Information and communications technology Report

Topics: BusinessManagement

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Last updated: April 20, 2019

1.1 Planning and DeadlinesPurpose of planningFor an information technology project to go smoothly, it must be planned well. Without such planning the project might not be completed in the time available or it might be over budget. To be able to plan a project successfully, it is necessary to break it down into a series of smaller tasks and determine the order of which these smaller tasks need to be done.

The time and resources needed for each of these smaller tasks also need to be estimated. The tasks then need to be divided among the other team members.DeadlinesA deadline is a date set by the senior management of a company, by which the project should be completed or reach a certain predetermined milestone. The milestones or mileposts mark the end of logical stages in the project, and their main purpose is to establish whether the project is on time or not.In business deadlines are very important and everyone involved in the project needs to be constantly aware of them. Planning activities should be centred on achieving the preset deadlines.

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1.2 Consistent layout, spaces, tabs and indentsConsistent layout and spacingIt is possible to alter the way a document looks by formatting all or part of it. Most documents are typed with single spacing, which has no blank lines between the lines of typed texts. Double spacing is often used if a document needs to be sent for another person’s comments or for editing as it leaves a line of space between each line of text for the reader to insert comments.TabsMost packages have default tab positions and if these are not suitable, tab functions can be set manually in advanced you can move text to the present position simply by pressing the tab key rather than pressing the space bar repeatedly and hoping that you can align text accurately. Tabs can be useful when arranging columns.IndentsIndents are sometimes used when starting a new paragraph and this involves starting the first word of the paragraph a few characters to the right of the usual margin. Other types of indents include hanging indents where the first line keeps the usual margin but following lines are indented.

1.3 Sensible filenames, why?The filename is just the first part of the file and is referred to the main related to what is in the documents. It is necessary to have a reasonable file name because it is quicker to find your documents, and that you don’t have to look through all the filenames to get a certain file.1.4 File structure, storage of files, and directory, why?Folder structureMS-DOS uses a hierarchical or tree file structure.

To understand how this file structure works, it is necessary to understand what is meant by file, directory and subdirectory.Storage of filesA file is a unit of storage on a computer. Some files are program files, which can be on the computers to perform a task, whereas other files are documents, storing data in one form or another. All file stored using MS-DOS are given file names, and the file name ought to bare some resemblance to what is stored in the file. As you store more and more programs and data on a hard drive you can very soon have several thousand files. Keep these in some kind of organisation structure is extremely important and it is here that the operating system can help.DirectoryDirectories are used to group together files containing similar materials.

For instance a directory could be set up for games, another for word processing software and yet another for letters. When a disk is formatted using MS-DOS, a root directory is created on the disk and from this root other subdirectories can be specified.Creating a directorySuppose you want to create a directory called ‘games’, this could be done using the command md games. Notice that the command prompt now changes to C:games>. If you now type dir at the command prompt, you get a list of all the files in the games directory.

Removing a directoryYou can only remove a directory if there are no files contained in it. If there are files in it they must all be deleted first. For example, if you want to remove the games directory, not only must it be empty of files but you must also be in the root directory. The command for removing the games directory is rm games.Coping filesFor this you use the copy command, which has the format copy (source destination). The source needs to specify the drive and directory of the file to be copied; the destination needs to specify the drive and the directory to which the file is to be copied.

The following command shows this agreement:copy a:task1.doc c:mydocs1.5 Log of ICT problems and how will you solve themWhile you are logging off ICT you are sometimes likely to get problems, if in this matter you should either try and solve the problem by reading the notice that the computer is telling you and do that or ask politely to your teacher for help. However you should not do anything that you don’t understand, as this may cause more problems.2.1 Copyright of dataData paid for or collected by one organisation may be a value to another organisation and it’s for this reason that data may also be copyrighted.

An example might be a database containing the names, addresses and telephone numbers of all private and business premises in the country.2.2 Copyright, computer misuse and data protection actsCopyrightCopyright ensures that law against other people copying their material protects the creators of either a software package or database. If work is prepared in an organisation’s time, copyright to any new software or data prepared belongs to that organisation. It is also illegal to copy data or software without the owners authorisation.Computer Misuse Act 1990With the increasing use of computers and communications systems, problems started to arise concerning their misuse.

The problems centred on a variety of uses that were not covered by existing laws. Several cases went to court but the courts were unable to convict. One particular case involved a schoolboy who used his computer and a modem at home to hack into that Duke of Edinburgh’s electronic mailbox and read his correspondence. Other schoolboy hackers were able to get access to the computer system of stockbrokers, hospitals, oil companies and even the Atomic Energy Authority. The kinds of situations, and advised parliament that it would need to make new specific laws. This gave rise to the Computer Misuse Act 1990.

