Social and Professional Aspects of Information Technology

Social and Professional Aspects of Information Technology

Organizational Context: Business processes, Workflow, IT environment, Organizational culture, Organizational structure, professionalism [4] 
Teamwork Concepts and Issues : Collaboration, group dynamics, leadership styles, personality types, collaboration tools [4] Professional Communications: Skill of effective oral presentation, efficient technical writing, system documentation, technical requirements [4] 
Security and Legal issues in computing: Data security, system security and network security, GhostNet, cloud computing and security, cyber terrorism, hacktivism, information warfare, Compliance, Hackers/crackers, computer crime, viruses, system use policies and monitoring, risk and liabilities of computer-based systems [5] 
Social context of computing:Social informatics, social impact of IT on society, online communities and social implications, globalization issues, economic issues in computing, digital divide [6] 
Intellectual Property: Foundations of Intellectual Property, ownership of information, plagiarism, software piracy, fair use, Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), copyrights, patents, trademarks and trade secrets, Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs), International differences [7] 
Professional and Ethical Issues and Responsibility: Relationships with Professional Societies, codes of professional conduct, ethics and history of ethics, whistle-blowing, workplace issues (harassment, discrimination), identify theft, ethical hacking [4]
Privacy and Civil Liberties 
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), European Union (E. U.) Data Protection, Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act [6]

Organizational Context:

Business PROCESS

A business process is a collection of linked tasks which find their end in the delivery of a service or product to a client. A business process has also been defined as a set of activities and tasks that, once completed, will accomplish an organisational goal. The process must involve clearly defined inputs and a single output. These inputs are made up of all of the factors which contribute (either directly or indirectly) to the added value of a service or product. These factors can be categorizes into management processes, operational processes and supporting processes.
A business process is an activity or set of activities that will accomplish a specific organizationals goal. Business process management (BPM) is a systematic approach to improving those processes. If an organisation is unable to per-form certain business processes internally due to cost or resources, the company might utilize business process outsourcing (BPO). Many organizations contract specific business tasks, such as payroll, human resources (HR) or accounting, to a third-party service provider.


Each step in a workflow has a specific step before it and a specific step after it, with the exception of the first step. In a linear workflow, the first step is usually initiated by an outside event. If the workflow has a loop structure, however, the first step is initiated by the completion of the last step.
Flowcharts and process maps are useful tools for visualising the number and order of steps in a workflow. Flowcharts use simple geometric symbols and arrows to define if/then relationships. Process maps look somewhat similar, but they may also include support information, documenting the resources that each step in a business process requires.
Workflow can be automated with software tools that use business rules to decide when one step has been completed successfully and the next step can begin. Some workflow management software (WMS) programs can also coordinate de-pendent relationships between individual steps, a concept known as workflow orchestration. Workflow documentation and business process Modeling are important aspects of business process management (BPM).

The IT Environment

As system architects, it is assumed that we are expert technologists. We are expected to provide expert technical solutions to business problems, and it is expected that those solutions integrate well with existing and planned computing system-architecture components. In performing such activities over the years, we have had to learn many aspects about: engineering; manufacturing; banking; finance; sales and marketing; military operations; vendor operations; laws standards and requirements for information protection; national and international standards, relative to information transmission and use of the Internet and more. We have also found that our profession has placed us in roles that we never dreamed of performing. We have found ourselves being archaeologists, inventors and innovators, mediators and negotiators, leaders, and even security agents.

Organizational culture

Organisational culture is a system of shared assumptions, values, and beliefs, which governs how people behave in organisations. These shared values have a strong influence on the people in the Organization and dictate how they dress, act, and perform their jobs. Every Organization develops and maintains a unique culture, which provides guidelines and boundaries for the behaviours of the members of the Organization. Let’s explore what elements make up an organisations culture. organisational structure An organizationals structure defines how activities such as task allocation, coordination and supervision are directed toward the achievement of organizationals aims. It can also be considered as the viewing glass or perspective through which individuals see their organisation and its environment.


The skill, good judgment, and polite behaviours that is expected from a person who is trained to do a job well 
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines professionalism as ”the conduct, aims, or qualities that characterise or mark a profession or a professional person”; and it defines a profession as ”a calling requiring specializes knowledge and often long and intensive academic preparation.”

