Computer Fundamentals Essay, Research Paper
The society in which we live is complex and sophisticated. As consumers we demand a variety of goods and services to enable us to maintain the quality of life we enjoy. In order to satisfy these demands, suppliers must produce the goods and services, which the consumer wants by combining factors of production such as land, labor and capital in the most efficient manner. To do this the hiring of workers, rent or purchase of the appropriate premises, and maybe, even investing in plant and machinery, as well as the raw materials needed to produce the final product. These are just some of the factors that have to be considered before the final product is produced at a profit. This is achieved under commercial organizations. In short, an organization is a group of people working together to achieve a goal of supplying a demand. In Britain, the economy is made up of the Public Sector and the Private Sector. The Public Sector Company provides goods and services through the state in much the same way as commercial organizations. This sector also employs staff, occupy premises and raise capital. The public sector seeks to fulfil a service such as education, hospitals, police, etc. These services are necessary to provide society with order, in which individuals are free to express their demands and producers are able to meet such wants. THE PRIVATE SECTOR The prime objective of the private sector is to make a profit. These organizations are made up of several different sectors. They are a mixture of large and small business. For example: – Banks, Railtrack, Imperial Chemical Industries, Solicitors, Accountants. THE SOLE TRADER Sole traders are normally owners of small businesses such as the newsagent or the local cafe. The sole trader has unlimited liability and has a greater risk than a partnership. However, he has total control of his business and is alone in the making of all decisions relating to his business. The sole trader keeps all profits but in the majority of cases works very long hours, it is also very hard to find the time for things such as holidays. PARTENERSHIPS Partnerships has a minimum of two people and no more than twenty partners, who have made an agreement to work together and to provide capital for the benefit of the company. Their aim is to make a profit. These businesses are normally on a larger scale. Sleeping partners in the business i.e. profit share partners do not play an active role in the organization. A Deed of Partnership is normally drawn up when setting up a partnership. This sets out the terms and conditions such as the objectives, profits, transfer of ownership, individual salaries, decision-making, etc. THE PRIVATE LIMITED COMPANY (LTD) Private Limited Companies have certain legal binding restrictions before it can trade, these are: The Memorandum of Association This consists of the company relating to the outside world i.e.: name and rules, address of the business, the names of the directors and the purpose of the organization. The Article of Association relates to the internal matters of the organization. When the Article of Association form in completed it is then registered and permits the company to trade. THE PUBLIC LIMITED COMPANY (PLC) A Public Limited Company has similar rules to limited companies with the exceptions: Shares can be openly bought and sold A vast amount of capital can be made available through the issue of extra shares. The minimum share capital required is 50,000. No limits to the amount of shares a shareholder can have. The functional areas of an organization such as a music venue can be vast. Therefore, the areas that will be dealt with will be limited. The marketing department is responsible for all publicity that the organization needs to make public awareness and the events available. They also can organize suppliers, as well as the delivery of these items. This department is in charge of all venue publicity and public awareness. The accounts department is responsible for the payment of all bills/invoices. When an invoice is presented for payment, the manager concerned first checks it against the appropriate delivery note. Only then, will this department approve payment automatic and regular payments such as, standing orders and direct debits are also done through this department. These systems of payments are required to pay bills like gas, electric and other suppliers used on a regular basis. The wages department is responsible for the wages and salaries of all personnel working for the venue. It includes wage payments for company directors, full and part-time staff to the artists and musicians working on an evening event. They also supply wage slips that supply information such as number of hours worked, overtime, bonus, holiday s etc. The required tax deducted and payment is made through the BACS system directly into the employee s bank account in most cases. The personnel department is responsible for the welfare of all employees within the organization. Personnel are responsible for recruitment, training and development of all staff. They also ensure that the venue and bar managers carry out the required company training. They hold all of the organizations staff records. To keep their files updated these departments regularly liaise with the wages department over staff sickness, holiday entitlements etc. IT Services All incoming areas i.e. bar and entrance fees are linked to a computerized system, therefore the IT services department even though small plays a vital role in this organization. This department is divided into two, the Operations and the Programming. FUNCTIONAL AREAS WITHIN A MUSIC VENUE This diagram shows the flow of information between departments . FLOWCHART 1. All information to and from the board of Directors is communicated through the general manager and heads of departments. 2. The General Manager is the main information link between the Directors and the other departments. 3. The Bar manager communicates with the promotion department regarding any new products to come on line. 4. The bar manager communicates with the bar staff regarding working hours etc. 5. The Accounts department communicates constantly with the general manager to keep an eye on the performance of each week performance. 6. The promotion department communicates with the general manager regarding what has been programmed over the months, this dictates the amount of staff needed on each night 7. The Personnel Department communicates with the general manager and the accounts department. 