The Computer Misuse Act 1990 covers a variety of misuses. These include:* Deliberately planting viruses into a computer system to cause damage to program files and data;* Using computer time to carry out unauthorised work, for instance using a firm’s computer to run a friends payroll;* Copying computer programs illegally (i.e.

software privacy);* Hacking into someone’s system with a view to seeing the information or altering it;* Using the computer for various frauds, for example putting fictitious employees on the payroll program and using false bank accounts opened in their names to steal money.The maximum penalty for unauthorised access to a computer system is six months imprisonment and a £2000 fine. For the other offences there is a maximum of five years imprisonment and an unlimited fine.Data Protection Act 1984The Data Protection Act was made in 1984 and applies only to the processing of data by computer; other acts cover manual, paper-based systems. (Processing is the collection, storing and distribution of information.

) The Data Protection Act applies only to personal data about living individuals.The act places obligations on those people who record and use personal data, and these people are called ‘data users’. Data users must be open about the use of the data by telling the Data Protection Registrar (i.e.

the person who enforces the act) that they are collecting personal data and how they intended to use it. They must also follow a set of eight principles, called the data protection principles.The data protection principles1. The information to be contained in personal data shall be obtained, and personal data should be processed, fairly and lawfully.

2. Personal data shall be held only for one or more specific and lawful purposes.3. Personal data held for any purpose or purposes shall not be disclosed in any matter incompatible with that purpose or purposes.4. Personal data held for any purpose or purposes shall be adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to that purpose or those purposes.5. Personal data shall be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date.

6. Personal data held for any purpose or purposes shall not be kept for longer than is necessary for that purpose or purposes.7. An individual shall be entitled:a. At reasonable intervals and without undue delay or expenses(i) To be informed by any data users whether he holds personal data to which that individual is the subject(ii) To have access to any such data held by a data user; andb. Where appropriate, to have such data corrected or erased.8. Appropriate security measures shall be taken against unauthorised access to, or alteration, disclosure or destruction of, personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of personal data.

2.3 Why protect data?There are several reasons why data, which refers to individuals or organisations, should be kept private. Unfortunately, there are people who would like to get hold of this data, usually for commercial or political gain. The reasons why data should be protected are described below:2.4 ConfidentialityIt is important that business transactions and decisions are kept private since disclosure to another company could result in loss of business or money.

Although some companies pass on clients’ information, they usually ask the client to say if they do not want the information passed to a third party. There is a law concerning the privacy of information called the Data Protection Act. This act applies only to data held on computers about living individuals.PasswordsPasswords are used to prevent unauthorised access to documents held as computer files and these passwords should be changed on a regular basis.Non-disclosureAlthough passwords prevent unauthorised access, some staff may still need to access confidential data and may pass on the information they have seen. The only real way of reducing the risk is make staff aware of the consequences of such action. Most organisations put non-disclosure agreements in their staff contracts of employment, which prevent staff from disclosing any information gained in the course of their employment to any outside organisations.2.

5 Legal ; Moral aspects of data being held by companies and organisations. Rights of the individual.Legal reasonsUnder the Data Protection Act 1984, individuals are given rights to access the data held about them on the computer systems.

If this data has been passed on another person and as a result the individual incurs some damage, then they are able to claim compensation through the courts.Moral reasonsAs people become more dependent on computer systems, the designers, makers and operators of these systems have a moral responsibility to make sure that computers are used properly. For example, they must make sure that the data stored or passing along communication lines is secure.Data being held by companies and organisationsOrganisations need to hold data in order to operate and only a small amount of the data held would be classed as personal data. The data held by organisations could be placed in the following categories:Commercial dataCommercial organisations hold data in order to trade and, hopefully, make a profit.

Organisations can be divided into those that provide a service and those that sell a product.Financial dataOrganisations need to keep financial details relating to sales, purchases and general ledgers, cashbooks, cash flow predictions, payroll and final accounts. Again all these details need to be kept secure on the computer and there should be stringent security procedures in place to prevent anyone from tampering with them.

