however some types of badge readers may also
change the data held on badges. Such a badge or smart card may be used as a form of
electronic money. As the customer purchases an item, the reader may deduct units from
the card. Eg. Phone cards, satellite disk/decoder cards.
Digital camera

Allows you to take pictures and store the photographed images digitally instead of
traditional film. You then download or transfer a copy of the picture to your computer. A
digital camera is therefore known as a data collection device instead of an input device.
Microphone - Voice/Speech Recognition (Voice Data Entry)

An eg of a biometric device. Still in early stage of development. Need microphone,


speakers, software. Needs to be trained to recognise speech pattern of user. A good
speech recognition system never stops learning new words. Spoken word translated to
digital form. Mostly used by doctors, lawyers, journalists, physically disabled. Used
for security and access control.
Biometric input devices

These devices, such as retinal scanner, fingerprint scanner read bodily features. They
are mostly used in high security areas such as airports and embassies.

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1.1.3.

17

Output
An output device gives information to a user. Output can either be softcopy or hardcopy.
Video/Visual Display Unit (VDU)/ Monitor

The VDU is also called screen, monitor.


Screens have a _ or [] call cursor which indicates where the next character
will be entered.
You can adjust brightness.
A typical screen is 24 lines by 80 chars per line.
Produces soft copy because it exists electronically and is displayed for a
temporary period of time.
Input - Output
It is an Input - Output device.
Types of monitors
CRT (cathode ray tube) similar to a tv screen. The screen is coated with
tiny dots of phosphor material that glows when it is electrically charged.
Flat panel display consumes less power than CRT. Lightweight
Liquid crystal display (LCD) commonly on laptops, handheld,
watches, calculators. It has special molecules deposited between two
sheets of material. When an electronic current passes through them, the
molecules twist, causing some light waves to be blocked and allowing
others to pass thru, which creates the image.
Gas plasma instead of liquid crystal there is a layer of gas. When
current is applied, the gas glows.
Resolution - Pixels

The resolution or sharpness/clarity is measured in pixels (picture elements).


[similar to dot matrix]
A pixel is a dot that is on or off with attributes of color and intensity.
Resolution can be either (typically) :*
high - 640 x 400 pixels (across then down) 1280x1024
*
medium - 640 x 200
*
low - 320 x 200
Lower resolutions show less detail.
High resolutions needed in graphics software such as CAD, Coreldraw etc.
Dot pitch the vertical distance between each pixel.
Refresh rate speed at which image is redrawn on the screen (if slow then will
flicker and give headaches).

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1.1.3.

18

Interlacing odd number lines drawn first in one pass, then even numbered lines
drawn. It is better when non-interlaced as less flicker.
Graphics - VGA, EGA, SVGA

The monitor rating is set by a graphics adaptor rating. Graphics adaptor put into
an expansion slot and has a monitor port. Graphics adaptor is a device responsible
for converting digital signals sent by computer to monitor to analog form which is
required by monitor to display info. Monitor cable is plugged into this adaptor at
back of computer in order to link it with computers processor.
VGA - video graphics array - Supports 320 x 200 pixels in 256 colors OR 640 x
480 pixels in 16 colors. In straight text mode, characters are generated in 9 x 16
pixel grids. But in graphics mode can set it to any size.

EGA - enhanced graphics adaptor - This low grade adaptor supports


16 colors at a time, chosen from 64 and a resolution of 640 x 350
pixels. Chars are generated in 8 x 14 pixel grids.
XGA extended graphics array 1024x768 with 256 colors OR
640x480 with 65,536 colors.
CGA - color graphics adaptor - Original adaptor provided and is now
obsolete. Supported 4 colors at a time chosen from 16. Resolution of
640 x 200 pixels. Chars generated in 8 x 8 pixel grids.
MDA monochrome graphics adapter 720x350 1 color.
SVGA - Super VGA - 1024 x 768 pixels (800x600 to 1280x1024), 16
million colors. Chars in 12x30 pixel grid.
Graphics adaptors have their own primary storage called Video RAM
(VRAM) which is used to store info while it is being prepared for
display. Size of VRAM basically determines the number of colors,
resolution, speed.

Colour vs Monochrome

Monochrome - a single color (white,green,amber/orange) and black


Color - At back of computer are a number of connectors and switches. One of
these connectors provides signals for using a color monitor using RGB
(red,green,blue) color signals. Another connector provides the signal for operating
a monochrome monitor.
Advantages of Monitors

Faster than a printer, Less noisy than printer, Paper not wasted
Allow you to correct/edit data before it is saved on computer.
Disadvantages of Monitors

Eye strain, No permanent hardcopy (gives temporary/soft copy)

1.1.4.

1.1.3.

19

Printers

The printed page is the most common type of computer output (despite the desire
for a paperless office). Printed copy = hard copy.
Paperless - use microfiche and film, send email instead of memo.
Questions to ask when buying a printer.
Price, Speed, color, cost to print, multiple copies, graphics, photographic quality,
types of paper, size of paper, amt of paper in tray, compatible with existing, ink
and paper cost, reliability, envelopes and transparencies, budget, what will I be
printing. How much am I printing now and in 2 yrs. Availability of ink cartridge,
noise factor
Impact vs Non-Impact

Printers grouped in 2 functional categories:a) Impact - This is the most widely used. The print mechanism
strikes the paper thru an ink ribbon which makes char impression
on the page.
Impact printers use solid font mechanisms or dot matrix
mechanisms.
b) Non-impact - Uses thermal (heat), photographic (xerographic),
electrostatic, light to print. Does not require physical contact with
the paper and generally results in very high speeds. These are
quieter. Tend to be more expensive. Do not have multiple copy
facilities.
Quality

Printers are also classified by their print quality.


Letter quality
Near letter quality (NLQ)
Draft
Draft is fastest speed.
Line vs Page vs Character

A character printer prints on character at a time. (80-200 chars per


sec).
Dot matrix - impact
Daisy wheel - impact
Thermal - non impact
Ink jet - non impact

1.1.4.

1.1.3.

20

A line printer prints one line at a time. (up to 3000 lines per minute
- lpm)
Typically used with mainframes and use 11x17 paper
(speedigreen)
Drum - impact
Chain, train - impact
Band - impact
A page printer prints one page at a time. (up to 200 pages per min).
All page printers are non impact.
Laser - non impact
Dot Matrix Printer

These are the most popular and widely used low speed printers in
use today. Relatively inexpensive. Limited by speed, noise,
quality.
Wide range of character sets.
Prints a pattern of dots in shape of desired char.
Print head is a matrix of steel pins. The higher the number of pins
the better the quality print.
18 pin.
24 pin heads produce NLQ. (slower because each letter printed
twice).
80-300 chars per sec in draft mode.
50-100 chars per sec in NLQ.
** The letter X.
**
.*.*.
..*..
.*.*.
**
**
5x7 dot matrix.
Color ribbons are available. Colors cannot be blended for new
colors.
Wire matrix

Similar to dot matrix.


Chars formed by the selection of a series of small wires formed in
a 5 x 7 matrix. By selecting certain wires and pressing them
against an inked fabric ribbon different chars can be formed.

1.1.4.

1.1.3.

21

500-1000 lines per minute.


Daisy Wheel

No longer very common. High quality print. Impact. Line printer.


Slow speed (15-50cps). Noisy. Relatively expensive. Cannot
produce graphics only what on tip of spokes.
Wheel rotated to print each char. The appropriate spoke is struck
against an inked ribbon.
Some can print left to right on one line and right to left on next line
so printing is faster.

Drum, Chain, Band Printers

These are Line printers.


High speed. Used mainly for mainframes.
The drums, chains, or bands rotate at constant speed and are struck by
hammers as the required chars pass the print positions. Up to 7 copies can
be done at a time using paper with carbon.
Chain and Train printers - Use a continuous chain (like bicycle chain) with
5 sections and 48 chars per sec. Chain rotates behind a continuous form
paper. In front of page is an ink ribbon and a set of 32 magnetically
activated hammers. As the char to be printed comes to the print position
the hammer is activated, driving paper against ribbon and char on the
chain.
Train - 2000 lines per min.

Drum revolves
Band made of steel and can be exchanged to provide variety of char sets.

1.1.4.

1.1.3.

22

Bar printer

Operates similar to chain. String of bars oscillate back and forth at high
speed in front of paper. Char printed when it comes to the correct print
position. 200-600 lines per min.
Laser

Tend to be most expensive non impact. Very high quality. Non impact.
Page printer. 146 pages per minute. 7890-20000 line per min. 600-1200
dpi
Uses electrostatic or optical methods. Uses toner powder (dried ink) which
sticks to charged parts (on drum) traced by laser beam. (Rotating mirror
deflects the laser beam across the surface of the drum). Paper pressed
against drum. Images permanently fused to the paper using a heating unit.
Image of whole page represented by series of minute dots, dots are so
close together that print looks like a shaped char (so high quality).
Can print combination of text and diagrams so used with word processors,
desktop publishing.
Cannot print on continuous paper.
Photocopiers and lasers are similar except that
Data source for laser is digital then translated to pattern to
be traced
Data source for photocopier is optical (analog) which may
be translated to digital
If want n copies it scans images n times. Typically image is
not stored.
Thermal

A character printer. Non impact. Low speed (160 cps). Uses heated print
head. Quiet. Inexpensive.
Electrically heated pins are pushed against heat-sensitive paper
Low print quality and images fade over time.
Ink Jet

Developed due to search for low-cost quality printing. It is non-impact.


Page printer. Quieter. Low speed (540 chars per sec - draft, 180 chars per
sec - letter quality).
Or measured in ppm pages per minute. Eg. 1-12ppm.
It uses a matrix of ink dots sprayed on paper to form a character.
It uses a matrix of ink dots sprayed on paper to form a character from 50
nozzles. It uses small ink drops so more drops are needed to form a
character so the resolution of the character is greater than a dot matrix.
(300-600 dpi - dots per inch).
Able to change the size and style of type/font almost instantaneously.
Some models have color. Cartridges exist with different colors. Colors can
be blended. Does not use continuous paper.

1.1.4.

1.1.3.

23

Plotters

Also called graph plotter.


A plotter is a device that uses pens moving in various directions to
produce text and graphics on paper. It differs from a printer in that it can
produce continuous lines. Printers generate lines by printing a series of
closely spaced dots.
Electrostatic plotters use a row of charged wires (styli) to draw
electrostatic patterns on specially coated paper and then fuses toner to the
pattern.
These are used in graphics, earthquake detection, lie detectors, heart
monitors, for graphs, maps, CAD - computer aided design.
Types:a) Flat bed - most common. Pen moves up (to not draw), down (to draw),
across, side to side. Paper does not move.
b) Drum - pen moves up, down, across. Paper moves side to side using
rollers.

Drum

Flatbed

Methods of receiving signals


a) Digital plotter - receives digital input which specifies the position to
which pen should move.
b) Incremental plotter - receives input which specifies changes in position
based on current position. Eg. Move 2 mm left.
Many plotters have multiple pens of different colors.
Some plotters use electrostatic printing rather than pen and ink.

1.1.4.

1.1.3.

24

Voice/Audio Output

Uses speakers/headset
Examples:1. Book reading machine for blind (Text to speech translators). Machine
uses an OCR type scan on each page of book.
2. Over Telephone - If you want so and so press 1. Used in account
queries. Pre-recorded speech stored in EPROM (erasable programmable
ROM) chips, each word has a specific address, so specify combination of
addresses to get a sentence. (Interactive Voice Response Systems)
3. Used in games
4. Used in cars - Petrol is low message.
5. Printers - Printing started.
Data Projectors

Takes the image on screen and projects it onto a larger screen.

1.1.4.

1.1.3.

25

2. Module Two - Software


2.1.

Definition of software

Software - programs/instructions which drive the hardware. Collection of machine


interpretable instructions that define the activities related to performing a specific task by
computer. (i.e. tell computer what to do).

2.2.

System Software

System software consists of the programs that control or maintain the operations of
the computer and its devices.
Operating systems
An operating system (O/S), affects the control and performance of a computer
system. Controls hardware. Tells computer what to do and how to do it. Provides
the user interface between user and computer hardware (h/w). The operating
system is a set of programs residing in main memory (RAM) which directs all
computer operations.
Functions of an operating system
Control/Co-ordinate/configure the various devices. (i.e. To Make sure that fast
devices do not have to wait for slow ones and that the computer as a whole
works efficiently).
Control the allocation and utilisation of shared resources (e.g. CPU time,
storage space, I/O devices).
Start up or boot up the computer. (IPL initial program load or booting)
Protect the hardware and software from improper use. Maintain system
integrity.
Deal with errors. (e.g. hardware failures, deadlocks, etc.)
Keep records/statistics of programs run - date, time, cost, use of resources etc.
(Monitor performance)
Send and receive messages
Provide an interface between the hardware and the user that is more convenient
than that presented by the bare machine.
Provide for the management, scheduling and interaction of tasks. (Manage
programs), schedule jobs)
Administer security
Control a network
Establish an internet connection
Provide file management and other utilities

1.1.4.

1.1.3.

26

Utilities
These programs provide a useful service to the user by providing facilities for performing common
tasks. Examples are:-

File viewer Displays the contents of a file. E.g. Quickview in


Windows.
File compression Reduces the size of a file usually to a ZIP
extension. E.g. PKZIP, WinZip.
Diagnostic utility Compiles technical information about your
computer hardware and reports physical and logical problems. Physical
scratch on disk, Logical corrupted file. E.g. Scandisk, Norton disk
doctor.
Defragmenter Reorganizes files and unused space on a disk so that
data can be accessed quickly and programs run faster. E.g. defrag in
Windows
Backup Copies selected files to another disk/tape. It alerts you if an
additional disk is needed. The opposite RESTORE utility should also
exist. E.g. MSBACKUP, NovaBACKUP
Anti-virus Prevents, detects, removes viruses from a computer
system. E.g. Norton Anti-virus, Mcaffee, Trend Micro PC-cillin.
Screen saver Causes the screen to display an image or blank screen if
no keyboard or mouse activity occurs for a specified period of time.
This prevented ghosting in the past. Ghosting is where images are
permanently etched in the screen. You can also put a password on the
screen saver to prevent access.

2.3.

Application software

Application software (A/S) are defined to fulfil a specific set of activities.


E.g. Accounting, word processing, banking
Productivity tools/business

Word-processing

Allow easy creation, edit, correction, printing of documents. Features


include:- Bold, underline, margins, spell check, print, page number,
justify, footnotes, table of contents, font size and type, mail merge, save.
E.g. Word, WordPerfect
Spreadsheets

Designed to manipulate numeric data in a tabular form.

1.1.4.

1.1.3.

