ICT is the technology that facilitates access to information through the use of telecommunications with focus, primarily, on communication technologies. ICT is a blend of Internet, Ethernet and wireless networks, cell phones, and other communication media.
An ICT setup is a combination of hardware, software, networked infrastructure and personnel. An effective information system has to be organized, coordinated, controlled, planned and properly secured. This helps to facilitate seamless, effective decision making, and the dissemination of information in an organization.
Most organizations, firms and business setups rely heavily on information systems to carry out their day to day operations efficiently. These operations include but are not limited to;
The end product of ICT setup is information. This is what organizations; firms, business managers and decision makers use to arrive at informed decisions. The decisions made and implemented may positively or adversely affect the well-being of an organization. Due to this fact, the system and components used for collecting, storing, processing and dissemination of information need to be protected from anything that can and may hinder its integrity.
In an ideal situation, information is stored in an individual machine but for companies the storage is centralized. The centralization is mainly done in a server room, data center or a secluded setup away from unauthorized access. Threats to information systems are many and keep evolving as technology advances. These threats can be categorized as, natural threats, intentional/malicious threats, and unintentional threats.
These are those threats that are caused by Mother Nature. They include: floods, fire, earth quakes, tornadoes, excessive temperatures, humidity, hurricanes, and storms among others.
Bearing in mind that these happenings are unprecedented, and they cannot be prevented entirely, it is then wise to put in place measures that can reduce their effects. For instance, early fire detection through the use of laser systems, ionization, or heat sensitivity does detect even very low concentrations of smoke. When smoke is detected, gas-based fire suppression (also known as clean agents) are triggered to contain any fire. The gas-based suppression methods deployed in recent times are non-toxic, non-corrosive, environmentally friendly that fight fire without harming server room equipment, fixtures or personnel.
Malicious / Intentional threats:
These can generally be referred to as computer crimes or crimes against computers. Computer crimes include: hacking and cracking, theft of data and information, identity theft, espionage, credit cards fraud, and pornography among others. Crimes against computers are acts such as damage of ICT equipment rooms, the equipment itself, information contained therein as well as the transmission infrastructure.
Computer crime threats can be addressed through implementation of security systems and measures. They include firewalls, constant system security audits and avoiding online transactions with unsecure and unverified websites. Children can be protected from online abuse through the use of web nannies and other related options.
Crimes against computers can be addressed through the use of access control systems in the computer rooms. The access control could be time and attendance based to help identify who was using the system at a particular period. To avoid someone else using another person’s session through devious ways, biometric access control systems coupled with the use of CCTV surveillance in specialized locations are best suited to address this. Other than curbing unauthorized access, the use of CCTV makes it possible to see and monitor activities taking place near and around the specialized areas.
With emerging threats of terrorism, scanning and detecting systems should be deployed in ICT centers to ensure people with evil intentions do not get to cause damage to the systems and setups housing them. These solutions help in identifying and thwarting their plans before they implement them.
CCTV cameras with face detection are a superb solution to identifying and notifying authorities or security personnel of possible intrusions. Potential intruders could be enemies of the organization, former employees, hackers and criminals.
When a fire, intrusion, unauthorized access or any activity that is not normal is identified, the system may trigger an alarm to raise awareness.
These threats are mostly accidental. They include uninformed modification of information, processes and software. Examples of these are: accidentally deleting important files, erroneous data entry, spillage of fluids or tripping over power cords.
To alleviate these issues, training of personnel on proper processes involved in ensuring data integrity is maintained cannot be ignored. Deploying professionals in sensitive areas of data and information manipulation is important to ensure data is verified before being sent to the system for processing and storage.