What You Need To Know About Information Systems

We live in a world today in which everything happens at a jets speed. In business and in our personal lives we need to keep up with this speed of data processing so we are exposed to various channels and devices. The internet remains one of the most substantial means of optimizing business transactions thus rendering physical boundaries like distance very negligible. As the internet continues to transform business opportunities one major cause of concern is the method of payment for goods and services on this platform. It is not news that electronic finance aims at changing the face of the financial industry by encouraging online banking, brokerages, etc leveraging on the internet’s accessibility across the globe this phenomenon has been very advantageous in terms of

1.Reduced cost

2.Increased quality of service and

3.Greater access to financial services.

In as much as the opportunities for growth and business awareness via the internet are limitless this also poses a threat to the financial institutions and to the individual customers. Before the advent of the internet, the most secure way of keeping money in the bank was by using a high tech vault and securing the place with efficient security officials and burglary systems and if money is to move a bullion van is used to convey it from one location to the other in the company of heavily armed security officials. But as bullion vans are rapidly being replaced by Electronic Funds Transfer Systems (EFTs) a more sophisticated means of securing money has to be put in place. In my own words the EFT is more like an amplifier, because all along there has always been the existence of bandits and bank robbers. Only that they were limited to the technology available in their time. These same bandits are still on the prowl and this time having sufficient technology at their disposal to carry out their illicit acts. In Nigeria today for example the Government recently set a standard for electronic payments mandating the use of only PIN and CHIP cards because of their tested security features and their validity. But then we as individual users should not always wait or expect the financial institutions and the Government to do all the work so the following a basic steps that we as individuals can take to put some level of security on the use of an Electronic Funds Transfer System.

Understand the necessity of Encryption Standards: Although this may be somewhat technical for regular users of EFTs but it can easily be done by verifying the use of Digital Certificates of any institution that provides the platform for an EFT. This is usually displayed on the website of the company and you may go a step further by confirming the existence of an independent body that signs off that site as secure examples of such independent bodies include Verisign.

Importance of Acknowledgments or notifications: Although many financial institutions use this concept to promote non-repudiation (a process where the individual cannot deny making a transaction). It is also important as an individual to receive alerts whenever transactions are made this helps to track the time and location of any illegal transaction on your account.

The use of time stamps: This is also mainly used by the institutions to prevent replay of transactions as multiple transactions with similar time stamps would be disregarded except the original. This would also be handy for an individual especially when a huge volume of transaction is posted wrongly such transaction history can be traced and reversed accordingly.

When using retail EFTs such as The Automated Teller machine (ATM) and Point of Sale Systems (POS) it is necessary to understand these concepts.

1. Avoid using birthdays and anniversaries as PINs or Passwords as most of them are easily compromised.

2. Avoid writing down your PIN or Password for any reason.

3. Never disclose your PIN to anyone not even your institution has the right to ask for it.

4. Limit the amount of personal information you provide on various online Communities e.g. Facebook. Twitter, flickr etc.

5. Beware of Shoulder Surfing when entering your PIN or Passwords.

6. As much as possible put some restriction to the access granted to your mobile phones, BlackBerrys, PDAs, PCs or Disk drives especially when they contain sensitive information.

Little information can give away large assets. The best way to avoid this is to be security conscious and understand whatever technology you are using as an individual or as an enterprise.