27

Electronic equivalent to accountants ledger - a large piece of paper


divided into columns and rows into a grid of cells. User can enter
numbers, formulas, text in each cell.
Each cell referred to by its co-ordinates, e.g. D10.
You can copy formulas.
Can do What If analysis, e.g. If increase sales by 10%, just
type 10 & automatically recalcs.
Can change data to be represented graphically (pie, bar, line
etc.)
E.g. Lotus, Excel, Quattro Pro
Database Management

Information is vital to business. A database is a collection of organized of


information stored in a way that makes it easy to find and present.
Database management software allows you to create and maintain a
database.
Field, fieldtype, keys, fieldsize.
Can sort, query.
E.g. Foxpro, Oracle, Dbase
Desktop Publishing

To produce documents, newsletters, posters. Combine word processing


and graphics packages.
E.g. Page Maker, Microsoft Publisher
Integrated Packages

Collections of packages which have been designed to be used together.


E.g. Spreadsheet data might be easily fed into a database or displayed in a
diagrammatic form using a graphics package.
E.g. Microsoft Office, Lotus Smartsuite, Corel Wordperfect Suite.
Graphic design/multimedia

Graphics

Provide facilities that allow user to do various kinds of computer graphics.


Require a lot of main memory and usually special circuit board (graphics
card) and a high resolution screen.
Classified into:a) business graphics - generate charts and diagrams eg. Bar charts from
existing figures.
b) computer- aided design (CAD)
Used by graphics designers, architect, engineer to design things e.g.
Buildings, cars etc. Use light pen or mouse or digitiser pad. Have large
colour palette. Can rotate, flip (invert), colour, move, delete, resize
E.g. Corel Draw
1.1.4.

1.1.3.

28

Presentation graphics

This allows you to create a slide show. The slide show is a multimedia
presentation because it contains text, graphics, video and sound. (E.g
PowerPoint)
Multimedia

An application that combines text, sound, graphics, motion video and


animation. (e.g Windows Media Player).
Education/personal/home
Word processing
Encyclopedia Compton etc.
Internet for shopping, research, sending email
Games
Entertainment software

These software include games, software that allows you to listen to


music of watch movies. E.g. Windows Media Player, Chess, Monopoly,
Solitaire etc.
Communication
Communication software is any program that a) helps users establish a
connection to another computer or network or b) manage the transmission
of data, instructions, and information or c) provide an interface for users to
communicate with one another. Communication software allows users to
send messages and files from one location to another. E.g. Network
Operating Systems (NOS), Web Browsers (Internet Explorer, Netscape
Navigator), Outlook (Email), etc.
Programming languages/program development software
Used to create programs. People called programmers use programming
languages to tell the computer what to do. Hundreds of programming
languages or language variants exist today. Most were developed for
writing specific types of applications. However, many companies insist
on using the most common languages so they can take advantage of
programs written elsewhere and to ensure that their programs are
portable, which means that they will run on different computers. E.g.
foxpro, C, C++, Pascal, Visual Basic, COBOL etc.

1.1.4.

1.1.3.

29

3. Module Three - Data and Information


3.1.

Definitions of data and information

Input - operation of supplying data to a computer.


Output - operation of displaying/printing information that has been processed.
Data
- information which computers use. Means nothing e.g. 0, 1, 5, F, G. Can be
information to another person.
Information
- means something. The meaning is what makes it information. Used to make
decisions.

3.2.

3.3.

Desired characteristics of information


Accurate, clear, timely, complete yet concise
receiver has confidence in it
appropriate channel, given to right person, should not be excessive
cost effective
must have a purpose, relevant for the purpose (user related)

Information systems

An information system may include a computer program and all of the users or it may
refer to a single application including those data items, programs and hardware resources
devoted to it. Another way of saying it is, An information system is a set of hardware,
software, data, people, and procedures that works together to produce information They
are developed for different purposes, depending on the needs of the business.
Some general purpose information systems, called enterprise-wide systems, are used throughout an
enterprise... Enterprise Resource planning (ERP) provides applications to help manage and coordinate
ongoing activities. Customer relationship management (CRM) systems manage information about
customers. A content management system (CMS) organizes and allows access to various forms of
documents and files.

The types of information systems are:An office information system (OIS) enables employees to perform tasks using
computers and other electronic devices.

1.1.4.

1.1.3.

30

Management information system (MIS) (strategic level) - Outputs information that will
be used for decision making. Performs queries on data produced by data processing
systems. MIS generates accurate, timely, and organized information, so users can make
decisions, solve problems, and track progress.
Expert systems (strategic level) -. It is given rules to solve problems and uses these rules
to come up with solutions. E.g. playing chess, making medical diagnoses. (Also called
knowledge based system or Heuristic system or An artificially intelligent system).
This is a step further in AI technology. An expert system is a computer program that represents and
reasons with the knowledge of some specialist subject area with a view to solving problems or giving
advice. (e.g. doctor, lawyer, engineer, finance expert, stock broker). It stores the knowledge of human

experts and then imitates human reasoning and decision making.


This technology allows us to for example, broaden the scope for medical diagnosis by computer (no need
for doctor, or to help to doctor to make him more productive).

An example of a medical expert system is MYCIN, which was developed at Stanford


University, which makes judgments on the diagnosis of bacterial infection and proposes
courses of therapy with antibiotics. MYCIN operates as a consultant by interacting with a
doctor who knows the history of the patient.
Features of an expert system:

An organized base of knowledge that contains facts and rules


An interactive user interface to support diagnostic discussion with user. (e.g. able
to pose medical problems and get an initial diagnosis)
Holds details of status of current consultation. (so that consultation can be
continued at a later date from where you left off)
Inference engine - software which can use the knowledge and current status of
consultation to either formulate further questions for the user or to draw
conclusions and make recommendations.
Knowledge acquisition system- a facility to update the knowledge base (i.e. to
learn from experience).

Decision support system (DSS) (Tactical level) - Similar to management information


systems. They allow users to do queries and perform "What if' analysis. A DSS helps
users analyze data and make decisions.
Transaction processing system (TPS) (Operational level) (aka Data Processing System)
Captures and processes large amounts of data for routine (day-to-day) business
transactions such as payroll and inventory. It relieves the tedium of performing repetitive
tasks.

1.1.4.

1.1.3.

31

Information requirements and information systems used in the functional units of


an enterprise
The Special Information Requirements of an Enterprise-Sized Corporation
A large organization, or enterprise, requires special computing solutions because of its size and
geographical extent. Enterprise computing uses computers in networks or series of
interconnected networks to satisfy the information needs of an enterprise. The types of
information employees require depend on their level in the company. Executive management
needs information to make strategic decisions that center on a companys overall goals and
objectives. Middle management needs information to make tactical decisions that apply specific
programs and plans to meet stated objectives. Operational management needs information to
make an operational decision that involves day-to-day activities. Non-management employees
also need information to perform their jobs and make on-the-job decisions.

It is important to know the different levels of management in an organization and


be able to provide each with the level of information that they require.
The Information Systems used in the functional units of an enterprise
In an enterprise, the individual operating entities, called functional units, have specialized
requirements for their information systems. Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS)
manage one or more human resources functions. Accounting and financial systems manage
everyday transactions and help budget. Computer-aided design (CAD) assists engineers in
product design, and computer-aided engineering (CAE) tests product designs. Computeraided manufacturing (CAM) controls production equipment, and computer-integrated
manufacturing (CIM) integrates operations in the manufacturing process. A marketing
information system serves as a central repository for marketing tasks. Salesforce automation
(SFA) software equips salespeople with the tools they need. Distribution systems control
inventory and manage shipping. Customer interaction management (CIM) software manages
interactions with customers. The information technology (IT) department makes technology
decisions for an enterprise and maintains hardware and software applications.

More on the levels of management


Operations (day to day)
This level makes decisions using predetermined rules that have predictable outcomes
when implemented correctly. They make decisions that affect work scheduling, inventory
control, control of processes such as production. Decisions are repetitive/certain.
The information needed is repetitive, low level in nature. Dependent on information that
captures current performance. Need online, realtime information. E.g. total sales by
salesman for a particular day.
They use data processing or transaction processing systems process large amounts of
data for routine business transactions such as payroll. They relieve the tedium of
performing operational transactions. Require little decision making to set up.
Middle/Managerial/Tactical (Year to year)
Make short term planning and control decisions about how resources should be allocated
to best meet organization objectives. They experience very little certainty in their

1.1.4.

1.1.3.

32

decision making environment. Their decisions range from forecasting future resource
requirements to solving employee problems that threaten productivity. They require short
term to long term information. They need information on current performance against set
standards. There is a high need for historical information along with information that
allows prediction of future events and simulation of possible scenarios. E.g. total sales vs
budgeted sales for the quarter.
They use management information systems. The output is used to make decisions
Strategic (5-10 years)
These solve non-routine problems.
They look outwards from the organization to the future, making decisions that will guide
middle and operations management in the months and years ahead. They work in highly
uncertain decision making environments. They look at the broad picture (organization as
a whole). E.g. to develop a new product line, divest itself of unprofitable ventures. They
are dependent on information from external sources that supply news of market trends
and the strategy of competing corporations. They need general summarized information
rather than highly detailed raw data required by low level managers. Information may be
older and estimated.
They use decision support systems and knowledge based or expert systems. DSS similar
to MIS and allow querying and what if analysis (e.g. crystal reports). Expert systems
capture and use the knowledge of an expert for solving a particular problem experienced
by the organization. E.g. total sales vs sales of another company or other product.

1.1.4.

1.1.3.

33

4. Module 4 Telecommunication and Computer Networks


4.1.

Definition of networks

Network A collection of computers and devices connected together via communications devices
and transmission media, allowing computers to share resources. The purpose of a network is

that of routing, managing, and storing rapidly changing data.


Communications this describes a process in which one computer transfers data, instructions,
information to another computer. (also known as data communication/transmission). This is done
by means of a communication channel or medium.

Components required for successful communications

A sending device (sender or encoder) initiates an instruction to transmit data,

instructions or information

A communication channel path over which signals are sent (aka path, medium, line).
Signals can be in analog or digital form.
A communication device that receives the signals from the communication channel and
converts them to a form understood by the receiving device. It connects the sending device
to a communication channel. It also connects the communication channel to a receiving
device.
A receiving device (receiver or decoder) that accepts the data, instructions, information

4.2.

Uses of networks/Role in business

Facilitating communications - Sending e-mail, voice mail, fax (facsimile), doing research on
internet, chat rooms, instant messaging
Telecommuting, video conferencing, making a phone call

Transferring Funds (Electronic Fund Transfer, EFT) - Inter-branch banking,


multilink checking debit card balance.

Western union wiring money to another location.


Sharing a hardware resource such as a printer.
Sharing data (EDI electronic data interchange), information,
Sharing software
Verifying blue cross card. Etc.

1.1.4.

1.1.3.

34

Intranet
International network that uses Internet technologies.
An Intranet is a network based on the internet TCP/IP open standard. An intranet belongs to an
organization, and is designed to be accessible only by the organization's members, employees, or
others with authorization. An intranet's Web site looks and act just like other Web sites, but has a
firewall surrounding it to fend off unauthorized users. Intranets are used to share information.
Secure intranets are much less expensive to build and manage than private, proprietary-standard
networks.
An intranet is a private network that is contained within an enterprise. It may consist of many
interlinked local area networks and also use leased lines in the wide area network. Typically, an
intranet includes connections through one or more gateway computers to the outside Internet. The
main purpose of an intranet is to share company information and computing resources among
employees. An intranet can also be used to facilitate working in groups and for teleconferences.
An intranet uses TCP/IP, HTTP, and other Internet protocols and in general looks like a private
version of the Internet. With tunneling, companies can send private messages through the public
network, using the public network with special encryption/decryption and other security
safeguards to connect one part of their intranet to another.
Typically, larger enterprises allow users within their intranet to access the public Internet through
firewall servers that have the ability to screen messages in both directions so that company
security is maintained. When part of an intranet is made accessible to customers, partners,
suppliers, or others outside the company, that part becomes part of an extranet.

Extranet
An extranet is a private network that uses Internet technology and the public telecommunication
system to securely share part of a business's information or operations with suppliers, vendors,
partners, customers, or other businesses. It is a portion of a companys network that allows
customers or suppliers to access parts of an enterprises intranet. An extranet can be viewed as
part of a company's intranet that is extended to users outside the company. It has also been

1.1.4.

1.1.3.

35

described as a "state of mind" in which the Internet is perceived as a way to do business with
other companies as well as to sell products to customers.
An extranet requires security and privacy. These can include firewall server management, the
issuance and use of digital certificates or similar means of user authentication, encryption of
messages, and the use of virtual private networks (VPNs) that tunnel through the public network.
Companies can use an extranet to:

Exchange large volumes of data using Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)


Share product catalogs exclusively with wholesalers or those "in the trade"
Collaborate with other companies on joint development efforts
Jointly develop and use training programs with other companies
Provide or access services provided by one company to a group of other companies, such
as an online banking application managed by one company on behalf of affiliated banks
Share news of common interest exclusively with partner companies

Internet
The Internet is a large, international computer network linking millions of users around the
world that use the TCP/IP protocols. It is used daily by many individuals for the main purposes
of sending and receiving electronic mail (e-mail), obtaining information on almost any subject, or
to communicate with others around the world. Access to the Internet is obtained by
subscription, and an Internet address is needed to receive or to send a message. Such
addresses have a specific format that specifies the name of the user, the machine they are working
on, and where that machine is located.
Many people use the terms Internet and World Wide Web (a.k.a. the Web) interchangeably, but in
fact the two terms are not synonymous. The Internet and the Web are two separate but related
things.
The Internet is a massive network of networks, a networking infrastructure. It connects millions
of computers together globally, forming a network in which any computer can communicate with
any other computer as long as they are both connected to the Internet. Information that travels
over the Internet does so via a variety of languages known as protocols.
The World Wide Web, or simply Web, is a way of accessing information over the medium of the
Internet. The web is a subset of the Internet and consists of web pages that can be accessed with a
Web browser. It is an information-sharing model that is built on top of the Internet. The Web uses
the HTTP protocol, only one of the languages spoken over the Internet, to transmit data. Web
services, which use HTTP to allow applications to communicate in order to exchange business
logic, use the Web to share information. The Web also utilizes browsers, such as Internet
Explorer or Netscape, to access Web documents called Web pages that are linked to each other
via hyperlinks. Web documents also contain graphics, sounds, text and video.
The Web is just one of the ways that information can be disseminated over the Internet. The
Internet, not the Web, is also used for e-mail, which relies on SMTP, Usenet news groups, instant
messaging and FTP. So the Web is just a portion of the Internet, albeit a large portion, but the two
terms are not synonymous and should not be confused.

1.1.4.

1.1.3.

36

4.3.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Networks

Advantages
Faster and easier access to information
Better communication
Ability to have a worldwide audience (able to advertise and market your product)
E-commerce /E-business
Disadvantages
Children have access to pornography, harmful information, pedofiles etc.
Easier to plagiarise information as able to copy and paste.

4.4.

