Going through the three individual courses this week in regards to Data Storage, Security, Recovery and Disposal has given me a new set of eyes on how information flows and is used among an organization’s computer infrastructure. What I found amazing about these processes is just how far we have come in these last few years when it comes to the technology of Digital Data. I will go over the individual topics that show the benefits, but also the drawbacks of such technology the way it is used at my work place, which is one of the largest Financial Institutions in the United States.
When we look back years ago when computers did not exist, it always puzzles me how is it that banks stored our information. I can only imagine the vast amounts of bank records in immense rooms that if you needed to research a certain transaction you did a few years back, even though I’m sure paperwork was kept in a certain order, it would be a hassle to get to it. Once computers came into play in the recent years and no longer you had to go to your local branch to do all your business, no longer you needed to sign a Signature Card, things have simplified immensely. You can go into any bank location and if you needed a history of your recent transactions, statements from a few months or even years’ back, it is stored in the bank’s centralized mainframe where all data is stored.
When we speak about Data Security today, we seem to forget how things were done back before computers came into play. One example I like to use is Frank William Abagnale Jr., who forged a vast amount of checks. (“Frank Abagnale – Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia”, n.d.). He was able to do all that by finding the loopholes in our financial system and used it to his advantage. When you consider today’s digital financial system with credit cards, debit cards, it is of major convenience to everyone that uses it. I can now buy an item through the Internet and the company selling it to me is able to immediately put a hold on the funds at my banking institution, creating a positive experience for both buyer (transaction was processed) and seller (funds were deposited into their account). However, also creates the risk of identify theft if not used properly.
I think of Data Recovery something that was non-existant back in the days before computers existed. If you had mailed a check or sensitive financial information over to someone, if it was lost or stolen, there was no way to recover it had the person in possession either burned or ripped the information to pieces. In today’s world, there are so many forms of legitimate back-ups that it doesn’t seem to be an issue anymore. If a certain hard disk where my information is kept ends up failing, there is a backup of it at another disk that will still tell me how much funds I have and my transaction history. And what’s amazing is that all that happens seamlessly without my knowledge.
Data Disposal is something that hasn’t really changed with the computer age. However, we are now disposing of the physical item that holds our information, instead of the information itself. Back when I signed my Signature Card at the bank and they kept it at that location, once they moved it over to a digital system, they disposed of that card and transferred it to a digital file in a hard disk drive. Now if they wanted to dispose of the same “signature card” they can write bits of data over where my signature card was or physically destroy the hard disk where it was stored. It does create the problem where if it’s not properly disposed, another person could retrieve my information.
In conclusion, I can say that how information is used and flows through an organization today depends how well the people in charge of the system itself are aware of the risks of not properly handling the different terms involved: Storage, Security, Recovery and Disposal. With most organizations today using computer information systems as opposed to paper how it was used years ago the terms have largely stayed the same, however, with a different focus on how the data is now handled.
Frank Abagnale – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Abagnale