Teamwork Concepts and Issues


Collaboration is the process of two or more people or organisations working together to realize or achieve something successfully. Collaboration is very similar to, but more closely aligned than, cooperation, and both are an opposite of competition. Most collaboration requires leadership, although the form of leadership can be social within a decentralised and egalitarian group. Teams that work collaboratively can obtain greater resources, recognition and reward when facing competition for finite resources.

Collaboration at the conceptual level, involves:

Awareness ? We become part of a working entity with a shared purpose
Motivation ? We drive to gain consensus in problem solving or development
Self-synchronization ? We decide as individuals when things need to happen
Participation ? We participate in collaboration and we expect others to participate
Mediation ? We negotiate and we collaborate together and find a middle point
Reciprocity ? We share and we expect sharing in return through reciprocity
Reflection ? We think and we consider alternatives
Engagement ? We proactively engage rather than wait and see
Collaboration tools
Group dynamics
Group dynamics deals with the attitudes and behavioural patterns of a group. Group dynamics concern how groups are formed, what is their structure and which processes are followed in their functioning. Thus, it is concerned with the interactions and forces operating between groups.
Group dynamics is relevant to groups of all kinds ? both formal and informal. If the UPA government has set up Group of Ministers for every governance issue, the Supreme Court of India has 27 Group of Judges committees overseeing all manner of non-judicial work in the apex court. In an organizationals setting, the term groups are a very common and the study of groups and group dynamics is an important area of study.
leadership styles
A leadership style is a leader’s style of providing direction, implementing plans, and motivating people.[citation needed] There are many different leadership styles proposed by various authors, that can be exhibited by leaders in the political, business or other fields. Daniel Goldman (2000) in his article ”Leadership that Gets Results? talks about six styles of leadership.
Personality type
Personality type refers to the psychological classification of different types of individuals. Personality types are sometimes distinguished from personality traits, with the latter embodying a smaller grouping of behavioural tendencies. Types are sometimes said to involve qualitative differences between people, whereas traits might be construed as quantitative differences. According to type theories, for example, introverts and extraverts are two fundamentally different categories of people. According to trait theories, introversion and extraversion are part of a continuous dimension, with many people in the middle.

Professional Communications:

Skill of effective oral presentation
Oral Presentation Skills Some people have an innate talent for public speaking. Most of us, however, have to work hard to get up in public and give a good talk. Next time you have to make a presentation to a group or in class, check out these tips to help you prepare, organize, and deliver your speech as well as create visual aids to accompany it and answer questions when it's over. 
efficient technical writing
Technical writing is any written form of writing or drafting technical communication used in a variety of technical and occupational fields, such as computer hardware and software, engineering, chemistry, aeronautics, robotics, finance, consumer electronics, and biotechnology. IT encompasses the largest subfield within technical communication.
system documentation
This document discusses ”system documentation”. For the purposes of this document Servers and Workstations are considered. The subject of system documentation could occupy several books; this document discusses some basic ideas. The characteristics of good system documentation are considered such as what form the documentation should take. The requirements of system documentation are considered and an attempt is made to define what system documentation should do i.e. what its purpose is. The possibilities for automating system documentation are explored.
Technical requirements
Technical requirements analysis begins with the business requirements documents created during the business analysis phase. Using the business requirements as a basis, you perform the following steps:
Perform a usage analysis to aid in determining expected load on the deployment Create a set of use cases that model typical user interaction with the deployment
Create a set of system requirements that are derived from the business requirements, use cases, and usage analysis
The use cases are also the basis for designing the logical architecture in the design phase. The logical architecture and the system requirements together form the deployment scenario, which later is an input to the deployment design