Network classifications

Computer Networks are classified according to the distance between individual


computers that are attached to the network. The classification includes the following:
1. Local Area Network (LAN)
2. Wide Area Network (WAN)
3. Metropolitan Network (MAN)
Local Area Network (LAN)
A Local Area Network (LAN) is a network that connects computers and devices in a
limited geographical area such as a house, school laboratory or an office building.
Each computer or device on the network is called a node, often shares resources such
as printers, large hard disks, and programs. Generally LANs use wires (physical
cables) for connectivity between the devices. It is however possible to connect the
devices via wireless means giving rise to what is known as a WLAN (wireless LAN).
Wide Area Network (WAN)
A Wide Area Network (WAN) is a network that covers a large geographic area such as a city,
country or the world. Using communications channel that combines many types of media
such as telephone lines, cables, and radio waves. A WAN can be one large network or can
consist of two or more LANs connected together. For example, the campus spanning network
that connects different departments in any University or larger company is called a WAN.
The Internet is the worlds largest WAN.

Metropolitan Network (MAN)


A Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) is a network that spans a whole metropolitan
area. It is referred to as a high speed-network that covers a city. MANs use similar
technology to LANs but cover a much wider geographic region. A consortium of
users or a single network provider that sells the service to the other users usually
manages a MAN.

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37

Types of LANs (Network Architecture)


There are two (2) main types of network architectures. These include
1. Client/Server
2. Peer to Peer

Client/server one or more computers designated the server (host) and others the clients.
The client is the requesting machine and the server is the supplying machine. In other words,
the client requests services and the server provides the service. The server controls access to
the hardware and software on the network and provides a centralized storage area for data.
Clients rely on the server for resources such as files, processing power, storage. Server
software generally runs on powerful computers dedicated for exclusive use to running the
business application. Client software on the other hand generally runs on common PCs or
workstations. Clients rely on the application server for things such as configuration files,
business application programs, or to offload compute-intensive application tasks back to the
server in order to keep the client computer (and client computer user) free to perform other
tasks.

Peer-to-peer Network (P2P) simple, inexpensive that connects less than 10 computers
using twisted pair or coaxial cables. Each computer (called a peer), can share the hardware
located on any other computer. Each computer has equal responsibilities and capabilities. The
Network Operating System (NOS) must be installed on each computer. Ideal for small
businesses and home offices. A communications environment that allows all computers in the
network to act as servers and share their files with other users on the network. Peer-to-peer
networks are quite common in small offices that do not use a dedicated file server, and client
versions of the Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems allow files to be shared. Peers act
as clients and server. Peer-to-peer networks allow you to connect two or more computers in
order to pool their resources. Individual resources such as disk drives, CD-ROM drives,
scanners and even printers are transformed into shared resources that are accessible from each
of the computers.

Internet
Peer-to
Peer is a different
kind of peer-to-peer network exists on the Internet that allows users to share files on their

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38

hard disks, essentially creating global peer-to-peer networks. It is used mostly for music files
e.g. Napster, KaZaa

4.5.

Network Topologies

Network Topology is the configuration or physical arrangement of the devices or nodes. i.e. The
layout of the computers and devices on a network. The 3 main topologies are ring, star and bus.

Bus
A bus network is a network architecture in which there is a single central cable to which all
devices are attached. The central cable is called a bus. The bus transmits data in both directions.
Only one device can transmit at a time. When a sending device transmits data, the address of the
receiving device is included with the transmission so that the data is routed to the appropriate
receiving device. It is easy to add/remove devices from a bus network. It is also an inexpensive
topology. Failure of one device does not affect another device. The network will fail if the bus
(central cable) fails.

Advantages of a Bus Topology include:


Easy to connect a computer or peripheral to a linear bus.
Typically the cheapest topology to implement
Failure of one station does not affect others

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39

Disadvantages of a Bus Topology


Entire network shuts down if there is a break in the main cable.
Terminators are required at both ends of the backbone cable.
Difficulty in identifying the problem if the entire network shuts down
Performance degrades as additional computers are added

Ring
A ring network is a topology where each device is connected to two others, so as to create a ring
or closed loop. Data transmitted on a ring network travels in one direction on the ring from device
to device until it reaches its destination. If a device fails, devices before it are not affected, it is
the devices after it that are affected.

Advantages of Ring Network


Growth of the system has minimal impact on performance
All stations have equal access
Each node on the ring acts as a repeater (booster of the signal), allowing ring
networks to span greater distances than other physical topologies.
Because data travels in one-direction high speeds of transmission of data are possible.
Disadvantages of Ring Network
Often the most expensive topology
Failure of one computer may impact others

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40

Star
A star network topology, in its simplest form, consists of one central, or hub computer, which acts
as a router to transmit messages. All devices are connected to the central computer (hub). All data
passes through the hub. If a device fails, there is no effect on the network, only if the hub fails
will the network be affected.

Advantages of Star Network


Easy to implement and extend, even in large networks
Well suited for temporary networks (quick setup)
The failure of a non-central node will not have major effects on the functionality of
the network.
Disadvantages of Star Network
Limited cable length and number of stations
Maintenance costs may be higher in the long run
Failure of the central node (hub) can disable the entire network
Central hub can be a bottleneck.

4.6.

Network components

Networking hardware includes all computers, peripherals, interface cards and other equipment
needed to perform data-processing and communications within the network. Below are
descriptions of commonly used networking hardware.

Modem Short for modulator-demodulator. This device enables a computer to transmit


data over telephone or cable lines. It converts digital signals to analog signals and vice
versa. (modulation/de-modulation). Computer information is stored digitally whereas
information transmitted over telephone lines is transmitted in the form of analog waves.
The device converts between the two forms. These devices can be internal or external.
The internal ones come as an expansion board that you can insert into a vacant expansion
slot. External ones are connected to the computers through an RS-232 interface.
The following characteristics distinguish one from another:

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1.1.3.

41

a)
b)
c)
d)

e)

f)

Bps (bits per second) how fast the device can transmit and receive data (baud
rate). The fastest ones are about 57600bps.
Voice/data many support a switch to change between voice and data modes.
Auto-answer enables your computer to receive calls in your absence.
Data compression enables the device to send data at a faster rate. (The
receiving device must be able to decompress the data using the same
compression technique.
Flash memory some devices have flash memory instead of the conventional
ROM, which means that the communications protocols can be easily updated if
necessary.
Fax capability most modern ones are fax modems, which means that they can
send and receive faxes.

Cable modem (DSL modem Digital Subscriber Line) sends and receives data over a
cable television (CATV) network, which consists largely of coaxial cable. It can transmit
up to 2Mbps. Because the coaxial cable used by cable tv provides much greater
bandwidth than telephone lines, the device can be used to achieve extremely fast access
to the world wide web.

ADSL modem (asymmetric digital subscriber line). A new technology that allows more
data to be sent over existing copper telephone lines (POTS plain old telephone service).
ADSL supports data rates from 1.5 to 9Mbps when receiving data (downstream rate) and
from 16 to 640 Kbps when sending data (upstream rate).

Multiplexer combines 2 or more input signals from various devices into a single stream
of data then transmits it over a single transmission medium. (sometimes called mux). The
advantage is that it saves on cabling costs.

Network interface card (NIC) expansion card that is inserted into the computer to
connect it to a network. Also call LAN adapter. Most are designed for a particular type of
network, protocol and media, although some can serve multiple networks.

Hub (concentrator, multi-station access unit (MAU)) is a device that provides a central
point for cables in a network. It usually has ports for 8 12 devices. It is a common
connection point for devices in a network. They are commonly used to connect segments
of a LAN. When a packet arrives at a port, it is copied to the other ports so that all
segments of the LAN can see all packets. A passive hub serves simply as a conduit for
the data, enabling it to go from one device or segment to another. Intelligent hubs include
additional features that enable an administrator to monitor the traffic passing through the
hub and to configure each port in the hub. Switching hubs read the destination address of
each packet and then forwards the packet to the correct port.

Switch A device that filters and forwards packets between LAN segments. (A packet is
a piece of a message transmitted over a packet switching network. The packet contains
the destination address in addition to the data). Most switches are active, that is they
electrically amplify the signal as it moves from one device to another. Switches no longer
broadcast network packets as hubs did in the past, they memorize addressing of
computers and send the information to the correct location directly. Switches are:
Usually configured with 8, 12, or 24 RJ-45 ports
Often used in a star topology
Sold with specialized software for port management
Also called hubs

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42

Usually installed in a standardized metal rack that also may store


netmodems, bridges, or routers

Repeater a device that accepts a signal from a medium, amplifies it, retransmits it.
Solves the problem of attenuation (weakening of a signal due to distance). It regenerates
or replicates the signal. It can also relay messages between sub-networks that use
different protocols or cable types. Hubs can operate as this device by relaying messages
to all connected computers. The device cannot do the intelligent routing performed by
bridges and routers. Repeaters can be separate devices or they can be incorporated into a
hub. They are used when the total length of your network cable exceeds the standards set
for the type of cable being used.

Bridge a device that connects 2 LANs or 2 segments of the same LAN that use the
same protocol such as Ethernet. A bridge is a device that allows you to segment a large
network into two smaller, more efficient networks. If you are adding to an older wiring
scheme and want the new network to be up-to-date, a bridge can connect the two. A
bridge monitors the information traffic on both sides of the network so that it can pass
packets of information to the correct location. Most bridges can "listen" to the network
and automatically figure out the address of each computer on both sides of the bridge.
The bridge can inspect each message and, if necessary, broadcast it on the other side of
the network. The bridge manages the traffic to maintain optimum performance on both
sides of the network. You might say that the bridge is like a traffic cop at a busy
intersection during rush hour. It keeps information flowing on both sides of the network,
but it does not allow unnecessary traffic through.

Gateway a) A combination of hardware and software that connects networks that use
different protocols. b) A node on a network that serves as an entrance to another network.
c) An earlier term for router. The gateway node often acts as a proxy server and firewall.
The proxy server sits between the client application and the real server and intercepts all
messages entering and leaving the network and checks if it can fulfil the requests itself, if
not, then it forwards the request to the real server. It also hides the true network
addresses. The purpose of the proxy server is to improve performance and to filter
requests (e.g. prevent users from accessing a specific set of websites. The firewall
prevents unauthorized access to or from a private network. The gateway is also associated
with both a router, which use headers and forwarding tables to determine where packets
are sent, and a switch, which provides the actual path for the packet in and out of the
gateway.

Router A device that connects multiple networks, routes traffic to appropriate network
using the fastest available path. It forwards data packets along networks. It is connected
to at least 2 networks. They are located at gateways, the places where 2 or more networks
connect. Routers use headers (part of the data packet and has information about the file or
the transmission) and forwarding tables to determine the best path for forwarding the
packets, and they use protocols such as ICMP (Internet Control Message Protocol an
extension to the Internet Protocol IP) to communicate with each other and configure the
best route between any 2 hosts. Very little filtering of data is done through these devices.
A router translates information from one network to another; it is similar to a
superintelligent bridge. Routers select the best path to route a message, based on the
destination address and origin. The router can direct traffic to prevent head-on collisions,
and is smart enough to know when to direct traffic along back roads and shortcuts. While
bridges know the addresses of all computers on each side of the network, routers know
the addresses of computers, bridges, and other routers on the network. Routers can even
"listen" to the entire network to determine which sections are busiest -- they can then

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43

redirect data around those sections until they clear up. If you have a school LAN that you
want to connect to the Internet, you will need to purchase a router. In this case, the router
serves as the translator between the information on your LAN and the Internet. It also
determines the best route to send the data over the Internet. Routers can:
Direct signal traffic efficiently
Route messages between any two protocols
Route messages between bus and star topologies
Route messages across fiber optic, coaxial, and twisted-pair cabling.

Client - The client is the requesting machine. In other words, the client requests
services. Clients rely on the server for resources such as files, processing power,
storage. Client software generally runs on common PCs or workstations. Clients rely
on the application server for things such as configuration files, business application
programs, or to offload compute-intensive application tasks back to the server in
order to keep the client computer (and client computer user) free to perform other
tasks.

Server The server is the supplying machine. In other words, the server provides
service to the client. The server controls access to the hardware and software on the
network and provides a centralized storage area for data. Server software generally
runs on powerful computers dedicated for exclusive use to running the business
application.

4.7.

Software: Network Operating Systems

The similarities and differences between a single-user operating system and a


network operating system
Similarities
Controls/manages the computer hardware (e.g. memory)
Provides a user interface
Allows more than one program to run at the same time.
Schedules jobs and configures devices
Manages programs
Provides file management and other utilities
Starts the computer
Differences
A network operating system (NOS) is an operating system that organizes and
coordinates how multiple users access and share resources on a network. A single
user operating system allows only one user to run one or more programs at a time.
An NOS has more security control features. It also controls a network, establish
internet connection and allows more than one computers to talk to each other.
An NOS allows for the management of files on other computers.
NOS typically resides on a server.

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44

4.8.

Transmission Media: wireless, wired

A transmission medium or communication channel is also referred to as a circuit, line or path. It


is a pathway over which data are transferred between remote devices.

Wired Transmission Media (Physical /Guided)


Wired media are identified by a physical cable on which the data travels. This cable can
be seen and touched.
Twisted Pair Cable
A thin-diameter copper wire (22 to 26 gauge) commonly used for telephone and
network cabling.
The two insulated copper wires are twisted around each other to minimize
interference (electrical disturbance or noise) from other twisted pairs in the cable.
The noise can degrade communication. These pairs are then bundled together.
There are two main types: Shielded Twisted Pair (STP) and Unshielded Twisted
Pair (UTP). The STP has a metal wrapper around each twisted pair wire, which
further reduces noise. The UTP does not have this shield, it is inexpensive and
easy to install.
The categories of UTP cable are:
Category 1 Voice Only (Telephone Wire)
Category 2 Data to 4 Mbps (LocalTalk)
Category 3 Data to 10 Mbps (Ethernet)
Category 4 Data to 20 Mbps (16 Mbps Token Ring)
Category 5 Data to 100 Mbps (Fast Ethernet)
The standard connector for UTP cable is an RJ-45 connector, which looks like a
large telephone modular connector.
It is easy to tap into (i.e. persons can listen on the line).
It is a low frequency transmission medium.
It is relatively inexpensive. (Cheapest)
It is small in size and easy to install.
Generally for analog transmission.
It covers limited distance, usually less than 100 meters.
It is the most popular medium for LANs and is generally the best option for
school networks.

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1.1.3.

45

Coaxial Cable (Coax for short)

A cable consisting of a conducting outer metal tube enclosing and insulated from a
central conducting core, used for high-frequency transmission of telephone, telegraph,
and television signals. Consists of single aluminium or copper wire surrounded by 3
layers a) insulating material, b) woven or braided metal mesh, c) plastic outer coating.
It is common in cable television applications.
The cable is designed to carry a high-frequency or broadband signal. (In other words, it
can carry many signals at the same time). The bandwidth can be up to 400 Mhz.
It can carry signals for longer distances than Twisted Pair. (300-600 meters)
It is less susceptible to electromagnetic interference than Twisted Pair because it is more
heavily insulated.
Commonly used in harsh environments. (e.g. factories where there are chemicals etc.)

It is quite bulky and sometimes difficult to install.


The most common type of connector used with coaxial cables is the BNC
(Bayone-Neill-Concelman) connector.

