Data Security

What is data?


Data comes in many forms and in many types. It also comes in vast amounts and forms the basis of all decisions, but only after something is done to it to turn it into useful information.

Essentially, the difference between data and information is that data is the raw material for processing and information is the result of the processing.

Some examples between the data and information are provided along with how they compare. Understanding the difference is important as considerable effort is spent preventing hackers from accessing the data.

Data Visualisation

Visualisation of data: Where people live in the USA

Data Vs Information ...
Data Image

As the raw material for processing into information, data has some distinguishing features:-

  • It is unorganised data or facts.
  • Data is plain facts that has to be processed into information.
  • Data has no meaning by itself.
  • Data can come in many forms: numbers, data, text, sound, pictures and video etc.
  • Survey data: companies collect data on customer satisfaction.
  • Census data: who lives where, their gender, what they do, their religion etc.
  • Student data: name, address, date of birth, next of kin etc.
  • Student performance data: exam marks in each subject.

Information is data that has been made useful by processing. It is different from data by:-

  • Information is data with the meaning of what is was collected for.
  • Data doesn't depend on information, but information depends on data. Information cannot be generated without data.
  • Information is meaning that can be conveyed.
  • Survey report: Reports on what customers think about their products or services.
  • Census report: Information about the population; how big it is, where they live, literacy rate etc.
  • Student letters: Consent letters, address labels for reports etc.
  • Student reports: Report cards on each student from each teacher, merit lists etc.
Key Differences
  • Data is the input language for computers: Information is the output language for people.
  • Data is unprocessed facts and figures: Information is processed data given a context.
  • Data doesn't depend on information: Information depends on data without which there is nothing to process.
  • Data is not specific: Information is specific enough to have meaning.
  • Data is raw collected material: Information is detailed meaning generated from the data.
Data & Information Compared
Comparison Data Information
Definition Data are raw facts of limited value. Information is data which has been processed into a meaningful context.
Example Ticket sales at different venues. Sales report revealing the most popular and profitable venue.
Significance Data alone is not useful. Information is useful.
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Can you now do?

  • Make the distinction between Data and Information.
  • Provide examples of where data becomes information.
  • Provide examples of personal data.

If you don't feel confident in meeting any of these performance criteria, ask your teacher or re-read the information again.

Cyber Security

  • Security Fundamentals
  • Data Security
  • Digital Forensics
  • Ethical Hacking
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