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Information Tech

Firewalls
Network – Protects network as a whole, avoids specific app issues
Application- Typically supplements network F/W, with added costs and install issues. Results in better
access control preventing unauthorized users from accessing apps. More expensive than NW F/W

Client/Server Three-tiered architecture


• Client (GUI)-> Application -> Database

Network Topologies

Bus- Failed device results in failed comm. Between devices on either side
Tree- See schematic
Ring – One failed device = others can communicate still (excepts if trapped btw 2 failed devices).
Devices are added easily, but communication can be slower than other methods
Star – Each device is centrally connected. Most expensive and fastest.

H/W and S/W Terms


• Concentrator – Combines A device that combines multiple communication channels into
one. A concentrator differs from a multiplexer in that the total bandwidth of a concentrators' inputs
doesn't necessarily equal the total bandwidth of its outputs. A concentrator temporarily stores data
to compensate for this imbalance.
• Multiplexer (Multiplexor) - A device that converts several low-speed transmissions into
one high-speed transmission and back again for communication purposes.
• Gateway - Software or hardware that links two or more computer networks.
• Pass (Run) A complete cycle of input, processing, and output in the execution of a program,
typically an application program.
• Heuristic In computing, the adjective heuristic signifies able to change; it is used to describe
a computer program that can modify itself in response to the user
• Collaborative Computing Applications (Groupware, Shareware) A program that allows
several people to have access to the same information and attempts to track the authors of changes
• Library Program (Library Routine) Programs that frequently are used by several other
programs. They are kept within the system and "called up" whenever necessary. One example is
generating random numbers.
• Job Control Language (JCL) A command language that launches applications, specifying
priorities, program sizes, running sequences, databases used, and files used.
• Multiprocessing Allows the execution of two or more programs at the same time and
requires the utilization of more than one CPU.
• Multiprogramming A program is processed until some type of input or output is needed.
The O/S then delegates the process to a piece of peripheral equipment, and the CPU begins
executing other programs. Processing speed is enhanced considerably, making it appear as if more
than one program is being processed concurrently, while utilizing only one CPU.
• Virtual Storage The O/S divides a program into segments (called pages) and brings only
sections of the program into memory as needed to execute the instructions. This saves memory and
processing cost because the majority of the program remains in less expensive secondary storage.

DATA
Primary Key = Uniquely identifies a record. Records w/o primary keys are not accepted to maintain
file integrity. (e.g. Customer #)
Secondary Key = May be used to retrieve data if primary key is unknown (but must still exist). An
example is a customer giving their phone # to the company when they don’t know own custo #.

System Life Cycle Order = analysis, design, programming, implementation, and maintenance

Query Utility Program- Used generally for one-time DB inquires

System Design Categories


• Data design
• Process design
• Interface design (I/O considered a subgroup of interface)

Database Administrator (DBA) = has overall responsibility for designing and maintaining a database,
including security measures (assigning passwords) and operations

Decision support systems (DSS) are used primarily for semi-structured problems requiring the
exercise of judgment. Rather than providing answers, a DSS provides information to assist a user to
develop answers.

Expert, or knowledge-based, systems provide answers based on information provided by the user and
rules developed by an expert to address specified situations. For example, a tax planning expert’s set of
rules may be incorporated into a software program for use by inexperienced tax planning specialists.

EDI = Formatted using uniform worldwide standards


• Mapping converts data between EDI applications and a standard EDI form. Translation
changes representations between a standard EDI form and an encoded standard EDI form.
Encryption scrambles files and communications to prevent unauthorized use. Decoding means
converting data back to its original form.
• EDI greatest risk = Improper distribution of EDI transactions
Security
Digital Signature = Protects validity of transmitted files, but NOT privacy
Key -> Used to lock and unlock the data
1. Symmetric (Private Key) Encryption = Sale algorithm for encryption/decryption
2. Asymmetric (Public Key) Encryption = Sender encrypts messages to each particular recipient
with that particular recipient’s key. Recipient uses own private key to decrypt.

Disaster Recovery
Cold site - space where furnishings and power is available in the event of a disaster at a primary
location, but a computer system is not installed
Hot Site - off-site backup hardware facilities that are fully configured and ready to operate within
several hours

System Flowchart - graphic portrayal of a system’s data flow and information processing, including
hardware

Data Flow Diagram - typically includes information on data flows, data destination, data source, data
storage, and transformation processes, but not hardware.

General Controls
Parity Bit (Redundant Character Check) In odd parity, an odd number of magnetized dots (on tape,
disk, etc.) should always represent each character. When recording data, the computer automatically
checks this. Then, when reading the data, the computer checks to see if there is still an odd number. In
even parity, an even number of magnetized dots is used to represent each character. For example, the
use of a parity bit probably would discover a distortion caused either by dust on a tape or by sending
data over telephone lines.
Echo Check CPU sends a signal to activate an input or output device in a certain manner. The device
then sends a signal back to verify activation. The CPU then compares the signals.
Boundary Protection Keeps several files or programs separate when they share a common storage.
For example, in time-sharing, several users may share primary storage. Boundary protection would
prevent their data and/or programs from becoming mixed and from accessing each other's data.

Integrated Test Facility = auditor creates a fictitious entity within the clients actual data files. The
auditor then processes fictitious data for the entity as part of the clients regular data processing.
Parallel simulation processes client input data on an auditor-controlled program to test controls; test
data is not utilized
Header label appears at the beginning of a file, in machine-readable form

Input Controls
Hash Total = Meaning only as a control (i.e. summing account numbers)
Financial Total = Meaning as a control and has financial meaning in addition

Check Digit (Self-Checking Digit) Digit (determined according to a prespecified mathematical


routine) that is added to the end of a piece of numeric data to permit the numeric data to be checked for
accuracy during input, processing, or output. For example, a customer account number may be 1234. A
check digit could be formed by adding the first and third digits and using the sum. Since the sum of the
two digits is 4 (i.e., 1 + 3), the check digit is 4. It is added to the end of the number that is assigned to
the customer. The new customer account number becomes 12344. The computer can be programmed to
verify the check digit at appropriate times. For instance, if the number is accidentally entered as 13244,
the check digit would not match and the transaction would not be accepted. In practice, the
mathematical routine generally is more complex than the one illustrated here.

Interactive System - interactive system, data is processed as it is input and feedback is provided to the
user; transaction files are not batched or sorted before processing
Abandonment ratios are based on the number of visitors who start, but don’t complete, transactions
Volatility is concerned with how often files are updated

Distributed Processing = Small comp’s do regular work at many locations and send to central large
comp for processing
• Use when Fast Access is req
• Use for large volumes of data
• Use when data is generated at many locations

Outsourcing Data Processing


Typical advantages of outsourcing data processing are cost savings and predictability, superior service
quality, low capital investment, and greater expertise supplied by specialists. Typical disadvantages
include inflexibility, lack of control, and concerns about confidentiality

Service Bureau processes client data for a fee.


Time-sharing center has a computer remotely accessed by a number of different users, who are
unaware of each other