There are two types of coaxial cable:


Thin coaxial cable
o refered to as thinnet
o 10Base2 is the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) standard for
Ethernet running on thin coaxial cable
o the 2 refers to the approximate maximum segment length being 200 meters
o is popular in school networks, especially linear bus networks
Thick coaxial cable
refered to as thicknet
10Base5 is the IEEE standard for Ethernet running on thick coaxial cable
the 5 refers to the approximate maximum segment length being 500
meters
has an extra protective plastic cover that helps keep moisture away from
the center conductor
difficult to bend and install
used for long distance bus networks

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1.1.3.

46

Fiber Optic Cable

1.1.4.

A thin glass strand designed for light transmission. A single hair-thin fiber is capable of
transmitting trillions of bits per second. The core consists of dozens or hundreds of thin
strands of glass or plastic that use light to transmit signals. Inside the cable is an
insulating glass cladding and a protective coating.
Optical fibers offer many advantages over electricity and copper wire.
Optical fibers transmit data at a faster rate. They are also able to carry more signals.
(Broad bandwidth). (bandwidth of up to 2 Gbps)
Fibers allow longer distances to be spanned before the signal has to be regenerated by
expensive "repeaters." (Repeaters boost a signal that has become weakened due to
distance.) E.g. used for distances up to 100 kilometers.
Fibers are more secure, because taps in the line can be detected.
There are lower error rates. (i.e. the message that is sent is the message that is received).
Less susceptible to noise from other devices such as copy machine.
Smaller size (thinner, lighter)
Fiber optic cable is very expensive.
It is hard to install and modify, and requires highly skilled installers.

10BaseF refers to the specifications for fiber optic cable carrying Ethernet signals.

1.1.3.

47

Wireless Transmission Media (Unguided)


Wireless media transmit data through high frequency radio signals or infrared light
beams. The medium cannot be seen with the naked eye. Wireless media is used when it is
inconvenient, impractical or impossible to install physical cables.
Broadcast radio
Distributes radio signals through the air over long distances.
It is used with AM, FM radio, television stations, CB (citizens band) radio (i.e.
walkie-talkie).
Each station has a different frequency (E.g. FAME FM is 95.5MHz, LOVE is
101MHz etc.).
Broadcast radio is slower and more susceptible to noise than physical
transmission media but it provides flexibility and portability.
Bluetooth, HomeRF and 802.11 technologies use broadcast radio signals
Speeds range from 1Mbps to 54Mbps depending on the technology.

Cellular radio
Form of broadcast radio used for mobile communication. (Handheld computers,
Phones etc.)
Transmission speeds range from 9.6Kbps to 2Mbps depending on the generation.

Microwaves (also called Fixed-Point Wireless)


High frequency radio waves that provide high-speed transmission. (up to
150Mbps)
Signals are sent from one microwave station to another.
Limited to line-of-sight transmission, which means that the microwave must be
transmitted in a straight line with no obstructions between antennas.
This means that microwave antennae are placed in high places (tall building, hill
etc.)

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48

Satellites
A satellite is a space station that receives microwave signals from an earth based
station (downlink), amplifies the signals then broadcasts the signals back over a
wide area (uplink).
Satellites are usually placed about 22,300 miles above the equator. They are
considered geosynchronous because they orbit at the same rate as the earth,
therefore maintaining its position over the earths surface.
VSAT very small aperture terminal) a small communications satellite.
Transmission speed is up to 1Gbps
More expensive/harder to fix problems.
Affected by bad weather (e.g. you lose certain channels whenever it is raining).

Infrared (IR)
Sends signals using infrared light waves.
Also uses line-of-sight transmission.
Signals only travel for short distances.
Used by remote controls, wireless devices such as mouse/ printer/ digital camera

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49

5. Module 5 Network Security


5.1.

Define Computer security

In the computer industry, computer security refers to techniques for ensuring that data
stored in a computer cannot be read or compromised by any individuals without
authorization. Most security measures involve data encryption and passwords. Data
encryption is the translation of data into a form that is unintelligible without a
deciphering mechanism. A password is a secret word or phrase that gives a user access to
a particular program or system.

5.2.

What is a computer security risk?

A computer security risk is any event or action that could cause a loss of or damage to
computer hardware, software, data, information, or processing capability. A computer
security plan is a summary in writing of all the safeguards that are in place to protect a
companys information assets.

5.3.

Categories of risk and their effects

Category
Human error e.g. delete a file by
accident, adding data twice, entering
incorrect data, not adequately
trained/experienced (e.g. young child)
Technical error system failure e.g.
hard disk crash, booting file
missing/corrupted
Virus program that causes damage to
files or computer.
Disasters (Natural or otherwise)
earthquake, hurricane, fire, flood,
lightening, power surges, low voltage,
insects
Unauthorized use and access
hacker/cracker gets access illegally.
This can lead to things like software
piracy.

Theft, vandalism, civil disorder

1.1.4.

Effect
Loss of data, less data integrity (incorrect data)
therefore incorrect information will be retrieved.
Damage to computer due to improper use.
Loss of data, loss of time in having to re-enter data.

Loss of files/data, loss of time. May need to re-install


software.
Physical damage to computer. Loss of data. Loss of
computer. Huge repair bill.

Competing entity could use data against your


company. Identity theft. Loss of sales due to piracy.
Also leads to theft of intellectual property, theft of
marketing information (e.g., customer lists, pricing
data, or marketing plans), or blackmail based on
information gained from computerized files (e.g.,
medical information, personal history, or sexual
preference).
Employees do things to deliberately modify the data.
Loss of computer and data. Illegal access to files. Loss
of time.
Loss of income due to software piracy.

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50

Who is a Hacker?

A slang term for a computer enthusiast, i.e., a person who enjoys learning programming
languages and computer systems and can often be considered an expert on the subject(s).
Among professional programmers, depending on how it used, the term can be either
complimentary or derogatory, although it is developing an increasingly derogatory
connotation. The pejorative sense of hacker is becoming more prominent largely because
the popular press has co-opted the term to refer to individuals who gain unauthorized
access to computer systems for the purpose of stealing and corrupting data. Hackers,
themselves, maintain that the proper term for such individuals is cracker.
What is software piracy?
Software piracy is the unauthorized copying of software.

A software license is a type of proprietary or unwarranted license as well as a


memorandum of contract between a producer and a user of computer software sometimes
called an End User License Agreement (EULA) that specifies the perimeters of the
permission granted by the owner to the user.

By buying the software, a user becomes a licensed user rather than an owner.
Users are allowed to make copies of the program for backup purposes, but it is
against the law to give copies to friends and colleagues. Software licenses are
primarily written to deal with issues of copyright law.

Copying software is an act of copyright infringement, and is subject to civil and


criminal penalties. Copyright is exclusive rights given to authors and artists to
duplicate, publish, and sell their materials. A copyright provides its holder the right
to restrict unauthorized copying and reproduction of an original expression (i.e. literary
work, movie, music, painting, software, etc.)
Software copyright stands in contrast to other forms of intellectual property, such as
patents, which grant a monopoly right to the use of an invention or software, because it is
not a monopoly right to do something, merely a right to prevent others doing it.

It is illegal whether you use pirated software yourself, give it away, or sell it. In
addition, it is illegal to provide unauthorized access to software or to serial
numbers used to register software.
The Internet allows products to move from computer to another computer, with
no hard media transaction and little risk of detection. The most used method of
piracy and illegal use of downloading is Internet piracy.

Computer Crime

Computer crime is defined as deliberate actions to steal, damage, or destroy


computer data without authorization, as well as accessing a computer system
and/or account without authorization.
Criminals or perpetrators may be employees, outside users, hackers and crackers,
and organized crime members.

What is Intellectual Property?


Intellectual property refers to the category of intangible (non-physical) property
comprising primarily copyright, moral rights related to copyrighted materials, trademark,
patent and industrial design.

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1.1.3.

51

Other threats
The following allows someone to gain illegal/unauthorized access to data which leads to
unauthorized use:

Spoofing - Getting one computer on a network to pretend to have the identity of


another computer, usually one with special access privileges, so as to obtain access to
the other computers on the network.
Masquerade - Accessing a computer by pretending to have an authorized user
identity.
Scanning - Sequentially testing/ scanning passwords/ authentication codes until one is
successful.
Snooping (Eavesdropping) - Electronic monitoring of digital networks to uncover
passwords or other data.
Shoulder Surfing - Direct visual observation of monitor displays to obtain access.
Scavenging/Dumpster Diving - Accessing discarded trash to obtain passwords and
other data.

The following causes problems on a network:


Spamming - Overloading a system with incoming message or other traffic to cause
system crashes.

What is Malware?
Malware is a program that performs unexpected or unauthorized, but always malicious,
actions. It is a general term used to refer to viruses, Trojans, and worms. Malware,
depending on their type, may or may not include replicating and non-replicating
malicious code.
What is a computer virus?
A computer program that is designed to replicate itself by copying itself into the other
programs stored in a computer. It may be benign or have a negative effect, such as
causing a program to operate incorrectly or corrupting a computer's memory.
Viruses are the colds and flues of computer security: Ubiquitous (ever-present), at times
impossible to avoid despite the best efforts and often very costly to an organization's
productivity. Computer viruses are called viruses because they share some of the traits of biological
viruses. A computer virus passes from computer to computer like a biological virus passes from
person to person.

There are similarities at a deeper level, as well. A biological virus is not a living thing. A
virus is a fragment of DNA inside a protective jacket. Unlike a cell, a virus has no way to
do anything or to reproduce by itself -- it is not alive. Instead, a biological virus must

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1.1.3.

52

inject its DNA into a cell. The viral DNA then uses the cell's existing machinery to
reproduce itself. In some cases, the cell fills with new viral particles until it bursts,
releasing the virus. In other cases, the new virus particles bud off the cell one at a time,
and the cell remains alive.
A computer virus shares some of these traits. A computer virus must piggyback on some
other program or document in order to get executed. Once it is running, it is then able to
infect other programs or documents. Obviously, the analogy between computer and
biological viruses stretches things a bit, but there are enough similarities that the name
sticks.
What is a payload?
In addition to replication, some computer viruses share another commonality: a damage
routine that delivers the virus payload. A virus payload is an action it performs on the
infected computer. While payloads may only display messages or images, they can also
destroy files, reformat your hard drive, or cause other damage. If the virus does not
contain a damage routine, it can cause trouble by consuming storage space and memory,
and degrading the overall performance of your computer.

Types of viruses
Several thousand viruses have been recorded by authorities. Most of them are variations
of two main types:
1. File viruses, including macro viruses
2. Boot sector (or system sector) viruses.
There are however, other types of viruses. The following describes the various types
of viruses:
Worms: A worm is a small piece of software that uses computer networks and security
holes to replicate itself. A copy of the worm scans the network for another machine that
has a specific security hole. It copies itself to the new machine using the security hole,
and then starts replicating from there, as well.

1.1.4.

1.1.3.

53

Trojans: A Trojan appears to be something that it is not so that you give out certain
information. Example: a fake login screen will allow you to put in your id and password,
thereby allowing it to be read by unscrupulous persons. Another example is a fake web
site on which you give out your credit card information. The program also claims to do
one thing (it may claim to be a game) but instead does damage when you run it (it may
erase your hard disk). Trojan horses have no way to replicate automatically.
Boot sector (or system sector) viruses: These viruses infect floppy disk boot records or
master boot records in hard disks. The boot sector of your hard disk contains the
programs used to boot (or start) your computer. These system sectors are vital for proper
operation of your computer. When you switch on your computer, the hardware
automatically finds and runs the system sector program. This program then loads your
operating system. The viruses replace the boot record program (which is responsible for
loading the operating system in memory) copying it elsewhere on the disk or overwriting
it. Boot viruses load into memory if the computer tries to read the disk while it is booting.
In the past, boot sector viruses were spread mainly by infected bootable floppy disks.
Today any disk can cause infection if it is in the drive when the computer boots up. Boot
sector viruses can also be spread across a network and by e-mail attachments. These
viruses usually remain active on your computer, and can infect any floppy disk you
access.
Examples: Form, Disk Killer, Michelangelo, and Stone virus
Program/File viruses: These infect executable program files, such as those with
extensions like .BIN, .COM, .EXE, .OVL, .DRV (driver) and .SYS (device driver). These
programs are loaded in memory during execution, taking the virus with them. The virus
becomes active in memory, making copies of itself and infecting files on the disk.
Examples: Sunday, Cascade

Multipartite viruses: A hybrid of Boot and Program viruses. This sophisticated type of
virus infects program files and when the infected program is executed, this virus infects
the boot record. When you boot the computer next time the virus from the boot record
loads in memory and then starts infecting other program files on disk. Egs: Invader, Flip,
and Tequila
Stealth viruses: These viruses use certain techniques to avoid detection. They may either
redirect the disk head to read another sector instead of the one in which they reside or
they may alter the reading of the infected files size shown in the directory listing. For

1.1.4.

1.1.3.

54

instance, the Whale virus adds 9216 bytes to an infected file; then the virus subtracts the
same number of bytes (9216) from the size given in the directory. A stealth virus can
conceal its presence in many ways and some go undetected for years. Egs: Frodo, Joshi,
Whale
Polymorphic viruses: A virus that can encrypt its code in different ways so that it
appears differently in each infection. These viruses are more difficult to detect. Egs:
Involuntary, Stimulate, Cascade, Phoenix, Evil, Proud, Virus 101
Macro Viruses: A macro virus is a new type of computer virus that infects the macros
within a document or template. A macro is an automated series of program commands,
such as a list of formatting commands for a word processing program. Many applications
use macros, including popular spreadsheet and word processing programs. When you
open a word processing or spreadsheet document, the macro virus is activated and it
infects the Normal template (Normal.dot)-a general purpose file that stores default
document formatting settings. Every document you open refers to the Normal template,
and hence gets infected with the macro virus. Since this virus attaches itself to
documents, the infection can spread if such documents are opened on other computers.
Examples: DMV, Nuclear, Word Concept.
E-mail viruses - An e-mail virus moves around in e-mail messages, and usually
replicates itself by automatically mailing itself to dozens of people in the victim's e-mail
address book.
Active X: ActiveX and Java controls will soon be the scourge of computing. Most
people do not know how to control their web browser to enable or disable the various
functions like playing sound or video and so, by default, leave a nice big hole in the
security by allowing applets free run into their machine. There has been a lot of
commotion behind this and with the amount of power that JAVA imparts, things from the
security angle seem a bit gloom.
Time and logic bombs: Viruses can also be categorized by what activates them. Some viruses
were written to activate on a particular date such as Friday the 13th. These viruses are called Time
bombs. Other viruses were written to activate when the user carries out a certain action, such as
open a particular file. These viruses are called Logic bombs.

How are computers infected?


It's important to realize that viruses can't infect email messages or Web pages, since these
are both based solely on text, and plain text cannot contain computer viruses.

1.1.4.

1.1.3.