Security and Legal issues in computing

cloud computing
Types of cloud computing
Cloud computing is typically classified in two ways:
1 Location of the cloud computing
2 Type of services offered
Location of the cloud
Cloud computing is typically classified in the following three ways:
Public cloud: In Public cloud the computing infrastructure is hosted by the cloud vendor at the vendor?s premises. The customer has no visibility and control over where the computing infrastructure is hosted. The computing infrastructure is shared between any organizations.
Private cloud: The computing infrastructure is dedicated to a particular organization and not shared with other organizations. Some experts consider that private clouds are not real examples of cloud computing. Private clouds
are more expensive and more secure when compared to public clouds. Private
clouds are of two types: On-premise private clouds and externally hosted private clouds. Externally hosted private clouds are also exclusively used by one organization, but are hosted by a third party specializing in cloud infrastructure. Externally hosted private clouds are cheaper than On-premise private clouds.
Hybrid cloud Organizations may host critical applications on private clouds and applications with relatively less security concerns on the public cloud. The usage of both private and public clouds together is called hybrid cloud. A related term is Cloud Bursting. In Cloud bursting organization use their own computing infrastructure for normal usage, but access the cloud using services like Salesforce cloud computing for high/peak load requirements. This ensures that a sudden increase in computing requirement is handled gracefully.
Community cloud involves sharing of computing infrastructure in between organizations of the same community. For example all Government organizations within the state of California may share computing infrastructure on the cloud to manage data related to citizens residing in California. Classification
based upon service provided 

Based upon the services offered, clouds are classified in the following ways:
1 Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) involves offering hardware related services using the principles of cloud computing. These could include some kind of storage services (database or disk storage) or virtual servers. Leading vendors that provide Infrastructure as a service are Amazon EC2, Amazon S3, Rackspace Cloud Servers and Flexiscale.

2 Platform as a Service (PaaS) involves offering a development platform on the cloud. Platforms provided by different vendors are typically not compatible. Typical players in PaaS are Google Application Engine, Microsofts Azure, .

3 Software as a service (SaaS) includes a complete software offering on the cloud. Users can access a software application hosted by the cloud vendor on pay-per-use basis. This is a well-established sector. The pioneer in this field has been Salesforce.coms offering in the online Customer Relationship Management (CRM) space. Other examples are online email providers like Googles gmail and Microsofts hotmail, Google docs and Microsofts online version of office called BPOS (Business Productivity Online Standard Suite).

Intellectual Property: 
What is Intellectual Property?
Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce.
IP is protected in law by, for example, patents, copyright and trademarks, which enable people to earn recognition or financial benefit from what they invent or create. By striking the right balance between the interests of innovators and the wider public interest, the IP system aims to foster an environment in which creativity and innovation can flourish.

What is copyright?
A simple definition of copyright is that it is a bunch of rights in certain creative works such as text, artistic works, music, computer programs, sound record- ings and films. The rights are granted exclusively to the copyright owner to reproduce the material, and for some material, the right to perform or show the work to the public. Copyright owners can prevent others from reproducing or communicating their work without their permission or may sell these rights to someone else.
Copyright does not protect ideas, concepts, styles or techniques. For example, copyright will not protect an idea for a film or book, but it will protect a script for the film or even a storyboard for the film.
Copyright is a separate right to the property right in an object. For example, this means that the person may own a book or painting will not also own the copyright in the book or painting unless it has been specifically assigned to them.

In Australia, copyright protection is automatic. There is no need for copyright registration in Australia, nor is there a legal requirement to publish the work or to put a copyright notice on it. A work will be protected as soon as it is put into material form, such as being written down or recorded in some way (filmed or recorded on an audio tape).
What is a patent?
A patent is a right granted to the owner of an invention that prevents others from making, using, importing or selling the invention without his permission. A patentable invention can be a product or a process that gives a new technical solution to a problem. It can also be a new method of doing things, the com- position of a new product, or a technical improvement on how certain objects work.
Once it is granted, its term of a patent is 20 years from the Date of Filing, subject to the payment of annual renewal fees.
The benefits of registering a patent
Once you register a patent, apart from using the patent to prevent others from exploiting your invention, you can employ it to raise funds for your business, license it to third parties for commercial returns or sell the patented invention.
How to Apply for a Patent
Before making a formal application, you should research the Patent and Trade- mark Office’s database to see if another person has claimed a patent similar to yours. Your invention must be different from or an improvement upon a previ- ous design to be considered for a patent. Maintain careful records of the design process and the steps you took to create your invention. Enforcing the patent is up to the person or entity that applied for the patent.
To apply for a patent, you must submit documents and a filing fee, both of which occur through electronic means. Written documentation includes draw- ings, descriptions and claims of the item to be patented. You must also submit an oath or declaration stating that you invented the item or improved on an existing item in a substantial way. You must also pay the filing, search and examination fee. Once the government approves the patent, making money is up to the person who owns the legal right to market the invention.
What is a trade mark?
A trade mark is a sign that you can use to distinguish your business? goods or services from those of other traders.
A trade mark can be represented graphically in the form of your company?s logo or a signature.

