Information has to travel through different types of pathways in order to be received and used. Think of the pathways of information like the transit system. Information is loaded into systems by using input devices, like keyboards or touchscreens. After the information is imputed it is transferred to some type of storage medium, whether hard disk drive, RAM, or CD’s or DVD’s. Once this information is transferred it is then able to be accessed and used as long as the correct permissions are assigned. The storage allows for future access and the ability to retransmit the data to another device, by using the LAN, WAN, Internet or removable devices like flash drives or external hard drives.
The ability to create and use information would not be possible without the hardware that allows the user to input the information they want others to read or use. It can go down to basic components like computers, keyboard, hard drives, etc. However, in conjunction with the hardware there has to be software which outputs the data so the user can read it. Once the data is read the user can create databases or upload the information to different locations like a cloud based server. Once again with the ability to do this would not be possible without special types of hardware that allows this. The hardware in reference is NIC cards, routers, switches, hub, etc. All of these things make it possible for information to be transmitted around the world. Of course to simply transmit data and information around the world could be a very simple thing, until you add in the steps necessary to protect the data.
In my current job we do not use very much resources to transmit data or even create it. However, a company that we work for uses networks and even special communication cables to transmit and receive data from different devices within the building we are working. Basically there are controllers that connect via a two or three conductor cable and which connects to devices mounted on air handler systems. These devices take in an enormous amount of complex data and regularly transmit the data to the controller which then relays the information to a computer that is on the mainframes network. This network allows the company the ability to have remote access to the controller which allows them to be able to change certain values in order to make the air handlers run more smoothly.
Some of the data that is transferred include, outside air pressure, discharge air temp, return air temp, and there are even safety measures transmitting to ensure smooth operation. Once an alarm is triggered the device sends data to the controller which then relays the alarm to the computer which outputs the reason for the alarm and specifies what triggered the alarm. A technician can then go on the computer and adjust whatever values need adjusting to remove the alarm and resume proper operation. Without this network of devices and controllers and computers there would be no way for these issues to be resolved in a timely manner. Seeing how allot of the work we do is in Charlottes main healthcare system, by us not being able to have quick and painless connectivity many peoples wellbeing could be at risk.
The one thing the company I work for makes sure of is security for their systems and networks. Although the physical network is not part of the company’s infrastructure it is protected from other people trying to access it because it is their equipment, cables, controllers, and devices. The hospitals have no access to these systems because one wrong value can be the difference between freezing temperatures or summer conditions in the building. The company, Johnson Controls, uses three different programs that have to be authenticated before access is granted. Firstly the technician has to slide their finger over the fingerprint scanner to access the computer that connects to the controllers. Seems like a correct finger scan would be all that’s necessary for accessing the system, however, the IT personnel decided to add two more layers of security due to the nature of their business.
Secondly the technician has to scan their badge into a card reader type of device that pops up a screen that greets the technician as a Johnson Control employee. Once again not enough security in the minds of Johnson Controls so the final security measure is an encrypted password, that if it is entered incorrectly starts the whole process over again. After talking with multiple technicians the consensus is that they cannot stand all the security measure, but they do understand the purpose. Perhaps the best measure the company has against potential invasions is that all the equipment they use from top to bottom is made by themselves. This ensures that only their employees are trained and permitted to use the equipment. Other people might look at the equipment and be dumbfounded due to the processes and certain protocols in place on how to use the equipment to access any information.
Although I currently do not work in an environment that utilizes servers and multiple computers, I do see how information is passed through devices to controllers and finally to computers or networks. Even though there is multiple types of information the way it is used and flows follow the same path. Without hardware and software there would be no way to use and transmit the data. As the technology continues to change and become more advanced, I am sure the way information is used will change along with it.