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The distinction between data and information can tend to bequite confusing as they are almost similar. However, they are both completelydifferent and defined differently to how others think. To begin with data israw which is collected and usually number based which is then processed for itto become information. If data was not processed nothing would make sense andwould seem useless until it is organised. Information on the other hand is thecomplete opposite as it has already been organised and processed whereas datais raw and still needs to be processed. Information is presented and structuredso professionally so the context makes sense and looks organised.

Data can becollected in several different ways. This all depends on how you would like todisplay the information including the layout of it. There can be an electronicversion or a paper form version of the data.

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Furthermore, there are a varietyof methods in which data can be collected such as handing out questionnaires,case studies and observations etc. All this raw data can be displayed andinterpreted in different ways such as graphs, spread sheets and charts. Informationwill be processed in more of a presentable manner, so it can be understood soit isn’t just a bunch of data that means nothing to a human. In fact, it willall come together in the end, so it makes sense, so everything collected will beuseful. The legal side of using theinternet when storing data will be spoken about alongside the security andprivacy issues concerned with storing data.

To begin with the legal issues suchas copyright and privacy has been a problem in the past that had occurred quiteoften when storing data on the internet. The Data Protection Act controls howyour personal information is used by organisations businesses or thegovernment. It was made to protect and keep personal and sensitive data safewhich is usually held in a database.  TheDPA was passed in 1984 with a further update in 1998 which was then bought intoeffect in 2000. All the businesses that store data electronically, for examplepersonal information about customers, they must register under the DPA (DataProtection Act) and state the date they plan to hold.

Everyone responsible forusing data has to follow strict rules known as the ‘data protection principles’.There is a list of principles that must be abided by and taken intoconsideration such as making sure that the information is used fairly andlawfully, kept for no longer than necessary, making sure it is safe and secure.The personal data must not be exported outside of the European Economic Areawithout adequate protection as there is someone relying on the organisation tomake sure that all their information is safe with them.

 Furthermore, the Copyright, Designs andPatents Act (1988) protects all pieces of work once it is noticeable whichmeans in a legit form. The copyright act applies automatically as soon as thepiece of work qualifies for protection is created. Another issue that seems tobe a concern with storing data for the use of the internet is the securityissues that have arisen such as password protection and the private issues ledto encryption and personal data. To gain some sort of access to any kind ofinformation you are most likely going to need a password to be allowedauthorisation to gain that information. This could also be known asauthentication which is a process to verify the identity of a user, so they canaccess content, an IT system on a computer, website or database. The whole ideaof this is so that only authorised people can access the system or the data.This is where the different types of methods of authentication come in to usesuch as password, smart cards and biometrics. A password is usually acombination of upper case and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols, a smartcard is a card where only the user of the card can only gain access an exampleof this could be a student ID badge and finally biometrics which is probablythe safest option as it is an authentication of using someone’s physicalcharacteristics such as their finger print, retina or voice recognition.

Tomake it difficult for someone to try and gain any kind of access to yourpersonal information your password needs to be strong as there are now software’sbeing used and programs that are being run to crack a password. One method isknown as ‘brute force’. To avoid make sure a secure password with a variety ofcharacters, numbers and symbols are used but nothing too hard so that youforget it. Encryption is also used so it is harder for third parties to try andaccess anything. Encryption is converted from electronic data into a form knownas ciphertext. This tends to be quite difficult to understand by anyone expectfor those who are authorised.

This works by converting text that you understandto something that is no longer readable by using ciphertext which is a form ofcode. For it work some sort of key will need to be used. An example of thiscould be converting my name ‘Rumaisah’ to ‘ahdnkakr’ for it become readableagain you would need to know the key. There are a variety of techniquesthat are used to search information within a database or data warehouse. Thereare methods such as using an index.

This is when you have an excessive amountof data to look through to find specific one thing. All this system does is alinear search of the table to find the required piece of data that you arelooking for according to the search that you’ve made. If the table is large itcan take some time to find. If the index method is used, you can get directaccess to the specified rows that you are looking for. This technique can beimproved in the future by reducing the amount of repetitive data that is usedin the table as this will affect the speed of the linear search made. If thereis large sets of data it will most likely take longer whereas smaller sets ofdata it will be quicker to do a linear search. The second technique that can beused to improve the performance of a database or data warehouse would bepartitions.

This is to help break down databases into smaller components. Theycan be created on tables or indexes. Both techniques have one thing in commonand that is the speed of searching for data due to excessive amount ofinformation for it to go through for the data to be found. This can be improvedby only putting in relevant information in the table and reducing all unwantedcluster and data from the table so its easier and quicker for searches to bemade. 

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