ITGS Syllabus

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Topic 66

Reliability and integrity of data by Isaku

With the recent and rapid development of the computer and the digital network, the main form of data storage has met a major shift from paper to digital. This shift is fairly understandable considering the convenience and advantages digital data has over paper. When it was first introduced digital data seemed as an ideal form of data storage, and some even expected for it to replace paper in a matter of time. However, when people actually started using it, they realized that digital data also had its large share of defects, which is why paper is still used as a major form of data storage.

The main problem of digital data can be said to be its reliability. At first digital data was said to have an advantage over paper in terms of storage over time. In other words paper is not suitable for long term storage since paper decays over time. Another problem with paper is that you can not easily make a back up storage of it. Making a backup for your data is crucial especially when the data has something important, such as job related data.

It is not impossible to make back ups for paper data, but it is rather awkward since it involves numerous numbers of paper which takes up space, and the use of copy machines. In these aspects, it is crystal clear that digital data has a huge advantage over paper. First of all data stored in digital format is resistant to time. You can leave data stored digitally for more than ten years and you will not find it unreadable which usually is the case with paper. Second of all, you do not need a huge storage space for digital data like you do in paper. Digital data merely takes up a fraction of space in your computer’s hard disk.

However, digital data does have problems with its reliability that is unique to itself, which is data loss. Digital memory storage is sensitive to physical damage in a different way. But what we cannot ignore is that data loss online digitally can end with greater consequences than with data loss on paper. One is that when digital data is damaged it is usually lost completely, whereas in paper, usually part of the data remains undamaged. Another crucial problem is that when you lose your data online or digitally, you usually lose data all together, which means that the probability of data loss might be lower in digital format, but the loss rate is much higher.

It seems that digital data is better off in many ways than paper, but digital data has its share of defects which also happen to be some of the most major problems internet users are facing. One of these problems is its increased vulnerability to secret theft, which leads to major data leakage. Many people have taken the anonymity and connectivity of the internet to their advantage, allowing them to steal personal information from the general public with relatively low risks of getting caught compared to the risks in the real world.

Digital theft can cause more damage to the victim because it usually takes them longer to realize their data has been stolen. One of the most important of the data that we hold in the internet is our personal information. This information is the most desirable one to thefts, as there are people who are willing to buy it for a high price, mainly because it consists of useful data such as credit card numbers. The method from which these thefts take our information has grown in sophistication over time, and have therefore resulted in an increasing difficulty to prevent them. One of the most common theft methods is fishing.

This involves the theft creating a fake identical copy of websites like When a user visits this page, he/she will be asked to enter personal information due to technical difficulties. Another method, which uses spyware, and figures out your password by scanning the record of the keys which you typed. Using these vital information, these thefts will pose as the victims, using their identity to spend money or use services with our name.

Clearly the dangers that accompany digital data storage cannot be neglected. Then what can we do to protect our data? The answer is simple; it is important to take great precautions when using digital data. It also may be a good idea not to rely too much on digital data. Although digital data does have many merits, using it on the internet has great risks with it. Therefore it might be a good idea to save important data on paper for safety, while using less important data online. This is yet another example that technology brings about convenience, but also new threats that may interfere with our daily lives.


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