8. The IT department communicates with the accounts department, general Manager and the Directors. Data storage refers to the various filing systems of the storage of data or documents. Retrieval is the accessing of the stored information quickly. This can be achieved in two ways, manual and computerised. In the music industry, both the manual and computerised format of data storage and retrieval can be found. MANUAL There are four basic physical methods of holding paper-based files: vertical filing, horizontal filing, lateral filing and rotary filing, paper base filing is still fairly popular and efficient but can be time consuming. This form of filing allows data and documents to be arranged alphabetically, by date, category, numerically etc. Filing cabinets are one of the main forms of manual filing. Vertical filing This is a cabinet, which contains file drawers with suspended files that has pockets. Horizontal filing These are drawers that are shallow and wide. This is used mainly for storing drawing and plans. Lateral or open shelf filing Similar to bookcases, where files are placed side by side along the shelves. Rotary filing This varies in height and circumference and is rotated to gain quick and easy access to the required file. COMPUTERISED FILING SYSTEM This form of filing system is increasing, because of its versatility and cost effective way of storing data. The modern computer is not only capable of dealing with the use of words and numbers for storage or retrieval, but a wide range of data such as drawings and graphs. This system can be split into two categories. Logical file organisation and the physical file organisation. Logical file organisation The computer file storage area can be organised into several smaller areas. This allows the files to be organised more effectively, allowing the locations of the relevant details more quickly. The creation and use of the file storage area can be used in an efficient way. Files can also be created, copied and deleted very quickly. Indices are another way of logically organising files. Index allows records to be arranged sequentially, according to particular criteria, e.g. date order. When new records are added all the data would be renumbered automatically. Physical file organisation All stored data information can be done in several ways. The main ones are listed below. Magnetic Disks This is a very important backing storage medium. It provides the computer application with quick, direct access to individual records within a file. There are two popular types of magnetic disks. Hard disks This disk is often made of aluminum with a coating, which allows data to be recorded magnetically. It has a large storage capacity and is able to store over 20GB. Large organisations file server would probably have over four hard drive. The disks read from the outside to the inside. This form of data storage is widely used within large organisation Floppy disks The surface of these disks consists of rings. These rings are split into sectors, which holds numerous tracks (disks can hold several hundred tracks). The Floppy disk has a storage capacity of 1.5MB. A file will have a location associated with it, this is known as the address. The file location can be found at this address and consists of a tract and sector. Larger program will run on a single track through a number of sectors rather than running on numerous tracks within one sector. Compact disk This is an optical disk, which uses laser beams technology to record and read data. It has a greater storage capacity than the magnetic disk, with a single disk capable of storing 650MB. The surface is made up of spiral rings, which is split into sectors. The CD changes speed depending on the part of the disk it is reading/writing, to/from at the time of use. E.g. the speed is faster if it is being read from the inside, as there are less sectors. When it is reading from the outside there are more sectors so the disk does not have to spin as fast. The storage and retrieval of data interacts in many ways. In most instances computerised data is obtained from paper based information. An example of this is the wages system. On a daily basis, a member of the management team would verify that staff has attended work and take note of the hours, unless there is a clocking in machine. At the end of the week, the total hours worked by each employee would be calculated along with any overtime and bonus. This information is then entered into the organisation s computer system. When this task is completed, the wages department will authorise payment to be paid into the employees bank account. Organisations have a legal and a moral duty to ensure that personal and confidential details are kept secure. This can be obtained, by storing manual data, computer disks and CDs in locked cabinets, with doors to the relevant rooms, also locked. Rooms where computers holding confidential information is stored should also be locked. In addition, computers can be made secure by ensuring that personnel could only gain access to this information through passwords. Other security methods such as identity cards, personal identification number (PIN), voice recognition or fingerprint comparison and data encryption can also be use. However, some of these alternatives can be expensive. Listed below, are a few of the advantages and disadvantages to manual and computerised system of data storage and retrieval. Advantages The manual system acts as a good form of check back to any mistakes that might be inputted onto the computer. This system also is a good back up to the computer system in cases where the computer has crashed or where back up files have be corrupted or misplaced. Gaining information from computer systems saves time and therefore, saves the organisation money in the long run. Incorrect information can be corrected quickly. Other departments can access relevant information and data quickly, again, saving time and money. Disadvantages Breach of security could occur in cases of human error, i.e. where personnel forget to lock doors or cabinet drawers, where confidential information is stored. Information and data is also at risk in cases where computers are left on while the workstation is unattended. In many situations, computerisation has lead to redundancies. The change from manual systems to a computerised system can be costly and disruptive. Whether an organisation is large or small there are business applications to suit all. The computer is fast becoming a way of life and therefore the introduction of a computerised system will have an enormous benefit in placing any organisation in the 21st century. With the introduction of a computer system, an organisation will benefit from being able to keep up with competition, save on staff wages and many more. The numerous business applications available, makes it easy for any business to obtain an application to suit them. The wages department within an organisation would benefit immensely from being computerised. Manual procedures for calculating wages is time consuming, labour intensive, repetitive, tedious and laborious. There are also great risks of making mistakes. Computerised systems for small organisations can be costly, in time this cost can be recouped, by the saving on the reduction of wages for