COMPONENTS OF AN INFORMATION SYSTEM
The components of an information system are software, data, hardware, people, procedures and Networks. These 6 components are critical to enable information to be input, then processed, output and finally stored. Each of these components of information system has its own weakness and strength.
The software components of information system are consisting of applications, operating system and utility programs. This software is the most difficult to information system component to secure. Unfortunately, Software is at root of all the common computer security problems. If your software does not behave properly, a number of diverse sorts of problems can crop up: availability, reliability, safety, and security. The extra twist in security situation is that a bad guy is actively trying to make your software misbehave. This makes security certainly a tricky proposition.
Security should be intertwined with every part of the system; the hardware is no exception. The interaction between software and hardware must be carefully planned. While doing so, the security of the whole system is strengthened. Hardware Security Module (abbreviated as HSM) is a physical device in form of a plug-in card or an external security device which can be attached to general purpose computer and servers.
The goals of an HSM are the:
a) Secure generation,
b) Secure storage, and
c) The use of cryptographic and data material which is sensitive.
HSMs provide logical and physical protection both of these materials from non- authorized use and potential adversaries. Several HSM systems have means to securely backup the keys they handle either in a wrapped form by means of the computer’s operating system or externally using a smartcard or some of the other security token. HSMs should never allow secrets exportation in the plaintext form, even when migrating between HSMs and performing the backup operations
Data stored, processed, and transmitted through computer system should be protected. Data is the valuable asset possessed by an organization and it is the key target of intentional attacks.
People are the critical link in the information security program. Though often overlooked in computer security considerations, people have always acted as a thread to information security. Unless policy, training, education, awareness and technology are properly employed to prevent people from accidentally or intentionally damaging or losing the information, they will remain the weak link. Social network engineering can prey on potential to cut corners and the commonplace nature of human error. It can be used to manipulate actions of people to obtain access information about the system. It is imperative that managers continuously recognize the important role that people play in information security program
Procedures are written instructions for accomplishing the specific task. When unauthorized user obtains an organization’s procedures, this poses a threat to integrity of the information. Procedures are information in their rights. Thus, knowledge of procedure, as with all critical information should be disseminated among the members of organization only on a need to know basis.
The IS component which created much of the requirement for the increased computer and information security is networking. When information systems are linked to each other to form the local area network (LAN), and these LAN’s, and these LAN’s are connected to the other networks like the Internet, new security challenges emerges rapidly.