Thursday, July 7, 2022

Principle of Information Security: Module 2 The Need for Information Security (Part 6)

An organization’s information system depends on the successful operation of many interdependent support systems, including power grids, data and telecommunications networks, parts suppliers, service vendors, and even janitorial staff and garbage haulers. Any of these support systems can be interrupted by severe weather, intentional or accidental employee actions, or other unforeseen events. Deviations in quality of service can result from such accidents as a backhoe taking out the organization’s Internet connection or phone lines. The backup provider may be online and in service but may be able to supply only a fraction of the bandwidth the organization needs for full service. This degradation of service is a form of availability disruption. Irregularities in Internet service, communications, and power supplies can dramatically affect the availability of information and systems.

Other utility services can affect organizations as well. Among these are telephone, water, wastewater, trash pickup, cable television, natural or propane gas, and custodial services. The loss of these services can impair the ability of an organization to function. For instance, most facilities require water service to operate an air-conditioning system. Even in Minnesota in February, air-conditioning systems help keep a modern facility operating. If a wastewater system fails, an organization might be prevented from allowing employees into the building. While several online utilities allow an organization to compare pricing options from various service providers, only a few show a comparative analysis of availability or downtime.

Irregularities from power utilities are common and can lead to fluctuations such as power excesses, power shortages, and power losses. These fluctuations can pose problems for organizations that provide inadequately conditioned power for their information systems equipment. In the United States, we are supplied 120-volt, 60-cycle power, usually through 15- and 20-amp circuits. Europe as well as most of Africa, Asia, South America, and Australia use 230-volt, 50-cycle power. With the prevalence of global travel by organizational employees, failure to properly adapt to different voltage levels can damage computing equipment, resulting in a loss. When power voltage levels vary from normal, expected levels, such as during a blackout, brownout, fault, noise, sag, spike, or surge, an organization’s sensitive electronic equipment—especially networking equipment, computers, and computer-based systems, which are vulnerable to fluctuations—can be easily damaged or destroyed. With small computers and network systems, power-conditioning options such as surge suppressors can smooth out spikes. The more expensive uninterruptible power supply (UPS) can protect against spikes and surges as well as sags and even blackouts of limited duration.


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