payroll clerks and in many case accountants. The time it saves in producing the wages, payslips, reports for tax purposes etc, is also a big consideration. In the long run the benefits can be as good for the small business as it is for the larger organisation. The purchase of a personal computer with a Hard drive of 10 gigabytes, monitor, keyboard, mouse and printer is approximately 1000 + VAT. Consideration should be given to the changes and their effects of the manual system within the organisation. The business will not be effected if these changes simply involve transferring manual files into a computer and enforcing a few clerical procedures. However, changes to the environment and staffing, needs to consider. Environment The computer will need to be situated where there is sufficient electric sockets, as one computer has more than one plug. There will be no need to have a separate controlled supply of electric, but uninteruptable power supplies will help to provide clean power . The computer will need to be placed away from direct sunlight to enable the user to read it. It should be protected from extremes of heat and cold, i.e. placed away from radiators and windows; an air-conditioned room is ideal. The room will need to be free of dust and smoke and no food or drink should be permitted near the computer. Adequate lighting and seating is important. Computers and printers are noisy; this can be reduced with soft furnishing such as carpet, curtains partitions etc. Staffing Although the organisation will keep their existing staff, re-training them with computer skills will be necessary. This should include logging on and off procedures, how to use the software packages, understand how to cope and deal with simple errors and to follow the health and safety procedures with regards to computers e.g. take regular breaks away from the computer. Management Management often needs to be trained, at least to the level of the staff. This helps them to appreciate the problems the staff encounters, and not hood winked by them. It puts them in the position to recognise the power and limitations of the new system. The management will need additional training to be able to access other information independently. DATA PROTECTION ACT This Act was passed in 1984. It outlines the restrictions of the data user and data subject. The person or company, who stores data about others, is referred to as the user. While, the subject is the person about whom the information regards. Data registrar and data protection tribunal was created as a result of the act. Data registrar refers to the person/s who enforces and regulates the act. The Data Protection Tribunal allows a person the opportunity to appeal against the registrar s decision. Any person or company requiring to store or use personal data must first register to do so with the Data Protection Registrar. When doing so, the purpose of its use, as well as what data to be stored must be registered. A company or person may hold many types of data. Amongst these are: – Date of birth Address Telephone number Vehicle registration Bank accounts Income and salary Criminal records Medical records Loans, overdrafts and mortgages Credit cards (including credit debts) Unpaid council tax, etc. Personal information such as the above are held by the police national computers, banks, finance companies, the DVLA etc. In the case of a person who is being credit checked, this information could be accessed easily by the Banks and Finance Companies. The data stored gives these companies the information need to assess the credit worthiness of the customer and their eligibility for finance. The data held by the police allows them to gain quick information on a person who might have a criminal record. They can also access information held by the DVLA. This gives them the information needed, so that they can run vehicle checks and trace legal owners, in cases of stolen vehicles. Computer viruses Computer viruses are harmful programs developed to deliberately cause disruption to computer systems. Viruses are capable of coping itself, usually unnoticed by the user. This may be in the form of identical copies or slight variation in an attempt to avoid detection. The effects of computer viruses can cause an untold amount of damage. While some are just a nuisance, others may cause destruction to an organisation s entire filing system. This damage can be the clearing of screen, deleting data, and making the system unusable. Floppy disks, hard disks and compact disks can also be affected, activating transfer from one computer to another. The Internet is also use as a means of transfer. In the UK alone, 130 new viruses were identified in 1995, totaling to more than 4,000 different strains. With the cost of damage bordering of tens of millions of pounds every year. Luckily, there are some measures that may be taken to prevent the effects of computer viruses. Anti-virus software is available which can protect and remove most viruses. Write protecting disks helps to prevent the effects of contamination. Other measures such as, locking floppy disk access, purchasing only proprietary software from reliable source and restricting the use of unauthorized software by employees, all helps to minimize the above risks. Computer crime A hacker is a person who experienced in breaking through protected software, in order to gain access to information system files. This type of crime/fraud is often committed for financial gain, although some hackers would do this for fun and to test their skills. A hacker can gain entry to an organization s computer system, simply by guessing a password or by trial and error. Experience hackers equipped with telephone, microcomputer and modem can gain access to a computer system even while it is in operation. This can be done even if terminals are linked to a protected system. A hacker can pick up data signals being transmitted along telephone lines or via satellite, displaying this information on their own machines, if the system is not properly protected. The increased of power and speed in modern computers has helped to make the breaking of codes easier. Listed below are a few examples of crimes that may be committed: – Alteration of files This is done for several reasons, such as, changing a job title or wages or an amount owing on a bill. False data entry The inputting of false information on a file, or modifying data. False output done to cover up false/fraudulent data entries or to distort or destroy incriminating information. Money transfer Funds may be transferred to a false account. Using data encryption, choosing passwords carefully, keeping them secure, changing them frequently and memorizing them (not writing them down) may minimize these crimes. Regular checks and auditing of the data can help to detect alteration to data at an early stage. Security measures mentioned in task 3 could also help to minimize this crime.