Financial records are also required to ensure that the correct tax and VAT are paid.Legal dataThere is a variety of legal data held by most organisations, and again this information is often confidential. The sort of legal data held includes documents for the registration of the business if it is a limited company, contracts of employments of employees, contracts made between suppliers and purchasers, copies of all acts pertaining to the business and so on.Rights of the individualsA wide range of organisations, both private and public, holds personal information about each one of us. Personal information usually falls into one of these categories:Criminals* Details on all suspects, crimes and previously convicted criminals;* Computerised records of all convicted criminals’ fingerprints;* DNA profiles of all criminals;* Criminal details on suspects who may be involved in organised crime.

Educational* Medical information which may affect schooling;* Details of exam results held by examining bodies;* Personal details on school pupils held by the school information management systems (SIMS);* References for jobs, further education and higher education colleges;* Reports giving details of the performance of the students at the end of each term/year.Medical* GP records;* Prescription details kept on a card by pharmacies such as boots;* Hospital records (referral letters from GPs, appointments, treatment details etc);* Medical information held by life insurance companies;* Medical information held by solicitors dealing with compensation claims;* Private health insurance details;* Details about employees’ medical conditions kept by personnel departments.Financial* Mortgage details held by a bank or building society;* Loans details kept by a finance company;* Bank account or building society details;* Pension details;* Credit and debit card details.Employment* Personal details (name, address, illness, next of kin etc);* References;* Pension details;* Payroll details;* Tax details.2.

6 Backup, regular savingBackupMost word processors can automatically produce a back up files in additional to the original documents. They usually have a different file extension, so in Microsoft Word, for example, back up files have a .BK! Extension while the original documents has the .DOC extension.Some word processors automatically create a temporary back up file while you are working thus allowing the last version of the document to be recovered in the event of a system crash.

It is important that you get in the habit of regular back up copies of your file and keeping the back up disk separate from the computer. It is better to keep a series of disks and rotate them as the back up copies for your most important files. The reason behind this is many viruses attack data and you don’t always know if your disk is infected, so any back up copy could also be infected. If your original disk and back up become infected, you could still have uncorrupted files on a second back up disk, although you may loose work done between the first and second back ups.Regular savingsThere is always a tendency, when working with computers, for people to save their work at the end just before printing. Regular saving at predetermined intervals is an essential security measure to avoid large amounts of work being loss due, for example to the power going off.

Many programs have an ‘autosave’ facility, which saves work automatically, and the time period saves can be altered if necessary.Regular file saving is essential because:* Power surges cause ‘spikes’ in the main power which can result in work being corrupted;* Power cuts cause work to be loss;* Mistakes may be made which cannot be rectified easily: for example if you press a key accidentally and an action is performed that you do not know how to get out of, it may be easier simply to revert back to you back up copy;* Someone may unplug your computer by accident.3.1 EyestrainMost people who use computers have experienced eyestrain. It is caused by several factors, which include reflection from lights on the screen, concentration on the screens for long periods and shifting focus between the screen and paper.

Both keeping focus on the screen and refocusing the eyes lead to eyestrain. The early symptoms of eyestrain are hazy vision, which usually followed by a headache. When this happens the person needs to rest and lie down if possible.Preventing and relieving eyestrainThere are several ways of preventing strain and these include:Giving your eyes a breakThis means taking a break from the computer screen every so often. Experts recommend 15 minutes break every hour, during this break you should relax if possible.

Refocusing your eyes every so oftenThis should be done every 10 minutes and it involves looking away from the computer screen and focusing on a distant object.Suitable lightingWhilst you’re on the computer working you should make sure that the brightness of the light is reasonable.Using a copy holderIt is advised that you use a copyholder because shifting your eyes from the computer to the paper nay cause eyestrain.

The neck also needs to be rest back and not up and down.3.2 RadiationThere are many scary stories about the dangers of electromagnetic radiation given out from the computer screens.

Many other devices also give out this radiation and most of the research on it centred on radar installations and electricity power lines, which give out quite strong emissions.3.3 Repetitive strain injury (RSI)People who spend long hours keying in at a keyboard can develop a condition called repetitive strain injury (RSI).

This condition is caused by the constant pounding that the joints in the fingers; hand and wrists take during this action. When the keys a typed hard a shock wave travels up through the various bones in the hand causing damage to the muscles.3.4 Stress- physical/psychologicalPhysical stressPhysical stress is a general condition brought about by the body working in the wrong environment or trying to do a task for which it isn’t really designed. Physical stress causes direct damage to the body and the doctor can see the damage that has been done.Psychological stressUsing inappropriately designed software causes psychological stress.

Am example might be if you change over a word-processing package and are unable to do a task that before was quite simple. You feel frustrated because you are wasting time and this gets work if you are in a rush.

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