55

The two ways viruses are most commonly spread are through e-mail attachments and by
floppy disk.
1. E-mail attachments
You won't get a virus just from reading text e-mails. Viruses are spread through email as executable file attachments (files ending in ".EXE", ".VBS" or ".COM" for
example) or messages containing embedded executable code (such as JavaScript
code embedded in an html e-mail). You won't get a virus from opening image files,
audio files, text files or pure data files.

However, some viruses such as the "Anna Kournakova" virus make themselves
look like an innocent picture - the file name was anna.jpg.vbs. The .jpg component
of the filename made many computer users think that the file was a picture and
distracted them from the .vbs ending which identifies the file as an executable file.

Macro viruses are commonly distributed by e-mail. These are dangerous because
they often use common file formats such as Microsoft Word. Users recognize the
file extension and assume the file contains only data. However, when macroenabled files are opened they actually execute a program, which could be infected
with a virus. Some viruses and worms, such as the famous "I Love You" virus, gain
broad distribution by targeting the infected host's e-mail contact listings. The virus
will send copies of itself to their contacts using their name. The recipient often
recognizes and trusts the sender, not realizing that the message was not sent
unknowingly.

2. Floppy Disk
Many viruses are spread by sharing an infected disk. These viruses will usually
reside in your computer's memory and infect any floppy disk you place in your
drive. Both file viruses and system sector viruses can be spread by floppy disk.
Your best line of defence is common sense. If you are in doubt about the source of
the file or attachment, don't open it.

1.1.4.

When a software application is infected, the virus will attempt to infect any
documents accessed by that program. If the infected computer is on a network, the
infection can rapidly spread to other networked computers that share files. If a
copy of the infected file is transferred to another computer through e-mail or

1.1.3.

56

floppy disk, the virus can spread to that computer. The virus will continue until
it's found and eradicated.

Obviously, a virus can't do any harm if it is caught before it gets a chance to start.
You can use anti-virus (or virus protection) software to check (or "scan") the files
on your hard drive to detect if any of them contain known viruses. If an infected
file is found, most anti-virus programs give you the option of deleting the infected
file or attempting to remove the virus and leave the uninfected version of the file
on your computer.

What damage can computer viruses do?


It's important to remember that most viruses aren't programmed with destructive
intentions. Most simply reproduce without any destructive attack. However, these viruses
can cause damage to your files, particularly since many of the viruses are poorly written
programs that can cause unintended software conflicts. At the very least, viruses are
intrusive applications that steal storage and CPU cycles without your permission.
Most people's worst virus fear is having their hard drive erased, but those who regularly
create back-up versions of important data could recover within a few hours. Viruses that
subtly corrupt data are potentially much more destructive - computer users may not
notice their presence until a great deal of data has been ruined. Some viruses insert
random numbers in spreadsheet applications or system files, or add typos to word
processing documents. One particularly nasty virus posted confidential documents in the
user's name to Internet newsgroups.

All viruses will attempt to infect other files, and some will launch some form of attack,
but it's not obvious when these events will occur. Viruses are programmed to perform
these actions upon certain conditions, or triggers. Triggers can be anything from a set day
or time, a counter within the virus, the specific number of times executed, or even a
specific event such as the deletion of an employee's payroll file. Some viruses will lay
dormant for years, ensuring that many computers can be infected before initiating the
attack phase.
Despite the claims of some hoax e-mails that have been widely circulated, viruses usually
won't do direct damage to your hardware. In a few rare cases viruses can manipulate your

1.1.4.

1.1.3.

57

software configurations in a way that renders some hardware components useless, but the
vast majority of virus attacks affect applications or operating systems and not the
underlying hardware.

1.1.4.

1.1.3.

58

5.4.

Risk Management Solutions

What is risk management (risk management solution)?


Risk management is an action taken to either prevent a risk from happening or to reduce its
effects. The following table shows the various categories of risks and solutions to either prevent
or reduce the effects of the risks. The solutions either protect the physical computer (hardware),
or protect the data /information/software (files) on the computer.

Category of Risk
Human error e.g. delete a file by
accident, adding data twice,
entering incorrect data

Technical error system failure


e.g. hard disk crash, booting file
missing/corrupted

Virus program that causes


damage to files or computer

Solution
Data validation (validation rules)
Reduction of human interaction (because humans make
mistakes). In other words, automate as many processes
as possible. For example, use a bar code reader to scan in
the items rather than have the cashier typing in the item
code.
Training of the user
Password protection
Authority levels (to limit access)
Supervision of children and inexperienced users.
Separation of duties (e.g. can enter data but not change)
Buy quality hardware from a reputable dealer
Get a warranty period when purchase a computer
Backup just in case the hardware fails you
Air conditioning to keep computer cool
Plastic dust covers to keep dust out of diskette drives etc.
Proper (sturdy) desk on which to store computer
No magnets/sunlight/dont open shutter and other proper
diskette care procedures
Proper maintenance (care) e.g. defrag, cleaning
computer
Regular testing of hardware and software.
Antivirus software (e.g. McAfee, Norton Antivirus,
Trend Micro-PCcillin). This must be updated
regularly.
Firewall - A firewall is (a program and/or hardware

1.1.4.

that filters the data coming through the internet to


prevent unauthorized access. Some firewalls protect
systems from viruses, junk email (spam). (e.g.
Black Ice, Zone Alarm
Limit connectivity, such as staying off a network if it
is not necessary. Visit trusted sites only when on the
internet.
Limit software downloads since viruses can be caught
by downloading music, games etc.
Use only authorized media for loading data and software

1.1.3.

59

Category of Risk

Solution
Not opening unknown email and attachments
Enforce mandatory access controls. Viruses generally
cannot run unless host application is running.
Write protecting diskettes when opening files on

Natural disasters etc.


earthquake, hurricane, fire, flood,
power surges, insects

Unauthorized use and access


e.g. hacker/cracker gets access
illegally

1.1.4.

another computer
Backup files regularly
Offsite Backup (located elsewhere such as another
branch or another country)
Good location (e.g. not on a hillside or near the sea)
Strong, weatherproof facilities (no windows, fireproof)
No food/drink around the computer no insects, spills
on keyboard etc
Raised (false) floors Similar to a false ceiling except
this is below your feet. It is used for earthquake
protection as it works as a shock absorber. Raised floors
also allow you to hide cables below.
UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) This has a battery
which charges will there is power. It gives you time to
shut down the computer properly when there is a power
cut.
Generator Used during a power cut and runs on gas. It
allows you to continue using the computer for as long as
there is gas.
Surge protectors to protect against low voltage, power
surge/spike, lightening etc.
Lightening rod to protect the building and all electrical
devices within the building from lightening storms.
Fire extinguishers specially made for computers
(foam). These will not damage the computers whereas
water would cause damage.
Insurance of equipment in order to re-purchase if your
computer is destroyed.
Physical security e.g. locks, guards, grills etc.
Access codes and passwords passwords should not be
easy to guess (e.g. do not use your birthday).
Biometric devices e.g. Retinal scan, finger print scan,
voice activated
Require frequent password changes. By the time a
hacker goes through a listing of the possible passwords,
it would have changed.
Sign off when you leave your desk, even for a moment.
Authority levels so that only certain users can perform
certain tasks.
Firewall - (a program and/or hardware that filters the
information coming through the internet to prevent
unauthorized access. Some firewalls also protect systems

1.1.3.

60

Category of Risk

Solution
from viruses and junk email (spam). (e.g.s of firewalls
include: Black Ice, Zone Alarm).
Encryption of data - encoding data so that it means
nothing to hackers if they get into the system.
Audit trails keeps track of what a user does when he is
on the system
Log systems keeps track of user sign on/off
Intrusion detection software e.g. detects if put in wrong
password more than 3 times and kicks you off. (e.g. try
to put in a false telephone card number, or the wrong
PIN for your debit card at the ATM)
Time and Location controls - User can only use system
at certain times and in certain locations (cant hide and
do wrong things)
Separation of duties (e.g. one person enters and another
person is needed to change the data such as a cashier).
This is in order to prevent employees from committing
fraud or stealing from the company.
Restrict report distribution, shred reports e.g. do not
throw away credit card statements (prevents persons
from going in your garbage and getting your private
information).
Go to reputable web sites so that will not steal credit
card number. Go to secure sites (lock at the bottom of
the screen).
Secrecy Act in Jamaica so that employees do not give
out company information.
Copyright and License agreements so that you have the
right to sue persons who steal your software/data.
Auditing the programs that are written in case an
unscrupulous employee deliberately put in code for his
benefit.
Callback systems the user can connect to the computer
only after the computer calls the user back at a
previously established telephone number.

Theft and vandalism

1.1.4.

Physical security locks, guard, dogs, biometrics


Metal detectors to prevent hardware theft
Backup
Lock the computer to the desk
Low profile facilities (no overt disclosure of high-value
nature of site, in other words do not display a sign to let
persons know where your computer facilities are)
Mark your computers in a secret place so that you can
identify it if the police finds it

1.1.3.

61

Backup is the key the ultimate safeguard


Regardless of the precautions that you take, things can still go wrong. Backup is therefore
the main risk management solution. A backup is a duplicate of a file, or disk that can
beused if the original is lost, damaged, or destroyed. If your computer fails you can
restore from the backup. The following describes the different types of backup.

Full backup that copies all of the files in a computer (also called archival backup)
Incremental backup that copies only the files that have changed since the last full or
last incremental backup
Differential backup that copies only the files that have changed since the last full
backup
Selective backup that allows a user to choose specific files to back up, regardless of
whether or not the files have changed since the last backup
Grandfather, Father, Son (or Three-generation backup) backup method in which
you recycle 3 sets of backups. The oldest backup is called the grandfather, the middle
backup is the father and the latest backup is called the son. Each time that you backup
you reuse the oldest backup medium. The father then becomes the grandfather, the
son becomes the father and the new backup becomes the son. This method allows you
to have the last 3 backups at all times.

1.1.4.

1.1.3.

62

6. Module 6 Database Management Systems


A database system is essentially nothing more than a computerized record-keeping
system similar to that of a filing cabinet. The users will have the following facilities: add
new files, insert new data, retrieve data, update data, delete data, and delete files.

6.1.

Traditional/File Processing Approach versus Database Approach

Almost all application programs use either the file processing approach or the database
approach to store and manage data.

1. Traditional/File Processing Approach


This is an approach to storing and managing data where each department within an
organization typically has its own set of files.

Files are often designed specifically for their particular application


Files are designed to meet the needs of a given program (e.g. Prog 1 uses the
employee file only).
The focus is on procedures (what needs to be done by the programs Prog 1 and
Prog 2)
The records in a file may not relate to records in any other file. (e.g. the employee
file in no way related to the Warehouse file).
Companies have usually been using file processing for many years

Major weaknesses of the traditional approach


Data Redundancy Each department has its own files, therefore:
o The same fields are stored multiple times causing wasted resources
o The chance for errors is increased (e.g. different spelling in different
locations causing inconsistency)
Isolated data Resulting in difficulty to access data stored in different files. (e.g.
Prog 1 cannot access directly those files designed for Prog 2)

1.1.4.

1.1.3.

63

Poor data control with no centralized control at the data element level it is
common for the same data element to have multiple names
Data had to be kept sorted (e.g. in order to locate a particular item)
File structure changes severely impact existing programs.

Exercise: Find the employees making less than $23000 who a) work in warehouse with
floor area larger than 30000 square feet. b) have issued an order to supplier S6. This
would not be possible in the traditional approach if the files are separate.
2. The Database Approach
In this approach many programs and users share the data in the database. Users access
data using software called a Database Management System (DBMS).

The focus is on the data and not on procedures or programs that use the data. The data
resource is separate from the programs.

6.2.

What is a Database?

A database is an organized collection of data. The data is organized in a manner to allow


access, retrieval and use of that data.
OR
A database is a single organized collection of structured data, stored with minimum of
duplication of data items so as to provide a consistent and controlled pool of data. This
data is common to all users of the system but is independent of programs, which use the
data.

1.1.4.

1.1.3.

64

6.3.

What is a DataBase Management System (DBMS)?

A DBMS is an item of complex software, which constructs and maintains a database in a


controlled way. It allows us to use the computer to create a database to which we can
change, add and delete data in the database. It also allows us to sort and retrieve data and
create forms, queries and reports using the data in the database.
OR
A DBMS is application software that allows creation, access, and management of a
database. It consists of a collection of interrelated data and a collection of programs to
access that data. A DBMS is usually purchased from a software vendor and is the means
by which an application programmer or end-user views and manipulates data in a
database.

6.4.

Examples of DBMSs

Microsoft Access
Oracle
DB2
Visual Foxpro
Informix
Ingres
Paradox
Sybase
SQL Server
Approach
GemStone
D3
Essbase
FastObjects
InterBase
JdataStore
Adabas
Versant

6.5.

Common examples of databases in society

Payroll
Employee data
Inventory management/Stock
Sales
Customer data
Supplier data
Library book management
Banking
Student record keeping

1.1.4.

1.1.3.

65

6.6.

Sample Payroll Database Structure (Single example)

Character
A number, letter, punctuation mark, or other symbol that is represented by a single byte
in the ASCII and EBCDIC coding schemes.
Fields
A field (also known as attribute), contains a specific piece of information within a record. A field
name uniquely identifies each field. In the example employee table above the lastname field
would contain all of the last names of the employees in the table. It is an attribute or characteristic
of an entity. (An entity is an object or event about which someone chooses to collect data. It may
be a person, place, event or thing. E.g. Student, car, library book, employee, bank account etc.)

Records
A record is a group of related fields. It is a collection of data items. A record contains
information about a given person, place, event or thing. A record in an employee table would
contain specific information about a particular employee.

Tables/File
A table is a group of related records. It captures all of the records of a particular type of entity.
E.g. the employee table has all of the employee records. The structure of the table is described by
the fields, that is, the type of data that will be held in the table.

1.1.4.

1.1.3.

66

6.7.

The languages used in database systems (Data definition and


Data manipulation)

Some databases have their own computer languages associated with them, which
allow the user to access and retrieve data. Other databases are only accessed via
languages such as COBOL.
Data descriptions must be standardized, for this reason Data
Description/Definition Language (DDL) is provided which must be used to
specify the data in the database. Similarly, a Data Manipulation Language
(DML) is provided which must be used to access the data. The combination of the
DDL and DML is often called a Data Sub-Language (DSL) or a query language.
Data Definition Language - The DDL is that portion of the DBMS, which allows
us to create and modify the structure of the database and the database tables. The
functions of a DDL may therefore include:
Creating Database structures
Creating table structures
Associating fields with table structures
Associating data types with field structures etc.
Data Manipulation Language - The DML is that portion of the DBMS, which
allows us to store, modify, and retrieve data from the database. There are two
types of DMLs: procedural DML and the nonprocedural DML.

Procedural DMLs require that the user specify the data that is needed from
the database and how to obtain it

Procedural DMLs are more difficult to use since they require that the user be
proficient in using the language commands to manipulate the structure and the
contents of the data file. On the other hand they are more flexible since they
allow the user to determine the method that is used for accessing and
manipulating the structure and contents of a file.

