As life progresses, new information emerges, in turn leading to further progress of mankind. Information remains to be like a limitless ocean. It is infinite and extends till eternity. Information technology (IT) involves the management of information on computer-based information systems. IT deals with the use of computers to store, process, and retrieve information. The construction and design of a safe, reliable, and an always-available information infrastructure is an important constituent of information systems.
It is the collection of communication networks and the software associated with it. It refers to networks and software, which support interaction among people and organizations or the currently available networks and the prospective facilities that they will make available. It includes the Internet, the telecommunication networks, and the embedded systems as also computers.
Internet that is regarded as the network of networks is the information infrastructure of today. It is a collection of interconnected computer networks that transmit data in the form of packets using the Internet Protocol. Each of the networks carries information and services like mail and file transfer. World wide web, a collection of documents and other resources, is a service offered by the Internet.
Information infrastructure design is concerned with issues like privacy, security, translation, right to information, and most importantly, software and hardware compatibilities. Let us look at each of them.
- Privacy: Privacy of information is related to the collection of personal information. Many a time, we are asked to furnish our personal details on the web. It might be in case of an online transaction or in the process of a registration. Such information collected over the web has to be kept private and confidential. People should feel safe while letting out such information. For this purpose, it is important to include information privacy in the design of information infrastructure.
- Information Security: Securing information is about protecting it from unauthorized access, disclosure, or modification. An unauthorized access to information should not result in the destruction of that information. Information security deals with confidentiality, availability, and integrity.
- Confidentiality: It is preventing the information from being disclosed through unauthorized access.
- Availability: Computing systems that store information and the communication channels that enable access to it, must function properly. The information in an information system should be available for the users at any time.
- Integrity: In information security, integrity means that the information cannot be modified without authorization.
- Rights surrounding Information: Citizens have a right to obtain information. They are allowed to access copies of certain official documents. Law allows us as citizens of a country to access information. Information rights pertain to possession of the rights to copy or modify the acquired information. People who create content are logically, its owners. So anyone other than the author cannot modify it. One is not permitted to steal content of another author. Rights to translation of content are as prescribed by law. To organize information in an information infrastructure, it is necessary to manage the rights to information.
- Compatibility issues: While accessing information over the web, different users access it in different ways. The software and hardware they use is different. The type of communication network over which they access information may be different. Here arise the compatibility issues. Looking at the pace with which new types of software and hardware are being built, backward compatibility of newer versions with the older ones is a serious concern.
Free Information Infrastructure
It is a term used in Europe and it resembles the National Information Infrastructure. The use of the word 'free' is intended to focus on freedom and on the internet which is freely accessible. It comprises no software patents. It sometimes refers to open source software. It is about free access, open standards, network neutrality, and less control by state.
Global Information Infrastructure
It is an upcoming communication framework that is meant to connect the computer and telecommunication networks all over the world. Currently, the Internet is considered as the Global Information Infrastructure.
Information infrastructure in IT is actually a vast subject. It deals with the creation, design, and organization of information. It focuses on an infrastructure that caters to the security and access needs of information. In the words of William Pollard, "Information is a source of learning. But unless it is organized, processed, and available to the right people in a format for decision-making, it is a burden, not a benefit." This briefly describes the goal of an information infrastructure design.