BUS206 Study Guide

Unit 2: MIS Basics: Hardware, Software, Networking, and Security

2a. Compare and contrast hardware and software

1. Hardware is the physical component of computing and includes technology like the keyboard, mouse, monitor, hard drive, etc. You looked at the hardware in a management information system. Without physical hardware, software cannot perform the function it is programmed for.

  • Random Access Memory (RAM) is the working memory a computer uses to process software programs.
  • A hard disk is the physical device used to store data on a computer.
  • Explain the role of a motherboard in a computer. What is its function?

Prepare for the final exam by reviewing the sections for "Motherboard", "Random-Access Memory", "Hard Disk", and "Removable Media" in Hardware.


2. Software is the second component of a management information system. Software is designed to perform a certain function and relies on the compatibility of the hardware to perform that function.

  • Software is dependent on hardware. Explain how outdated hardware affects software performance.
  • Utility software helps users modify a computer. Programming software is used to create new programs and applications.
  • Explain the role and purpose of ERP in business.

Refer to "Types of Software" and "Utility Software and Programming Software" in Software for more information and details about various software types.


2b. Identify the primary components of a computer and the functions they perform

The basic components of a computer are the CPU, memory, circuit board, storage, and input and output devices. Every digital device uses the same type of components. The CPU is known as the brains of a device; it carries out the commands performed in software by returning a result to be acted upon.

  • Intel and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) are the two main CPU manufacturers for most computers.
  • Network connections make it possible to transmit data between computer networks without the need for removable media.
  • Explain how Moore's Law describes the processing power of computers.

Read the following sections in Hardware to refresh your memory about the various components of a computer: "Network Connection", "Removable Media", "Sidebar: Moore's Law", and "Processing Data: The CPU".


2c. Describe the two primary categories of software

1. Software can be divided into two main categories: operating systems software and application software. Both types of software serve as interfaces between the user and the hardware.

  • Operating systems manage hardware resources, provide user interface components, and provide the platform for software applications.
  • List the most popular operating systems for personal computers.


2. Application software provides a solution to a computer user's need or goal. For example, Microsoft Word is a piece of application software for writing papers, letters, articles, and other forms of written text.

  • A killer application is one that makes a person want to buy a device just to use that particular application.
  • Productivity software applications are business and workplace tools, such as the Microsoft Office suite of programs.


3. Two subcategories of application software are utility software and programming software. Diagnostic applications and antivirus software are examples of utility software that help users fix their computers. Programming software, like compilers, is used to create new applications.

  • Operating systems contain utility software integrated into the operating system.
  • How is programming software useful to business?

Watch The Software Component again to review operating systems and application software. Additionally, review the sections "Types of Software", "Operating Systems", "Application Software", "The Killer App", "Productivity Software", and "Utility Software and Programming Software" from Software for a deeper look at the two main types of software.


2d. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing for companies

1. Before the invention of cloud computing, software had to be installed on a computer either from a disk or file download. In many cases, purchased software was limited to a single installation per license. With the traditional Microsoft Office suite, you can only install one instance of the suite of programs on one device, but with the cloud-based Office 365, you can run the suite on up to five devices for one monthly subscription rate.

The cloud consists of online applications, services, and data storage. Cloud service providers maintain giant server farms with massive amounts of storage, all connected through Internet protocols.

  • Cloud computing saves businesses money because service providers absorb the cost to purchase and maintain the hardware components.
  • The cloud offers users access to all their data through the Internet from any connected device.
  • Security is still a main concern for users since information is trusted to a service provider.


2. Private clouds help relieve some of the skepticism around cloud computing. Private clouds are specific sections of server space set aside for an organization through the service provider.

  • An organization has complete control over their data with a private cloud.
  • List some of the disadvantages a business might see from a private cloud.


3. Virtualization is one technology that is used as part of cloud computing. Virtualization involves creating "virtual machines" that can connect to the Internet or exist on a closed network. With virtualization, a single computer can be used to perform the functions of multiple computers with multiple operating systems.

  • A virtual computer is called a "virtual machine" (VM).
  • What are some of the benefits of virtualization?

Read more about virtualization from VMware. To prepare for the final exam, consider how familiar you are with the content about "Using a Private Cloud" and "Virtualization" in Software.


2e. Define the term open-source and identify its primary characteristics

Open-source software is the result of many programmers who create and share programs they build with the solutions they have discovered. This allows open-source programmers to develop innovative programs and fix errors.