Nonprocedural DMLs require that the user specify the data that is needed
from the database, but it does not allow the user to tell how to obtain it

Nonprocedural DMLs are easier to use since they do not require a detailed
knowledge of the language commands, which are needed to manipulate the
structure and the contents of a data file. On the
other hand they lack
flexibility since the programmer has no way of determining the method for
accessing and manipulating the contents of the data file. Please note that it is the
nonprocedural DML of a 4th Generational Language that allows it to exhibit
structural and data independence.
Query Language

1.1.4.

1.1.3.

67

The implementation of a query language is very vital for a DBMS. The query
language allows the end user to generate adhoc queries, which are immediately
answered. In most languages the DML and the query language are one and the same.
Today, many DBMS also provide support for a standardized query language that
may be different from the DML of the language. This is known as the Structured
Query Language (SQL).

6.8.

1.1.4.

Functions/features common to most DBMSs

Data Dictionary/ Repository


o Contains data about each field and table in the database (data about data is called
metadata)
o Should only be updated by skilled personnel
o Is used to perform validation checks
o Allows users to specify a default field value
File retrieval and maintenance
o Many tools provided
o Involves adding new records, updating existing records and deleting unwanted
records
o It also provides the interface between the user and the data
Query Language
o Allows users to specify data to be displayed, printed or stored
o Consists of simple English-like statements
o Each has its own grammar and vocabulary
o Usually quickly learned by a non-programmer
Form
o A window used to enter and change data
o When well designed validates data as entered, thus reducing data entry errors
Report Generator/Writer
o Allows users to design a report on the screen
o Normally used only to retrieve data
Data Security
o A DBMS provides means to ensure that only authorized users access users at
permitted times
o Most DBMSs allow different levels of access privileges
Backup and Recovery
o A DBMS provides a variety of techniques to restore a damaged or destroyed
database to usable form.
o A Backup or copy of the entire database should be made on a regular basis
o Some DBMSs maintain a log of activities

1.1.3.

68

6.9.

Database Administration

Managing a companys database requires a lot of coordination.

These database activities are performed by:


Database Analyst (DA)
o Focuses on meaning and usage of data.
o Decides the placements of fields and defines relationships among data
Database Administrator (DBA)
o Creates and maintains data dictionary
o Manages DB security
o Monitors performance
o Performs backup and security
A database administrator (DBA) is a person who is responsible for the
environmental aspects of a database. Managing a companys database requires a
great deal of coordination. The role of coordinating the use of the database
belongs to the database administrator (DBA). The duty of a database
administrator varies depending on job description, corporate and IT policies and the
technical features and capabilities of the database management systems (DBMSs)
being administered. They nearly always include disaster recovery (backups and
testing of backups), performance analysis and tuning, and some database design or
assistance thereof.
Database administrators work with database management systems software and determine
ways to organize and store data. They identify user requirements, set up computer
databases, and test and coordinate modifications to the computer database systems. An
organizations database administrator ensures the performance of the system, understands
the platform on which the database runs, and adds new users to the system. Because they
also may design and implement system security, database administrators often plan and
coordinate security measures. With the volume of sensitive data generated every second
growing rapidly, data integrity, backup systems, and database security have become
increasingly important aspects of the job of database administrators. Their salaries range
from $65,000US to $86,000US depending on qualifications and experience.

The administrative and other controls carried out by the DBA therefore include
the following:

Select and implement the DBMS


Develop database models (e.g. Entity relationship diagrams)
Create and maintain the data dictionary1. This includes documentation of the data
dictionary.
Ensures that the database structure is documented
Supervise the addition of new data

A data dictionary (also called repository) is a DBMS element that contains data about
each table in a database and each field within those tables.

1.1.4.

1.1.3.

69

Provides manuals describing the facilities the database offers and how to make
use of these facilities. Provides the facilities for retrieving data and for structuring
reports are appropriate to the needs of organization.
Ensures that the data in the database meets the information requirements of the
organization (designs the database)
Manages security of the database. (Includes backup and recovery)
Recoverability - Checks backup and recovery/restore procedures
Perform archiving (backup and remove historical data from current files)
Availability ensures that the database is running when necessary
Use query languages to obtain reports of the information in the database
Periodic appraisal of the data to ensure it is complete, accurate and not duplicated.
(Monitor performance).
Verifies database integrity
Appraise the performance of the database and takes corrective actions if
performance degrades.

Although not strictly part of a database administrator's duties, logical and physical design
of databases is sometimes part of the job. These functions are traditionally thought of as
being the duties of a database analyst or database designer.

6.10. Types of databases/Database models


Every database and DBMS is based on a specific data model. The data model consists of
the rules that define how the database organizes data and how users view the organization
of data.
Databases are classified according to the approaches taken to database organization. The
classes are:
Relational
Network
Hierarchical
Object Oriented
Multidimensional
A data model is a representation of data and its interrelationships which describe ideas
about the real world.
The hierarchical and network database models store its data in a series of records, which have a
set of field values attached to it. They collect all the instances of a specific record together as a
record type. These record types are the equivalent of tables in the relational model, and with the
individual records being the equivalent of rows. Links between the record types are created using
Parent-child relationships.

1.1.4.

1.1.3.

70

Hierarchical Model
A hierarchical system is one that is organized in the shape of a pyramid, with each row of objects
linked to objects directly beneath it. Hierarchical systems pervade everyday life.
Examples of hierarchical systems in society are:
The army which has generals at the top and privates at the bottom
The classification of plants and animals according to species, family, genus etc.
Examples of hierarchical systems in computers are:
File system a hierarchy of folders and sub-folders in which files are placed.
Menu driven system systems of main menus and sub-menus below. (E.g. when you click on File
another menu comes up under it).

The hierarchical model is the oldest of the database models, and unlike the network, relational
and object oriented models, does not have a well documented a history of its conception and
initial release. It is derived from the Information Management Systems of the 1950's and 60's. It
was adopted by many banks and insurance companies who are still running it as a legacy system
to this day. Hierarchical database systems can also be found in inventory and accounting systems
used by government departments and hospitals.
The hierarchical model is a tree structured model and consists of many record types with
one being the root. The root record type exists at the top of the tree. All data must be accessed
through the root. One-to-many relationships exist between records in the hierarchy with one being
the parent and the other the child. Each child has a unique parent and a parent can have many
children. This child/parent rule assures that data is systematically accessible. To get to a low-level
table, you start at the root and work your way down through the tree until you reach your target.
Of course, as you might imagine, one problem with this system is that the user must know how
the tree is structured in order to find anything.
For example, in the diagram below, the root record type is customer, the parent of order is
customer, the parent of parts is order. In order to access an order, you must first access the
customer (e.g. by knowing the customer#). Order has two children which are parts and salesman.
In order to access the parts, you must first access the customer then the order. The path to the
parts record type is therefore Customer, Order, Parts.
Hierarchical structures were widely used in the first mainframe database management systems.
However, due to their restrictions, they often cannot be used to relate structures that exist in the
real world. Hierarchical relationships between different types of data can make it very easy to
answer some questions, but very difficult to answer others. If a one-to-many relationship is
violated (e.g., a patient can have more than one physician) then the hierarchy becomes a network.
The hierarchical model is no longer used as the basis for current commercially produced systems,
however, there are a large number of legacy (old) installations. These legacy systems are likely to
be phased out over time, as the number of qualified staff declines due to retirement and retraining.

Examples of hierarchical databases include:


IMS - Information Management Systems by IBM
System 2000 by MRI systems corp.
Adabas

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71

GT.M
Cach
Multidimensional_hierarchical_toolkit
Mumps_compiler

Figure structure of a hierarchical database

Figure sample hierarchical database

Advantages of the Hierarchical Model


Data is unified since all records stem from the root
Easier to secure the database since you can access data through
only one path
Good for large volumes of one-to-many relationships
Disadvantages of the Hierarchical Model
Software dependence (Changes to the database structure requires
modification to all programs which access the database)
Adding, updating, and deleting records is more efficient and
accurate
You cannot add a record to a child table until it has already been
incorporated into the parent table. This might be troublesome if,
for example, you wanted to add a student who had not yet signed
up for any courses. In Figure 2, you cannot add a new salesperson
until there is a customer and an order.
Cannot (difficult) show many-to-many relationships
One-to-many relationship can result in redundant data
Not flexible enough to support ad-hoc queries
Data can only be accessed through the right path
It is not user friendly as users have to know the structure in order
to access data through the right path

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Network Model
The network model is a database model conceived as a flexible way of representing
objects and their relationships. Its original inventor was Charles Bachman, and it was
developed into a standard specification published in 1969 by the Conference on Data
Systems Languages (CODASYL) Consortium. In many ways, the Network Database
model was designed to solve some of the problems with the Hierarchical Database
Model.
Where the hierarchical model structures data as a tree of record types, with each record
type having one parent record and many children, the network model allows each
record type to have multiple parent and child records, forming a lattice structure. This
allows the model to support many-to-many relationships. There is no root record type.
Data can therefore be accessed through more than one path. For example, in the diagram
below, (Figure 6), an order can be accessed through either the salesperson or the
customer as order has salesperson and customer as its parents. Another way of saying it is
that the child of salesperson and customer is order. The path to Parts is either
Salesperson, Order, Parts or Customer, Order, Parts. You can therefore access parts by
either knowing who the salesperson is or through the order by knowing for example, the
order #.
The chief argument in favour of the network model, in comparison to the hierarchical
model, was that it allowed a more natural modeling of relationships between entities.
Although the model was widely implemented and used, it failed to become dominant for
two main reasons. Firstly, IBM chose to stick to the hierarchical model in their
established products such as IMS and DL/I. Secondly, it was eventually displaced by the
relational model, which offered a higher-level, more declarative interface.

Examples of network databases include:


Codasyl
Total
VAX-DBMS
IMAGE of Hewlett Packard
DMS-1100 of UNIVAC
SUPRA of Cincom

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73

Figure 1

Figure 2

Advantages of the Network Model


Many-to-many relationships are easily represented
It is more flexible as you can access data through more than 1 path
Disadvantages of the Network Model
Software dependence. (Changes to the database structure requires
modification to all programs which access the database)
Uses more processing time than the hierarchical structure
Users must have knowledge of the structure of the database in
order to navigate
Hard to design, use and maintain

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74

Relational
o Stores data in tables that consist of rows and columns.
o Each row has a primary key
o Each column has a unique name
o Relational DB developer calls file a relation, record a tuple, and field an attribute
o Relational DB user calls file a table, record a row, and field a column
o Most include Structured Query Language (SQL) a query language that allows
users to manage, update and retrieve data.
o Examples: Access, Sybase, Visual FoxPro, Oracle, DB2
Relational databases consist of tables called relations. Relations are made up of tuples
and attributes. The rows are called tuples. The columns are called attributes.
Relationships between relations are implicit in the overlapping attributes. All have the
same simple format making them easy to set out under column headings. Each row
normally has a unique identifying key. Most relational databases include Structured
Query Language (SQL) a query language that allows users to manage, update and
retrieve data.

CustName

Salesperson

Orderno

Salesperson

Part-No

Order-no

Advantages of the Relational Model


Structural independence (i.e. Changes to the database structure
DOES NOT require modification to all programs which access the
database
Powerful and flexible query mechanism that makes adhoc queries
possible
Easy representation of all types of relationships
Unification of data that minimizes redundancy and maximizes
security
Disadvantages of the Relational Model
Requires more space and processing power
Requires more planning if the database structure is to be designed
properly

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75

Object-Oriented
o Stores data in objects (An object contains data plus the actions that
process the data)
o Can usually store more types of data than Relational databases
o Can usually access data faster than the Relational DB
o Stores unstructured data more efficiently than the Relational DB
o Example FastObjects, GemStone
What is an Object?
An object generally is any item that can be individually selected and manipulated. This can
include shapes and pictures that appear on a screen as well as less tangible software entities.
In object-oriented programming an object is a self-contained entity that consists of both data
and procedures to manipulate the data. In other words, an object is an item that contains data, as
well as the actions that read or process the data.

Real-world objects share two characteristics: They all have state and behavior. For
example, dogs have state (name, color, breed, hungry) and behavior (barking, fetching,
wagging tail). Bicycles have state (current gear, current pedal, two wheels, number of
gears) and behavior (braking, accelerating, slowing down, changing gears).
Software objects are modeled after real-world objects in that they too have state and
behavior. You might want to represent real-world dogs as software objects in an
animation program or a real-world bicycle as a software object in the program that
controls an electronic exercise bike. You can also use software objects to model abstract
concepts.
What is a Class?
A class is a category of objects. For example, there might be a class called shape that contains
objects which are circles, rectangles, and triangles. The class defines all the common
properties (characteristics) of the different objects that belong to it.

A class is a special programming construct that allows us to create objects. In other


words, a class provides the blueprint for the creation of an object. The class must
specify a description of the data that is stored and a description of the operations that the
object can provide.
As indicated above, each object must have a state and a set of methods, which are
encapsulated (contained) inside the object. The state refers to the data that is stored inside
the object, while the methods/behaviours refer to the set of operations/functions, which
the object can perform. For example, a user can click on a button, put the mouse over the
button, right click or double click on the button. Click, double click, right click, mouse
over etc are therefore examples of methods. When the user clicks on the button, the
relevant code for the particular user action is executed. Each object must have a set of

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76

well-defined public interfaces, which a client may use to get the object to perform a
specific operation.
Examples of objects.
An object oriented database can contain many classes of objects, these include:
Command buttons
List boxes
Data windows
Windows
Menus
Text boxes
Pictures
Audio clips
Video clips (animation)
Students
Courses
Employees

What is an object-oriented database (OODB)?


Object-oriented databases or object database management systems grew out of research during
the early to mid-1980s into having intrinsic database management support for graph-structured
objects. The term "object-oriented database system" first appeared around 1985.
An object-oriented database stores data in objects. The most significant characteristic of objectoriented database technology is that it combines object-oriented programming with database
technology to provide an integrated application development system. Object-oriented databases
are designed to work well with object-oriented programming languages such as Java, C#, and
C++.
An object contains data, as well as actions that read or process the data. A Member object, for
example, might contain data about a member such as Member ID, First Name, Last Name, Address,
and so on. It also could contain instructions on how to print the member record or the formula required
to calculate a member's balance due. A record in a relational database, by contrast, would contain only
data about a member.

Object-oriented databases have several advantages compared with relational databases.


They can store more types of data, access this data faster, and allow programmers
to reuse objects. An object-oriented database stores unstructured data more efficiently
than a relational database. Unstructured data includes photographs, video clips, audio
clips, and documents. When users query an object-oriented database, the results often
display more quickly than the same query of a relational database.
If an object already exists, programmers can reuse it instead of recreating a new object saving on program development time. For example, if a Close button exists on each

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77

screen, the programmer only needs to write the code once, then place the same button on
each screen. This is called inheritance as discussed below.
The following are features of an object-oriented database:

Inheritance the ability to create new objects by allowing them to automatically


obtain the data members and the data operations of an existing class without rewriting
the code that is present in the existing class.

