12.1: Introduction to Information Systems?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. 12.2: HardwareAn 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. 12.3: SoftwareThe 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. 12.4: Data and DatabasesImagine 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. 12.5: Networking and CommunicationThis 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. 12.6: Information Systems SecurityIn 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. 12.6.1: The Ethical and Legal Implications of Information SystemsNew technologies create new situations that we have never dealt with before. How do we handle the new capabilities that these devices empower us with? What new laws are going to be needed to protect us from ourselves? This chapter will kick off with a discussion of the impact of information systems on how we behave (ethics). This will be followed with the new legal structures being put in place, with a focus on intellectual property and privacy. 12.7: Does IT Matter?For over fifty years, computing technology has been a part of business. Organizations have spent trillions of dollars on information technologies. But has all this investment in IT made a difference? Have we seen increases in productivity? Are companies that invest in IT more competitive? In this chapter, we will look at the value IT can bring to an organization and try to answer these questions. We will begin by highlighting two important works from the past two decades. 12.8: Business ProcessesThe fourth component of information systems is process. But what is a process and how does it tie into information systems? And in what ways do processes have a role in business? This chapter will look to answer those questions and also describe how business processes can be used for strategic advantage. 12.9: The People in Information SystemsIn this chapter, we will be discussing the last component of an information system: people. People are involved in information systems in just about every way you can think of: people imagine information systems, people develop information systems, people support information systems, and, perhaps most importantly, people use information systems. 12.10: Information Systems DevelopmentWhen someone has an idea for a new function to be performed by a computer, how does that idea become reality? If a company wants to implement a new business process and needs new hardware or software to support it, how do they go about making it happen? In this chapter, we will discuss the different methods of taking those ideas and bringing them to reality, a process known as information systems development. 12.11: Globalization and the Digital DivideGlobalization is the term used to refer to the integration of goods, services, and culture among the nations of the world. Globalization is not necessarily a new phenomenon; in many ways, we have been experiencing globalization since the days of European colonization. Further advances in telecommunication and transportation technologies accelerated globalization. The advent of the the worldwide Internet has made all nations next-door neighbors. 12.12: The Ethical and Legal Implications of Information Systems 12.13: Future Trends in Information SystemsInformation systems have evolved at a rapid pace ever since their introduction in the 1950s. Today, devices that we can hold in one hand are more powerful than the computers used to land a man on the moon. The Internet has made the entire world accessible to us, allowing us to communicate and collaborate with each other like never before.