  • Linux is a version of the Unix operating system used on large minicomputers and serves as an example of open-source software.
  • Describe some of the advantages of open-source software over closed-source software.

Refer to the sections "Operating Systems", "Software Creation", and "Open-Source Software" in Software for a deeper look at open-source software. Make sure to read the last paragraph under the "Operating Systems" for an overview of the Linux operating system.


2f. Identify the types of networks and their general functions

Organizational networking consists of four main types of networks: LAN/WAN, Client-Server, Intranet, and Extranet. Each of these networks serves a specific role to organizations to help them reach out to their customers and perform daily operations.

  • Wireless networking is one way people can stay connected to the Internet without a hard-wired connection to the Internet.
  • How have Bluetooth and VoIP technology changed the world of business communications?

Review "Wireless Networking", "Bluetooth", "VoIP", and the four subsections under "Organizational Networking" in Networking and Communication for a review of the types of networks and networking available for organizations to do business.


2g. Identify the information security triad

Confidentiality, integrity, and availability are the three components that make up the information security triad. Confidentiality ensures access to information is restricted to those who are allowed to view it. Integrity is the assurance that the information has not been changed and represents what it is intended to represent. Availability means that information can be accessed and modified by those authorized to do so.

  • Federal law requires universities to restrict access to student information.
  • Integrity ensures that only trusted individuals have access to information.
  • Authorized individuals must be able to gain access to information when they need it. This is the availability of information.

Re-read the section "Confidentiality, Integrity, Availability (CIA)" in Information Systems Security to review the security triad. Watch The CIA Triad again to prepare for the final exam.


2h. Describe the tools used to secure information technologies

1. To ensure the components of the security triad can be integrated into a management information system, various security tools should be used to ensure the overall information security of the system is in place. Authentication, access control, and encryption tools are the main categories of information security tools.

  • A. Once authentication and access control are established, encryption is used to transmit information over the Internet securely.
  • B. Describe the three factors of authentication.
  • C. What are the two primary types of access control?

If these tasks were difficult for you, you might like to revisit the three subsections under "Tools for Information Security" in Information Systems Security before you attempt the final exam.


2. Backups, firewalls, and intrusion detection systems are also essential tools in information security. Backup plans help protect information in the event of corrupted, deleted, or lost files due to power loss or network intrusion.

  • Backup data can be stored on a separate part of the network, on separate hard drives, or in the cloud.
  • Firewalls are devices connected to the network and filter packets based on rules to support the security triad.
  • An Intrusion Detection System monitors the network for certain activity and sends an alert to security personnel of suspicious traffic going over a network.

In Information Systems Security, re-visit the sections on "Backups", "Firewalls", and "Intrusion Detection Systems".


3. Physical security is just as important as network security. Organizations should implement the best layers of physical security possible. Physical security includes the security of physical hardware and networking components on a network. 

  • A locked door is the first step to physical security. The main building doors and server room doors should have locks on them.
  • Security cameras serve as a deterrent against break-ins.
  • Employees should be trained to secure their equipment while at home and work.

Read the sections "Physical Security" and "Security Policies" in Information Systems Security for more details.


4. Personal information security helps protect individuals to secure their computing technologies. Individuals can take several steps to help protect their information and physical devices from being compromised.

  • Software should be patched as often as possible. These patches include security updates that can protect data against new security threats.
  • Antivirus software helps protect software against malware, spyware, viruses, worms, and other malicious intent on the Internet.
  • Secure accounts with two-factor authentication so nobody else can log into your account without your consent.

Read what some of your fellow students said by visiting the discussion forum. Read the section on "Personal Information Security" in Information Systems Security to learn more steps to take in personal information security.


Unit 2 Vocabulary

This vocabulary list includes terms that might help you answer some of the review items above and some terms you should be familiar with to be successful in completing the final exam for the course.

  • Application software
  • Availability
  • Backups
  • Circuit board
  • Client-server
  • Confidentiality
  • CPU
  • Enterprise Resource Planning
  • Extranet
  • Firewalls
  • Hard disk
  • Integrity
  • Intranet
  • Intrusion detection systems
  • Motherboard
  • Open-source software
  • Operating Systems
  • Personal information security
  • Physical security
  • Productivity software
  • Programming software
  • Random Access Memory
  • Removable media
  • Utility software
  • Virtualization