Polymorphism (many forms) the ability to have multiple classes of objects using the
same interfaces although the implementation details may vary from object to object.
For example, you can have a function/subroutine that calculates the area of an object.
The way it calculates area depends on the type of object that called the function. This
is because the formula for area is different for circle, rectangle, triangle etc. In other
words, there is one function called CALCULATE_AREA and multiple objects will
call this function, but the function behaves differently from object to object.

Encapsulation the ability of an object to hide its internal representation from the
program that uses it. This is accomplished by defining public interfaces and by
specifying that these public interfaces must be used when accessing the internal data.

Information-hiding - an object has a public interface that other objects can use to
communicate with it. The object can maintain private information and methods that
can be changed at any time without affecting other objects that depend on it. You
don't need to understand a bike's gear mechanism to use it.

Examples of object oriented databases include:

FastObjects
GemStone
KE Texpress
ObjectStore
Versant

Examples of applications appropriate for an object-oriented database include the


following:

A multimedia database stores images, audio clips, and/or video clips. For example, a
geographic information system (GIS) database stores maps. A voice mail system
database stores audio messages. A television news station database stores audio and
video clips.
A groupware database stores documents such as schedules, calendars, manuals, memos,
and reports. Users perform queries to search the document contents. For example, you
can search people's schedules for available meeting times.

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78

A computer-aided design (CAD) database stores data about engineering, architectural,


and scientific designs. Data in the database includes a list of components of the item
being designed, the relationship among the components, and previous versions of the
design drafts.
A hypertext database contains text links to other types of documents. A hypermedia
database contains text, graphics, video, and sound. The Web contains a variety of
hypertext and hypermedia databases. You can search these databases for items such as
documents, graphics, audio and video clips, and links to Web pages.
A Web database links to an e-form on a Web page. The Web browser sends and
receives data between the form and the database.

OODBs add database functionality to object programming languages. A major benefit is


the unification of the application and database development into a seamless data model
and language environment. As a result, applications require less code, use more natural
data modeling, and code bases are easier to maintain. Object developers can write
complete database applications with a modest amount of additional effort.
According to Rao (1994), "The object-oriented database (OODB) paradigm is the
combination of object-oriented programming language (OOPL) systems and persistent
systems. The power of the OODB comes from the seamless treatment of both persistent
data, as found in databases, and transient data, as found in executing programs." Data is a
database is said to be persistent (constant) because you can read a record at one point in
time and read the record at another point in time and the record is still there. In other
words, the record is not transient (temporary).
In contrast to a relational DBMS where a complex data structure must be flattened out to
fit into tables or joined together from those tables to form the in-memory structure,
OODBs have no performance overhead to store or retrieve a web or hierarchy of
interrelated objects. This one-to-one mapping of object programming language objects to
database objects has two benefits over other storage approaches: it provides higher
performance management of objects, and it enables better management of the complex
interrelationships between objects. This makes object DBMSs better suited to support
applications such as financial portfolio risk analysis systems, telecommunications service
applications, world wide web document structures, design and manufacturing systems,
and hospital patient record systems, which have complex relationships between data.
What is a hybrid object-relational database (ORD)?
An object-relational database (ORD) or object-relational database management
system (ORDBMS) combines features of the relational and object-oriented data models.
It is a relational database management system that allows developers to integrate the
database with their own custom data types and methods. The term object-relational
database is sometimes used to describe external software products running over
traditional DBMSs to provide similar features; these systems are more correctly referred
to as object-relational mapping systems.

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Whereas RDBMS or SQL-DBMS products focused on the efficient management of data


drawn from a limited set of data types (defined by the relevant language standards), an
object-relational DBMS allows software developers to integrate their own types and the
methods that apply to them into the DBMS. The goal of ORDBMS technology is to allow
developers to raise the level of abstraction at which they view the problem domain.
Object-relational database management systems (ORDBMSs) add new object storage
capabilities to the relational systems at the core of modern information systems. These
new facilities integrate management of traditional fielded data, complex objects such as
time-series and geospatial data and diverse binary media such as audio, video, images,
and applets. An applet is an application that has limited features, requires limited memory
resources, and is usually portable between operating systems.
By encapsulating methods with data structures, an ORDBMS server can execute complex
analytical and data manipulation operations to search and transform multimedia and other
complex objects. As an evolutionary technology, the object-relational (OR) approach has
inherited the robust transaction- and performance-management features of its relational
ancestor and the flexibility of its object-oriented cousin. Database designers can work
with familiar tabular structures while assimilating new object-management possibilities.
Examples of Object-relational databases include:
DB2
JDataStore
Oracle
Polyhedra
PostgreSQL

What is Object Definition Language (ODL)?


Object-oriented and object-relational databases often use a query language called object query
language (OQL) to manipulate and retrieve data. These databases also have an object definition
language (ODL). ODL is used to define and manipulate the objects in the database. ODL must
specify a description of the data that is stored in objects as well as a description of the operations
that the object can provide.
For example, an object could be defined as being a command button. Code could be written to
manipulate the button in various ways such as: raise the button, move its location, bring it into
focus, enlarge it etc.

Representation of an object oriented database.


In the sample website below, the object-oriented database contains buttons and a map. When the
user clicks on a particular area of the map, information on that area will appear. When the user
clicks on a button, there is a link to another web page. When the user puts their mouse over a
button, a description of the button appears.

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Multidimensional
o Stores data in dimensions.
o The number of dimensions varies
o Most have a time dimension
o Examples: D3, Oracle Express
The following shows the difference between the relational view of sales
data and the multidimensional view of sales data.
Relational View
INVOIC Table
E
Number Date
2034
2035
2036
2037

Custom
er
15/5/9 Dartoni
6
k
15/5/9 INC
6
16/5/9 Dartoni
6
k
16/5/9 INC
6

LINE

Table

Amou
nt
$3500

Numb
er
2034

$1800

2034

Produc Pric Quantit


t
e
y
Mouse $15
20
0
Disket $50
10
te

$2000
$800

Multidimensional View
Time Dimension
15/5/9 16/5/9 Totals
6
6
Dartonik
$3500 $2000 $5500
INC
$1800
$800 $2600
Totals
$5300 $2800 $8100
Sales figures occur at the intersection of a customer row and time column
Customer Dimension

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6.11. The advantages of databases

Reduced data redundancy most data items are stored in only one file which
greatly reduces duplicate data.
o There is also an economic advantage in not duplicating data
Data definition and documentation are standardized. (e.g. the dates in the
database are all reported in the same format)
Improved data integrity data modification is accomplished by changing only
one file, reducing the probability of introducing inconsistencies
Shared data
o Data belongs to and are shared, usually over a network, by the entire
organization.
o Information supplied to managers is more valuable because it is based on a
comprehensive collection of data instead of files, which contain only the
data needed for one application. (Total availability).
o The integration of different business systems is greatly facilitated.
o Security settings are usually used to define who have access to what level.
Easier record-keeping
Easier and Faster Access to data
o Non-technical users can access and maintain data if afforded the necessary
privileges
o As well as routine reports, it is possible to obtain ad-hoc reports to meet
particular requirements.
Reduced development/programming time (e.g. a programmer will take less time
to create a payroll system).

6.12. The disadvantages of databases

1.1.4.

Require more memory, storage and processing power


Data are more vulnerable than in file processing systems

1.1.3.

83

6.13. Data Warehousing


The need for data analysis.
Organizations tend to grow and prosper as they gain a better understanding of their environment.
Typically, business managers must be able to track daily transactions to evaluate how the
business is performing. By tapping into the operational database, management can develop
strategies to meet organizational goals. In addition, data analysis can provide information about
short-term tactical evaluations and strategies such as: are our sales promotions working? What
market percentage are we controlling? Are we attracting new customers? Tactical and strategic
decisions are also shaped by constant pressure from external and internal forces, including
globalization, the cultural and legal environment and, perhaps most important, technology.
Given the many and many and varied competitive pressures, managers are always looking for
competitive advantages through product development, service, marketing and so on. Managers
understand that their business climate is very dynamic, thus mandating their prompt reaction to
change in order to remain competitive. In other words, the decision making cycle time is reduced.
In addition, the modern business climate requires managers to approach increasingly complex
problems based on a rapidly growing number of internal and external variables. There is therefore
growing interest in creating support systems, dedicated to facilitating quick decision making in a
complex environment.
Different managerial levels require different decision support needs. For example, transaction
processing systems, based on operational databases, are tailored to serve the information needs of
people who deal with short term inventory, accounts payable or purchasing. Middle level
managers, general managers, vice-presidents and presidents focus on strategic and tactical
decision making. Such managers require detailed information designed to help them make
decisions in a complex data and analysis environment.

Data warehousing
Downloading does move data closer to the user and thereby increase its potential utility.
Unfortunately, while one or two download sites can be managed without a problem, if every
department wants to have its own source of downloaded data, the management problems become
immense. Accordingly, organizations began to look for some means of providing a
standardized service for moving data to the user and making them more useful. That service
is called data warehousing.

What is a data warehouse?


A data warehouse (DW) is a huge database that stores and manages the data required to
analyze historical and current transactions. A data warehouse contains a wide variety of data
that present a coherent picture of business conditions at a single point in time. A data warehouse
includes not only data but also tools, procedures, training, personnel and other resources that
make access to the data easier and more relevant to decision makers. The goal of the data
warehouse is to increase the value of the organizations data asset. It typically has a user-friendly
interface so users easily can interact with its data. It is designed to support management decision
making. Through a data warehouse, managers and other users access transactions and summaries

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84

transactions quickly and efficiently. The databases in a data warehouse usually are quite large.
Development of a data warehouse includes development of systems to extract data from operating
systems plus installation of a warehouse database system that provides managers flexible access
to the data.

Figure A Data Warehouse (DW)

The role of the data warehouse is to store extracts from operational data and make them available
to users in a useful format. The data can be extracts from databases and files, but can also be
document images, recordings, photos and other non-scalar data. The source data could also be
purchased from other organizations. The data warehouse stores the extracted data and also
combines it, aggregates2 it, transforms it and makes it available to users via tools that are
designed for analysis and decision making such as OLAP (see section What is On-line analytical
processing (OLAP)? below).
A comparison of data warehouse and operational database characteristics
Characteristic
Integrated

Operational database data


Similar data can have different
representations or meanings

Subject-Oriented

Data are stored with a functional


or process orientation (for

Data warehouse data


Provide a unified view of all data
elements with a common definition and
representation for all departments.
Data are stored with a subject
orientation that facilitates multiple

A collection of, or the total of, disparate elements

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85

example, invoices, credits, debits


etc).
Time-Variant

Non-volatile

Data represent current


transactions (e.g. the sales of a
product in a given data).
Data updates and deletes are very
common.

views for data and decision making


(e.g. sales, products, sales by products
etc.)
Data are historic in nature. A time
dimension is added to facilitate data
analysis and time comparisons.
Data cannot be changed. Data are only
added periodically from operational
systems. Once data are stored, no
changes are allowed.

Evolution of the data warehouse.


The origins of todays Data Warehouses can be traced to the reporting systems that were popular
in the 1980s. These reporting systems provided some basic answers to the end users questions,
although the format wasnt always the most appropriate. The end users questions, although the
format wasnt always the most appropriate. The reporting systems that formed the foundation of
basic decision support required direct access to the operational data through a menu interface to
yield predefined report structures. Typically, the reporting system was front-ended by a text-only
presentation tool.
The next development stage produced a sophisticated form of decision support by supplying
lightly summarized data extracted form the operational database. Such lightly summarized data
were usually stored in an RDBMS and were accessed through SQL statements via a query tool.
The SQL-based query tool provided some predefined reports and, better yet, some ad hoc query
capability. Unfortunately, to use the queries the end user had to know the details of the underlying
data structure. The presentation tool was similar to the one used by the original reporting system,
but it did provided additional customization options for ad hoc reports. A variation on this theme
of greater end user empowerment was the use of spreadsheets or statistical packages to analyze
operational data. End users used their own desktop tools to access and manipulate data in order to
support their decision making process.
Primitive as they were by current standards, these reporting systems and their extensions gave IS
departments the first major tools with which to solve decision support problems. Given advances
in hardware and software in the late 1980s and early to mid-1990s, the explosion of available
operational data, and the growing sophistication of decision support systems, data warehouse
developments were almost inevitable.

What is a data mart?


Some organizations decide to limit the scope of the warehouse to more manageable chunks. A
data mart is a smaller version of a data warehouse, containing a database that helps a
specific group or department make decisions. Marketing and sales departments may have their
own separate data marts. Individual groups or departments often extract data from the data
warehouse to create their data marts.

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Restricting a data mart to a particular type of data makes the management of the data warehouse
simpler and probably means that an off-the-shelf DBMS product can be used to manage the data
warehouse. Metadata3 is also simpler and easier to maintain.
A data mart that is restricted to a particular business function, such as marketing analysis, may
have many types of data and metadata to maintain, but all of those data serve the same type of
users. Tools for managing the data warehouse and for providing data to the users can be written
with an eye toward the requirements that marketing analysts are likely to have.
A data mart that is restricted to a particular business unit or geographical area may have many
types of input and many types of users, but the amount of data to be managed is less than for the
entire company. There will also be fewer requests for service, so the data warehouse resources
can be allocated to fewer users.
The following diagram summarizes the scope of alternatives for sharing data. Data downloading
is the smallest and easiest alternative. Data are extracted from operational systems and delivered
to particular users for specific purposes. The downloaded data are provided on a regular and
recurring basis, so the structure of the application is fixed, the users are well trained, and
problems such as timing and domain inconsistencies are unlikely to occur because users gain
experience working with the same data. At the other extreme, a data warehouse provides
extensive types of data and services for both recurring and ad hoc requests. Data marts fall in the
middle. As we move from left to right, the alternatives become more powerful but also more
expensive and difficult to create.

Data Marts
Data
Downloading

Particular Data
Inputs

Particular
Business
Functions

Particular
Business Unit or
Geographical
Region

Easier

Data Warehouse

More Difficult
Figure - Continuum of Enterprise Data Sharing

Components of a data warehouse

3
4

Data extraction tools


Extracted data
Metadata4 of warehouse contents
Warehouse DBMS(s) and OLAP (online analytical processing) servers
Warehouse data management tools
Data delivery programs
End-user analysis tools
User training courses and materials
Warehouse consultants

Data about the data such a field names, field types, validation rules etc).
Data about the data such a field names, field types, validation rules etc).

