Information Flow Must Be Relevant and Specific
Although there exists an age-old saying “too much information is never enough,” specific need must be established in order to disseminate information properly. Without specific guidelines, information flood inhibits the ability to tailor the data for use and brings up privacy issues, which must ultimately be addressed and mitigated. In the military, there exists a multitude of data and information that is passed on a daily basis. From supply and logistics information, medical and dental information, and tactical and technical information, the information needed to operate and maintain a small piece of the military is exponential. Without clear and structured guidelines on how that information is collected and used, our military would be faced with an inordinate amount of data, but with no real method of using the information.
The information must also be stored within systems that provide access to relevant information, and at the same time ensure that the contents of those systems are able to withstand any and all attempts to circumnavigate the security measures within the system. Within the organization, there are a different types of information. One such type is personal information dealing with individuals. Sensitive information like medical history, dental history, and current prescriptions is information that must be limited to the service providers, while still maintaining the privacy and security of the individual. For that reason, systems are developed to run on an independent network that limits medical facilities and their providers with this information. From the doctor or nurse’s input into the system, this information is maintained on databases and servers that are secured, allowing access only to those systems that have a vested interest in the patient.
Departments such as pharmacy, appointment scheduling, and referrals will all be allowed some access to an individual’s information. The delineating factor in providing this information is the ability to limit these different systems to only the information necessary to provide proper care. One example is a pharmacy knowing what type of medication a person needs without the entire medical history being on display for all within the pharmacy to view. Another example is information about specific, day-to-day operations. Within an organization, even a secure facility, information that is discussed and passed does not always warrant access by everyone within the facility. That is why classifications exist, in order to minimize the access of information to only those who are authorized while keeping records of where the information has been. With classified information, the method must also exist to transport the information using today’s technologies.
A secure, independent network exists within the military that provides a transport strictly for secure and classified information called The Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet, or SIPR). Another system, used for less sensitive information, is called The Non-Classified Internet Protocol Router Network (NIPRNet, or NIPR). NIPR is divided internally in the organization through the use of different Virtual Local Area Networks (VLAN’s) to allow different departments within the organization to communicate with each other without fear of overlapping their information with other agencies. NIPR is also widely known as the typical internet for the military since normal internet access is located within NIPR. Collectively, these two systems provide the military and its organizations to function and communicate on a daily basis, allowing the required departments and personnel access to relevant information without fear of privacy concerns.
It can be argued that today’s society is dependent on information and that too much information is never enough. Some would argue that with more information at its disposal, companies, products and governments could provide better support and a higher standard of living for all. However, it is inherent on organizations with desires of a multitude of information to limit their scope of to the necessary information, in order to prohibit information from being used in a hurtful or destructive manner. Ultimately, information flow starts and ends with the individual. It is the individual that provides information, transports information, and ultimately accesses information. It is the individual that must be the one who ensures that information is being handled in methods that serves its purpose, but does not infringe on the privacy of others.