Through a registered trade mark, you can protect your brand (or ?mark?) by restricting other people from using its name or logo.
Once acquired, a trade mark can last indefinitely as long as you renew it every 10 years. Because a registered trade mark is a form of IP, you can license or assign it to others.

The benefits of registering a trade mark
It is not compulsory to register a trade mark in Singapore.
For a mark that is not registered, you may rely on your rights under the common
law action of ”passing off” to protect your mark against imitation or infringe- ment.
However, if you register a trade mark in relation to your goods and/or services, you are effectively gaining a statutory monopoly of your mark. A trade mark can add value to your business because it can be used to protect your market share, you can license it to third parties such as a franchisee, or you can sell it outright for a specified value. You can also use a trade mark to help you to raise equity for the development of your business.
Trade Mark Classification
Singapore uses the International Classification of Goods and Services, under the Nice Agreement, to classify trade mark registrations. This classification sets out 34 different classes of goods and 11 classes of services that a trader can register in relation to a mark. The full list of classes can be found here.
The following can be registered as a trade mark but a mark must be distinctive and capable of distinguishing your goods or services from similar ones of other traders:
1 letters
2 words
3 names
4 signatures 

5 labels
6 devices 
7 tickets 
8 shapes 
9 colours
What is a Trade Secret?
Broadly speaking, any confidential business information which provides an en- terprise a competitive edge may be considered a trade secret. Trade secrets encompass manufacturing or industrial secrets and commercial secrets. The unauthorized use of such information by persons other than the holder is re- garded as an unfair practice and a violation of the trade secret. Depending on the legal system, the protection of trade secrets forms part of the general con- cept of protection against unfair competition or is based on specific provisions or case law on the protection of confidential information.
The subject matter of trade secrets is usually defined in broad terms and includes sales methods, distribution methods, consumer profiles, advertising strategies, lists of suppliers and clients, and manufacturing processes. While a final de- termination of what information constitutes a trade secret will depend on the circumstances of each individual case, clearly unfair practices in respect of se- cret information include industrial or commercial espionage, breach of contract and breach of confidence.
What’s an NDA? Definition by the book 

In its most basic form, a nondisclosure agreement is a legally enforceable con- tract that creates a confidential relationship between a person who holds some kind of trade secret and a person to whom the secret will be disclosed.
Confidentiality agreements typically serve three key functions:
1 NDAs protect sensitive information. By signing an NDA, participants promise to not divulge or release information shared with them by the other people in- volved. If the information is leaked, the injured person can claim breach of contract.
2 In the case of new product or concept development, a confidentiality agree- ment can help the inventor keep patent rights. In many cases, public disclosure of a new invention can void patent rights. A properly drafted NDA can help the original creator hold onto the rights to a product or idea.
3 Confidentiality agreements and NDAs expressly outline what information is private and what’s fair game. In many cases, the agreement serves as a docu- ment that classifies exclusive and confidential information.
International differences
The differences in happiness between countries are big and they exhibit regional patterns. In both life satisfaction and wellbeing the Nordic countries fare best along with Ireland, Austria and Switzerland. Just below them are Anglo-Saxon countries, major parts of Latin America and the continental part of Europe. The unhappiest countries include Russia, large parts of Eastern Europe and many African countries. Regions that can be placed in the middle are large parts of southern Europe and Asia.
Several explanations of the differences between countries have been studied. Happiness tends to be is higher in economically prosperous countries with a high level of democratic freedom and rights where trust between people is high, and in countries with an individualistic culture1 2 3. However, we can?t safely say that any of these elements reliably cause happiness ? correlation and corre- lations are often unclear. 

