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Engineering LibreTexts

Unit 1: What Is an Information System?

  • Page ID
    9870
    • 1: What Is an Information System?
      The first day of class I ask my students to tell me what they think an information system is. I generally get answers such as “computers,” “databases,” or “Excel.” These are good answers, but definitely incomplete ones. The study of information systems goes far beyond understanding some technologies. Let’s begin our study by defining information systems.
    • 2: Hardware
      An information system is made up of five components: hardware, software, data, people, and process. The physical parts of computing devices – those that you can actually touch – are referred to as hardware. In this chapter, we will take a look at this component of information systems, learn a little bit about how it works, and discuss some of the current trends surrounding it.
    • 3: Software
      The second component of an information system is software. Simply put: Software is the set of instructions that tell the hardware what to do. Software is created through the process of programming. Without software, the hardware would not be functional.
    • 4: Data and Databases
      Imagine if you turned on a computer, started the word processor, but could not save a document. Imagine if you opened a music player but there was no music to play. Imagine opening a web browser but there were no web pages. Without data, hardware and software are not very useful! Data is the third component of an information system.
    • 5: Networking and Communication
      This ability for computers to communicate with one another and, maybe more importantly, to facilitate communication between individuals and groups, has been an important factor in the growth of computing over the past several decades. In the 1990s, when the Internet came of age, Internet technologies began to pervade all areas of the organization. Now, with the Internet a global phenomenon, it would be unthinkable to have a computer that did not include communications capabilities.
    • 6: Information Systems Security
      In this chapter, we will review the fundamental concepts of information systems security and discuss some of the measures that can be taken to mitigate security threats. We will begin with an overview focusing on how organizations can stay secure. Several different measures that a company can take to improve security will be discussed. We will then follow up by reviewing security precautions that individuals can take in order to secure their personal computing environment.