Discuss about the Availability and Integrity in Cloud Computing.
Information systems (IS) are subsets of information technology that enables users to manage data. Their general objective is usually to analyze data in order to give conclusive results for decision making. This aim is often accomplished using three distinctive data functions; data collection, data processing, and data storage. Business today apply this technology to gain a competitive edge while increasing their market shares. Essentially, an enterprise will improve its overall understanding of the organization by constantly analyzing the data affiliated with it. The same process also facilitates efficient business transactions and operations, as the same resources provide the basis for making in-house decisions. Four Seasons Greenhouse and Nursery through its activities illustrates the application of IS in business, a process that yields several benefits as highlighted below. As such, this short report analyses the impact of information technology in business particularly through IS.
Through the three data functions, the POS system provides a platform to manage data. This process facilitates the operations of the business such as the control of supplies which is now based on credible results. Moreover, the system provides a robust application to track raw data which helps manage inventory based on the returns it offers the enterprise. Furthermore, the roles of the employees are governed by an automated system which saves time as no extra supervision is needed (Cordella and Iannacci 2012). Finally, through the general functions of the program, the company makes better decisions that are based on facts and not guesswork.
At the same time, the POS system does introduce several limitations to business, particularly those of security and privacy. Since the application is given unsolicited access to users’ data, it provides a central point of attack. Moreover, because it uses an open platform (internet) it exposes sensitive information to unknown individuals if it is attacked (Hanks 2018). Thus, the main drawbacks of the POS system are related to its security, privacy, and confidentiality.
Three general principles are often used by enterprises to gain competitive advantages; review of strengths, reduction of costs and the focus on customer services. The POS system provides these elements through its core functionalities. In the first item, the application helps Four Season to determine the most profitable resources, in the form of supplies and sales. Furthermore, through the data analytics performed, it facilitates the organization in identifying its strengths such as the best-selling item and the most efficient employee. Secondly, the POS program enables the business to reduce the cost of production by highlighting the elements with most financial losses (Xu and Quaddus 2013). The same benefits are also used to focus on the most profitable items. Finally, the customer is made the central focus for the business as their preferences and requirements are constantly provided by the system.
Advantages of a Centralized Database
Although differentiation is often recommended in technological activities, its application in database system yields complicated structures for storing data. A centralized system is recommended as it provides a common location to access resources, unlike a decentralized system that requires prior knowledge before application. Therefore, the first benefit of a centralized database is the usability which is often easy and efficient. Moreover, with a central structure comes better control that is easily implemented by the basic protocols of a database system. An additional advantage is also achieved because of the enhanced control that of integrity as a few items are managed without any form of redundancy (Linx 2016). Finally, the security of the resource is improved as the user focuses on one common item and thus can concentrate all security parameters in it.
Decision making is a product of data management and thus will improve the analysis of information.
Business activities – without the guidance of the system, the enterprise perform all its functions based on intuition i.e. without any factual basis. However, with the POS application, the business activities are determined by the data analytics which can project future results while managing the immediate outcomes (Davoren 2018).
Manual tracking of information – prior to the introduction of the POS system, Four Seasons used manual processes to track its activities, more so its data. These actions involved the physical collection of inventory data and its analysis among many other functions. Although it was possible to do so, these procedures were extremely tedious and inefficient. Essentially, this work was done by single individuals and unlike a machine, they had their own limitations. Thus, on top of being overworked, they were prone to errors (WUP 2018). Furthermore, their rate of work could not be compared to an information system as these applications are specifically designed for this role. Finally, manual tracking could not account for all the items being analyzed, an outcome that may have affected the security of the process.
Questions answered – the most profitable item and the least productive employee, are some of the questions answered by the POS system. In essence, an IS can provide solutions to any problem that involves data and in this case, all business functions are represented by information. Thus, questions regarding the inventory, sales, finances, employees and even the environment are covered.
Use of information – knowledge management (KM) highlights the role of information in business. KM involves a collection of experiences that assist an organization in managing their activities and functions. Therefore, because of information certain lessons learned in the past are used to avoid future errors or extend benefits (UOS 2018).
The POS system represents the software component for information management. For complete functionality, the computing resources are needed together with the networking infrastructure. These additional resources are determined by the objectives of the system which in this case are, to boost business activities and to increase customer engagement.
In the first objective, Four Season aims to increase the efficiency of the in-house activities such as employee management and inventory control. Thus, the network chosen should first address this requirement, hence the choice for a Local Area Network (LAN). LANs connect computers (electronic devices) within short distances or areas. In most cases, they are facilitated by physical boundaries such as buildings or enclosed compound areas. By establishing this network, a privatized connection is developed to host the functions of the POS system (IU 2018). Furthermore, the network is deployed using TCP/IP protocols which can link with external networks for other extended activities. Thus, the LAN can transform into a MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) or WAN (Wide Area Network) by routing to the public addresses.
Both wired and wireless technologies are needed for this application because they each have their own benefits. For the wired technologies, their bandwidth will increase the functionalities of the system more so, during data analysis. Moreover, their physical nature will increase the network’s security. Copper cables would be recommended for this application as they are cheaper and readily available. On the other hand, wireless technologies would increase the availability of the resources (RF Wireless World 2018). In this case, Wi-Fi (standard 802.11) would be recommended.
POS System Risks
Privacy issues arise in this system because individual’s data such location, date of birth and financial information, is stored in remote locations. The POS system is also likely to be hosted online to increase its customer engagement and this set-up may expose the said data to intrusion or security vulnerabilities found on the internet. As such, if the system is attacked, private data will be leaked to the public which will break all confidentiality agreements. Furthermore, the same problem may also occur if malicious individuals within the organization use their authority to intrude on other people’s resources. When all these items are combined, the security of the data comes into question as the system is meant to protect its users. Through its functions, the POS system should only be accessed by the authorized members to maintain the integrity of its resources (Measure Evaluation 2018). When this objective is compromised its security and more importantly that of the users are lost.
Data encryption and authentication should be the first step to protecting the business from the risks identified above. This solution would see the system encrypt the transmitted information to prevent intruders from accessing it. Moreover, through the concept of authentication, only the verified members would gain access to the POS system. A second solution would be the implementation of a security policy (Aldossary and Allen 2016). This policy would cover the technical aspects of the application such as firewalls and anti-malware systems, as well as the users’ agreements. Through this agreement, the responsibilities of the users, including their security roles would be outlined.
Information systems offer many benefits to business because of their ability to manage data. Essentially, these applications analyze data whose results are then used to make accurate decisions. The same process also helps enterprises to gain competitive advantages where operating costs are reduced, while sales are increased. Four Seasons Greenhouse and Nursery attest to these benefits as highlighted above where its financial margins are seen to increase after adopting a POS system.
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