Social context of computing: 
what is a Social informatics? 
Social informatics is the study of information and communication tools in cultural or institutional contexts. Another definition is the interdisciplinary study of the design, uses and consequences of information technologies that takes into account their interaction with institutional and cultural contexts.
social impact of IT on society 
As we are aware of Information Technology had its modern existence from late sixties of the last century when the Arpanet was introduced, funded by the department of defence of USA. After that the IT industry has come a long way to its current shape where it is playing a very dominant role in our every sphere of life. It has made revolutionary changes in information gathering and dissemination as well as in global communication. It is creating a virtually paperless work environment. Also we can now send a message very easily to anywhere in the world in seconds. From education point of view we can have a virtual class where the instructor could sit in any part of the world and his students scattered in all different parts of the world through video conference with presentation of study materials as well as question and answer sessions. A doctor now sitting in any part of the world could perform a surgery where the patient is lying in another part of the world. These simple examples show where we stand today compared to what it was half a century back. But as we know nothing in this world is purely good as everything has a dark side. In this paper we would discuss the merits and demerits of implementing IT globally and where we are heading to in future.
online communities and social implications 
An online community is a virtual community whose members interact with each other primarily via the Internet. For many, online communities may feel like home, consisting of a “family of invisible friends.hose who wish to be a part of an online community usually have to become a member via a specific site and necessarily need an internet connection. An online community can act as an information system where members can post, comment on discussions, give advice or collaborate. Commonly, people communicate through social networking sites, chat rooms, forums, e-mail lists and discussion boards. People may also join online communities through video games, blogs and virtual worlds.
What are social implications?
The term "social implications" refers to the effects that the actions of an individual or group have on such variables as the values, demographics or economic condition of an individual, families or a community. Increased demographic diversity, for example, is one possible social implication of increasing affordable housing within a community. When such demographic changes continue over the long-term, the effect of increasing affordable housing moves beyond having social implications to one having a sustained "social impact.”
The social implications of the Internet, at least initially, included the creation of a divide between those with access to the Internet and those without this access. Another social implication of the Internet is increased access to information and social interactions for those previously isolated due to a disability. As those living with a disability engage with others via the Internet a community also changes as more of its members are able to actively participate in civic discussions and even in the economy, as they identify online employment opportunities.
Globalization issues 
Globalization poses many problems, including increased economic gains for already powerful countries at the expense of developing countries, a more homogeneous global culture overall and a host of negative environmental effects. Globalization is the process through which countries become increasingly connected through developments in technology, trade and cultural exchange.
One of the largest problems with globalization is that it operates mostly in the interest of economically developed countries that already control the global economy. Developing countries often serve merely as resources for Western nations such as the United States and the United Kingdom, offering cheap labor and raw materials. There is no certainty that a Western corporation's presence in a developing country actually brings increased economic prosperity. Often these companies send profits back to the countries in which they are based. Additionally, the highly competitive prices these corporations offer can drive local companies out of business.
Globalization is good because it provides the world with more efficient markets, increases competition leading to better goods, generates wealth in all parts of the world and builds and stabilises security. Globalization is steadily growing as technology allows individuals within each country to communicate with people previously out of reach.
The world is becoming increasingly interconnected as governments work together to solve global problems. The globalisation process has made markets more efficient as businesses and organisations have had to relearn how to create a good or offer a service in the most efficient manner in order to make a profit.
Economic issues in computing 
On the Internet, one of the essential characteristics of electronic commerce is the integration of large-scale computer networks and business practices. Commercial servers are connected through open and complex communication technologies, and online consumers access the services with virtually unpredictable behaviour. Both of them as well as the e-Commerce infrastructure are vulnerable to cyber attacks. Among the various network security problems, the Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack is a unique example to illustrate the risk of commercial network applications. Using a massive junk traffic, literally anyone on the Internet can launch a DDoS attack to flood and shutdown an eCommerce website. Cooperative technological solutions for Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks are already available, yet organisations in the best position to implement them lack incentive to do so, and the victims of DDoS attacks cannot find effective methods to motivate the organisations.
digital divide 
A term used to describe the discrepancy between people who have access to and the resources to use new information and communication tools, such as the Internet, and people who do not have the resources and access to the technology. The term also describes the discrepancy between those who have the skills, knowledge and abilities to use the technologies and those who do not. The digital divide can exist between those living in rural areas and those living in urban areas, between the educated and uneducated, between economic classes, and on a global scale between more and less industrially developed nations.

