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Information processing Companies collect data continuously, from suppliers, clients, partners, etc., but this information is not very valuable unless is properly classified and updated.Information processing is a set of operations performed with the information obtained from different sources and include the following stages:Information search ˃    classification    ˃   Selection     ˃ interpretation & presentation                                                                                  Storage

Information search When collection information companies may choose to obtain it directly, this is called internal information, or from third parties, external information.  In both cases, the source of information is primary when it is obtained first-hand, from direct contact, or it can be secondary when it is collected from other sources.        

Information sources: internal: Internal databases, financial statements, records, documentation form the company. External: Websites and webpages, official publications, magazines, statistics, data from suppliers and competitors. Primary: surveys, market, interviews, company staff, sales records. Secondary: Existing databases from the company, external databases, chambers of commerce, books, magazines.

Finding information on the internet We find information through browsers and search engines. A browser is a software programme that allows you to get on the internet, i.e. Firefox, Google chrome, Safari, etc

The Search Engine is a website where you go to get information, but you need to have a browser to get to a search engine, like google.com or yahoo.com or bing.com

To get specific information or to narrow your searches is very useful to use the following search conditions:

Specific keywords //Words between quotation marks to find those exact words in that order//Advanced search : options offered by the search engine to limit the search such as site, * , link, related, cache, etc// Boolean operators  are operators mainly used in programming, search engines, algorithms and formulas And, Or, Not

 Proximity operators: near and adj.

C) Sign operators: + and -  meaning including a term or without a particular term

Classification of information To classify, interpret and sort information companies use the information systems (IS). An effective information system should be accurate, timely, capable, concise (brief), relevant,  accessible and secure

Systemscan be classified according to several possibilities:

According to the hierarchy levels or the company//Transaction processing systems for the day-to-day business //Management information system for daily control operation//Decision support system for tactical decisions//Executive information system for strategic decisions

Exact systems divided into sections fully differentiated from each other//Alphabetical classification useful for example for HR department for employee`s surnames//Geographical classification based on the place where the information is obtained and useful for the marketing department. One of the most common uses is the geomarketing , information used to make consumption maps using the zip code and details of purchases.//Chronological order, data organized by date useful for example for accounts or for claims in the customer service department

Ambiguous systems  are systems not very specific , usually in categories such as://Thematic classification, contents grouped by category like information concerning suppliers or in newspapers (national)//Classification by groups of users, for example a website with the  information for suppliers separated from the one for customers, etc

 Information selection:Information selection is an action that assess, discriminate and filter information that a company has depending on the objectives or needs needed. The selection process will depend on the goals of the organization at a particular time.

Companies select information according to certain criteria, like for example:

-Costs of profitability-Information use and interest. Some information may not have interest for the company if it is duplicate information, if it is outdated, if it has no interest for the potential public.- Reliability. Information must be verified, checked and reliable- Available time, the more time we have the more accurate the information will be-Nature of the information, that is the medium in which the info is collected-Source of information, if the data source is reliable will choose this one above other ones-Objectivity

Interpretation and presentation of informationThe information selected and collected is analysed and presented so that it can be used for making business decisions, therefore selecting and presenting information is essential to make the best and most suitable decisions.

Information can be presented through:

a)Reports.

b)Summary or synthesis

c)Schemes or diagrams

d)Review, which is a summary but it includes a personal judgment by the author

e)Table

f)Graphs. It is very useful to visualize information quickly and easily.

Types: bar graph

             Sector graph

              Line chart

Information security Information security is the set of measures taken to keep confidentiality, integrity and availability of the information they have.

Companies have a lot of sensitive information (from staff, customers, suppliers, etc) that if lost or becomes public in an unauthorised way, the company may lose its credibility and be involved in a series of lawsuits.

In Spain the Spanish Agency for Data protection is the authority that enforces data protection legislation. Fines are imposed on those that violate the Data Protection Act

Security ensures that the information retains its qualities:

. Confidentiality, it means only authorised people should have access to that information

Companies must avoid security leaks; the term does refer not only to technological attacks but also when somebody loses papers, or we have someone using our computer.

. Integrity (security). It means keeping information free of unauthorised changes or omissions.

The information integrity is in danger when someone sets fire to a folder of paper documents or  deletes a computer file.

. Availability means that those who have permission may consult it when necessary.

Mechanisms to provide information security

We can divide them into two groups:

1-Communications security

a) digital or electronic signature. It is a set of protocols to prove the authenticity of a digital message or document. In the business field is used for – electronic business contracts

                      – electronic invoices

b) trusted timestamping (sello electronico), it allows to prove that certain electronic data exists or have existed, it is used along with the electronic signature. In the business field is used for:

            – electronic invoices and contracts//electronic visas, or visa extensions//protection of authorship, etc

 Storage security

These are the elements of data protection during storage.

Physical measures are taken for files on paper.

For files stored on computers the usual measures are:

a)Firewall: a security system to prevent unauthorized access to the network, it allows the entry and exit of people but cannot track what those people are carrying or doing so for that we also need:

b)Antivirus: a computer program that prevents and avoids the activation of virus

c)Administration of user accounts, that basically manages access privileges

d)Data recovery. Backups or duplicates of relevant information.