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The source of the warehouse is operational data or data generated from routine transaction
processing systems such as Sales, Registration of a student, Payroll, Banking deposit/withdrawal
etc. The data warehouse therefore needs tools for extracting the data and storing them. These data
however are not useful without metadata and describe the nature of the data, their origins, their
format, limits on their use and other characteristics of the data that influence the way they can and
should be used.
Potentially, the data warehouse contains billions of bytes of data in many different formats.
Accordingly, it needs DBMS and OLAP servers of its own to store and process the data. In fact,
several DBMS and OLAP products may be used, and the features and functions of these may be
augmented by additional in-house developed software the reformats, aggregates5, integrates and
transfers data from one processor to another within the data warehouse. Programs may be needed
to store and process non-scalar data like graphics and animations also.
Because the purpose of the data warehouse is to make organizational data more available, the
warehouse must include tools not only to deliver the data to the users but also to transform the
data for analysis, query and reporting, and OLAP for user-specified aggregation and disaggregation.
The data warehouse provides an important, but complicated set of resources and services. Hence
the warehouse needs to include training courses, training materials and on-line help utilities, and
other similar training products to make it easy for users to take advantage of the warehouse
resources. Finally, the data warehouse includes knowledgeable personnel who can serve as
consultants.

What is On-line analytical processing (OLAP)?


OLAP refers to an advanced data analysis environment that supports decision making,
business modelling, and operations research activities. OLAP systems share four major
characteristics, these are:
1. Use multidimensional data analysis techniques
2. Provide advanced database support
3. Provide easy-to-use end user interfaces
4. Support client/server architecture

A collection of, or the total of, disparate elements

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The following shows the difference between the operational view of sales data and the
multidimensional view of sales data.
Operational View
INVOICE Table
Number
Date
2034
15/5/96
2035
15/5/96
2036
16/5/96
2037
16/5/96

LINE
Number
2034
2034

Customer Amount
Dartonik
$3500
INC
$1800
Dartonik
$2000
INC
$800

Table
Product Price
Quantity
Mouse
$150
20
Diskette
$50
10

Multidimensional View
Customer Dimension
Dartonik
INC
Totals

Time Dimension
15/5/96 16/5/96 Totals
$3500
$2000 $5500
$1800
$800 $2600
$5300
$2800 $8100

Sales figures occur at the intersection of a customer row and time column

What is data mining?


Often, the database is distributed. Data warehouses often use a process called data mining. Data
mining is a process that often is used by data warehouses to find patterns and relationships
among data. E.g. A state government could mine through data to check if the number of births
has a relationship to income level. Many e-commerce sites use data mining to determine customer
preferences.
Examples of data mining findings can be:
65% of customers who did not use their credit card in the last six months are 88% likely to
cancel their account
82% of customers who bought a new TV 27 or larger are 90% likely to buy and
entertainment center within the next four weeks
If age < 30 and income <= 25000 and credit rating < 3 and credit amount > 25000 then the
minimum loan term is 10 years.

User requirements for a data warehouse


The requirements for a data warehouse are different from the requirements for a traditional
database application. For one, a typical database application, the structure of reports and queries
is standardized. While the data in a report or query may vary from month to month, for instance,
the structure of the report or query stays the same. Data warehouse users, on the other hand, often
need to change the structure of queries and reports.
Another difference is that users want to do their own data aggregation6. For example, a user who
wants to investigate the impact of different marketing campaigns may want to aggregate product
sales according to package color at one time; according to marketing program at another time;
6

To collect or total disparate elements

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according to package color within marketing program at a third time. The analyst wants the same
data in each report; but simply presents it differently.
Data warehouse users also want to dis-aggregate them in their own terms, or drill down their
data. For example, a user may be presented with a screen that shows total product sales for a
given year. The user may then want to be able to click on the data and have them explode into
sales by month; to click again and have the data explode into sales by product by month or sales
by region by product by month.
Graphical output is another common requirement. Users want to see results of geographic data
in geographic form. Sales by state and province should be shown on a map. A reshuffling of
employees and offices should be shown on a diagram of office space. These requirements are
more difficult because they vary from user to user and from task to task.
Many users of data warehouse facilities want to import warehouse data into domain-specific
programs. For example, financial analysts want to import data into their spreadsheet models and
into more sophisticated financial analysis programs. Portfolio managers want to import data into
portfolio management programs, and oil drilling engineers want to import data into seismic
analysis programs. All of this importing usually means that the warehouse data needs to be
formatted in specific ways.

Rules for defining a data warehouse.


The following list is made up of 12 rules that define a data warehouse. This list was created by
William H. Inmon and Chuck Kelley in 1994.
1. The data warehouse and operational environments are separated.
2. The data warehouse data are integrated.
3. The data warehouse contains historical data over a long time horizon.
4. The data warehouse data are snapshot data captured at a given point in time.
5. The data warehouse data are subject-oriented.
6. The data warehouse data are mainly read-only periodic batch updates from operational
data. No online updates are allowed.
7. The data warehouse development life cycle differs from classical systems development.
The data warehouse development is data driven; the classical approach is process driven.
8. The data warehouse contains data with several levels of detail: current details data, old
detail data, lightly summarized, and highly summarized data.
9. The data warehouse environment is characterized by read-only transactions to very large
data sets. The operational environment is characterized by numerous update transactions
to a few data entities at a time.
10. The data warehouse environment has a system that traces data sources, transformations
and storage.

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11. The data warehouses metadata7 are a critical component of this environment. The
metadata identify and define all data elements. The metadata provide the source,
transformation, integration, storage, usage, relationships, and history of each data
element.
12. The data warehouse contains a charge-back mechanism for resource usage that enforces
optimal use of the data by end users.
The 12 rules capture the data warehouse life cycle, from its introduction as an entity separate
from the operational data store, to its components, functionality, and management processes. The
current generation of specialized decision support systems provides a comprehensive
infrastructure to design, develop, implement and use decision support systems within an
organization.

Data about the data such a field names, field types, validation rules etc).

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7. Module 7 Information Technology in the business office


7.1.

Definition and purpose of office automation

Office automation (OA) refers to the use of information processing and communication
technologies for writing, collecting, storing, organizing, retrieving, and communicating
office data. It changes the way people work. It affects the job itself, the flow of
information through an organization, the process of management and even the corporate
structure.
Paperless office email, electronic filing, file security, internet, intranet
Electronic conferencing
Software word processing, spreadsheet, powerpoint, databases, business systems,
desktop publishing
Equipment
Fax machines
Computers, workstations
Printers
Scanners, Cameras

7.2.

Features of office automation

Facsimile
(FAX) device that transmits and receives documents over telephone lines.
Voice mail
Communications technology that functions much like an answering machine,
allowing callers to leave a voice message for an individual.
Voice messaging
Voice mail is a service that functions much like an answering machine, allowing a
person to leave a voice message for one or more persons. Voice messaging is
using voice mail as an alternative to electronic mail, in which voice messages are
intentionally recorded, not because the recipient was not available.

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Telemarketing
Selling over the telephone.
Teleconferencing
Conferencing is where people meet and see and speak to each other. Teleconferencing is
conferencing via telecommunication channels. The user is able to see and hear a person at the
other end of the line in another location. Teleconferencing requires a camera, microphone,
speakers and the appropriate communication software. Once this technology catches on it will be
very popular and be a huge money maker. Teleconferencing minimizes the time and cost spent
traveling (no hotel fees, jet lag etc.) The world becomes smaller place (global marketplace). You
can have business meetings with all the desired people when and where need to.

Telecommuting
Commuting is traveling from one location to the other, such as from work to home.
Telecommuting is where a person does not have to travel to work but works from home and
connects to his office via telecommunication channels. (i.e. commuting/going to work via
telecommunication channels)
Advantages

Less traffic on the roads, less pollution etc.


Reduction in expenses such as work clothes, gas etc.
Reduction in the need for parking spaces and offices for staff

Disadvantages

Persons who are not disciplined enough will not be productive as they will talk on the phone,
watch tv, eat etc instead of work.
Anti-social behaviour will result as there is limited social interaction.

This will not be possible with all jobs

Electronic fund transfer


This system permits the movement of money by means of electronic signals relayed between
computers via such means as telephone lines and radio waves. Designed primarily to reduce
banking costs by decreasing paperwork, EFT virtually eliminates the use of cash, checks, and
conventional credit cards. In such a system, salaries, social security payments, and other income
are credited directly to a user's account. Payment of utility bills, rent, or home mortgage loans are
likewise made directly, with the amount of the outlays deducted from the balance of the account.

E-commerce
the conducting of business online, including shopping, banking, investing. E-commerce
(electronic-commerce) refers to business over the Internet. Web sites such as
Amazon.com, Outpost.com, and eBay are all e-commerce sites. The two major
forms of e-commerce are Business-to-Consumer (B2C) and Business-to-Business
(B2B). While companies like Amazon.com cater mostly to consumers, other
companies provide goods and services exclusively to other businesses. The terms

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"e-business" and "e-tailing" are often used synonymously with e-commerce. They
refer to the same idea; they are just used to confuse people trying to learn
computer terms.
Electronic mail
E-mail, short for electronic mail, is the transmission of messages over
communications networks. The messages can be notes entered from the keyboard
or electronic files stored on disk. Most mainframes, minicomputers, and computer
networks have an e-mail system. Some electronic-mail systems are confined to a
single computer system or network, but others have gateways to other computer
systems, enabling users to send electronic mail anywhere in the world. Companies
that are fully computerized make extensive use of e-mail because it is fast,
flexible, and reliable.
Most e-mail systems include a rudimentary text editor for composing messages,
but many allow you to edit your messages using any editor you want. You then
send the message to the recipient by specifying the recipient's address. You can
also send the same message to several users at once. This is called broadcasting.
Sent messages are stored in electronic mailboxes until the recipient fetches them.
To see if you have any mail, you may have to check your electronic mailbox
periodically, although many systems alert you when mail is received. After
reading your mail, you can store it in a text file, forward it to other users, or delete
it. Copies of memos can be printed out on a printer if you want a paper copy.
All online services and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offer e-mail, and most
also support gateways so that you can exchange mail with users of other systems.
Usually, it takes only a few seconds or minutes for mail to arrive at its destination.
This is a particularly effective way to communicate with a group because you can
broadcast a message or document to everyone in the group at once.

Internet
The Internet is a large, international computer network linking millions of users
around the world that use the TCP/IP protocols. It is used daily by many
individuals for the main purposes of sending and receiving electronic mail (email), obtaining information on almost any subject, or to communicate with
others around the world. Access to the Internet is obtained by subscription, and an
Internet address is needed to receive or to send a message. Such addresses have a
specific format that specifies the name of the user, the machine they are working
on, and where that machine is located.
Advantages
Better communication email, chat rooms etc.

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Easier, faster access to information


Less travelling e.g. to a library, store
More convenient e.g. shopping, paying bills

Disadvantages
Exposure of children to pornography, pedofiles, harmful information
Can be addictive for some persons
Persons unable to socialize

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7.3.

Application of computers in various fields

Hotel
To make bookings for rooms
To bill guests
To prepare financial statements
To pay hotel staff
To do banking transactions (eg customer pays by credit card)
Advantages
Able to handle customers better can check if rooms available
etc.
Able to produce bills faster therefore check out is better.
Education
Timetabling
Student records - grades
Transcripts
Schools at all levels recognize the importance of training students to use computers
effectively. Students can no longer rely solely on their textbooks for information. They
must also learn to do their research on the World Wide Web. Efforts are underway to
connect schools to the Internet, but schools must be able to afford the equipment, the
connection charges, and the cost of training teachers.
Libraries that traditionally contained only books and other printed material now have PCs
to allow their patrons to go online. Some libraries are transferring their printed
information into databases. Rare and antique books are being photographed page by page
and put onto CD-ROMs.

Advantages
Computers have proved to be valuable educational tools. Computer-assisted instruction,
or CAI, uses computerized lessons that range from simple drills and practice sessions to
complex interactive tutorials. These programs have become essential teaching tools in
medical schools and military training centers, where the topics are complex and the cost
of human teachers is extremely high. Educational aids, such as some encyclopedias and
other major reference works, are available to personal-computer users--either on
magnetic disks or optical discs or through various telecommunication networks such as
the Internet.

Banking
Account balances - deposit, withdrawals, transfers
Calculate interest, withholding tax, loans
Bank charges - credit card etc.
ATM, ABM
Advantages

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A more sophisticated form of electronic banking that may eventually become


the standard means of conducting financial transactions is electronic funds
transfer (EFT). This system permits the movement of money by means of
electronic signals relayed between computers via such means as telephone
lines and radio waves. Designed primarily to reduce banking costs by
decreasing paperwork, EFT virtually eliminates the use of cash, checks, and
conventional credit cards. In such a system, salaries, social security
payments, and other income are credited directly to a user's account. Payment
of utility bills, rent, or home mortgage loans are likewise made directly, with
the amount of the outlays deducted from the balance of the account.
Another EFT feature is the extensive use of remote point-of-sale terminals
linking stores and banks, which allows purchases to be charged against bank
accounts. (MULTILINK) An EFT transaction of this kind requires the use of
a debit card similar to the one employed with automated tellers. The card is
coded with information that identifies the bank and account number of the
cardholder. The store clerk inserts the customer's card into an EFT terminal
and enters the price of the item. The terminal, equipped with either a
magnetic tape reader or laser scanner, reads the encoded information and
contacts the customer's bank whose computer checks the appropriate
account, compares the balance and the amount of the funds requested, and
then sends back approval to the store. The funds are transferred electronically
to the merchant's bank and credited to his account. The entire transaction is
accomplished within minutes regardless of the geographical distances
between the point of sale and the banks involved. This eliminates the need
for cash.

Update balances faster.


ATMs no need to go into the bank to do a transaction.

Disadvantages
ATMs have been burglarized.
Computer crime allows people to steal money

Home
Advantages
Can reorder groceries on the internet
Home security systems
Program appliances, lights etc.
Shopping from Home
Research from Home
School from home
Most recent-model cars are equipped with computerized ignition and fuel
systems designed to increase fuel economy and performance. Japanese
engineers also have developed a car with an on-board computer that the
driver can use to plan his route. The driver simply enters his intended
destination into the computer, which transmits the information to special
roadside computer-sensor units. These units measure and analyze the traffic

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flow on all possible routes to the desired destination and recommend the one
with the least amount of traffic.

Disadvantages
Encourages laziness not walking in the stores.
Parents are often concerned about what their children can access on the

Internet. They can install special programs called Web filters that
automatically block access to Web sites that may be unsuitable for children.
Some people are concerned that online shopping will put many physical
retail stores out of business, to the detriment of personal one-on-one service.
Criminals can log into the Internet just like everyone else, and they can
commit crimes against other people who are also logged in. These criminals
may give out false information to encourage others to send them money.
They may also be predators who use the anonymity afforded by chat rooms
and discussion groups to meet people under false pretences.

Too little social contact with humans

Supermarkets
Advantages
Allow faster processing at the cash register point of sale system (by
reading UPC universal product code/bar code)
No need for cashier to remember the prices, reduces errors made by
the cashier
Calculates GCT and change instantly
Instant update of stock balances
Debit and credit cards enable no use of cash, which can be stolen
Disadvantages
Automated systems, however, do have certain limitations and drawbacks.
Although usually very reliable, they can malfunction. Moreover, an entire
system may fail to operate properly if there is a single error in setting it up. A
backup system has to be provided or a human "override" capability built into
the system so that operations can be handled manually. (E.g. what happens
when bar code reader malfunctions.)

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