Professional and Ethical Issues and Responsibility: 

codes of professional conduct, 
A code of professional conduct is a necessary component to any profession to maintain standards for the individuals within that profession to adhere. It brings about accountability, responsibility and trust to the individuals that the profession serves.
Originally, RID, along with the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), co-authored the ethical code of conduct for interpreters. At the core of this code of conduct are the seven tenets, which are followed by guiding principles and illustrations.
The tenets are to be viewed holistically and as a guide to complete professional behaviour. When in doubt, one should refer to the explicit language of the tenet.
ethics and history of ethics 
What is ethics?
At its simplest, ethics is a system of moral principles. They affect how people make decisions and lead their lives.
Ethics is concerned with what is good for individuals and society and is also described as moral philosophy.
The term is derived from the Greek word ethos which can mean custom, habit, character or disposition.
Ethics covers the following dilemmas:
  1. how to live a good life
  2. our rights and responsibilities
  3. the language of right and wrong
  4. moral decisions - what is good and bad?
Our concepts of ethics have been derived from religions, philosophies and cultures. They infuse debates on topics like abortion, human rights and professional conduct.
What use is ethics?
If ethical theories are to be useful in practice, they need to affect the way human beings behave.
Some philosophers think that ethics does do this. They argue that if a person realises that it would be morally good to do something then it would be irrational for that person not to do it.
But human beings often behave irrationally - they follow their 'gut instinct' even when their head suggests a different course of action.
History of ethics
Since the 1980's, the Internet has vastly grown in popularity and computer security has become a major concern for businesses and governments. Organizations would like to use the Internet to their advantage by utilizing the Internet as a medium for e-commerce, advertising, information distribution and access, as well as other endeavors. However, they remain worried that they may be hacked which could lead to a loss of control of private and personal information regarding the organization, its employees, and its clients.
The term whistleblowing can be defined as raising a concern about a wrong doing within an organisation. The concern must be a genuine concern about a crime, criminal offence, miscarriage of justice, dangers to health and safety and of the environment – And the cover up of any of these.
A whistleblower is a person who provides information to law enforcement or regulatory agencies about a business that is engaged in suspected illegal or improper activities. To protect the public interest and encourage employees’ disclosure of illegal or unethical practices, Congress passed the Whistleblower Protection Act in 1989. The WPA allows employees to file a complaint against an employer if they think an employer is retaliating against them for disclosing improper activities, such as accounting irregularities or violation of an environmental protection law.
identify theft 
People are no longer using the internet just for consuming information. Now that we are in the Web2.0 era. People are becoming creators and collaborators. Social networking sites like Facebook, Myspace, Twitter or YouTube allow people to make their own mini sites so they are display information about themselves and their activities, what they like, their hobbies. Posting pictures and videos to share with friends. People can add as many friends as they want and share information publicly thought posts. Today people feel the need to keep detail of their lives public for thousands of people to see.
Ethical Hacking
Ethical Hacking, also known as penetration testing, intrusion testing, or red teaming, is the controversial act of locating weaknesses and vulnerabilities of computer and information systems by duplicating the intent and actions of malicious hackers.
An Ethical Hacker, also known as a whitehat hacker, or simply a whitehat, is a security professional who applies their hacking skills for defensive purposes on behalf of the owners of information systems. Nowadays, certiļ¬ed ethical hackers are among the most sought after information security employees in large organizations such as Wipro, Infosys, IBM, Airtel and Reliance among others.
Definition Ethical hacking
Ethical hacking refers to the act of locating weaknesses and vulnerabilities of computer and information systems by duplicating the intent and actions of malicious hackers. Ethical hacking is also known as penetration testing, intrusion testing, or red teaming. An ethical hacker is a security professional who applies their hacking skills for defensive purposes on behalf of the owners of information systems. By conducting penetration tests, an ethical hacker looks to answer the following four basic questions 
  1. What information/locations/systems can an attacker gain access?
  2. What can an attacker see on the target?
  3. What can an attacker do with available information?
  4. Does anyone at the target system notice the attempts?


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