Information architecture deals with where information will virtually be located, to what degree is information important, how information will be maintained and the actions taken to secure that information. This field is a highly studied field in technology and business. It is extremely important to devote effort and labor to this category when working in the Information Technology department of any organization, be it a for-profit corporation, a non-for-profit group or just a government institution such as a school. Information Architecture is actually one of key components for creating the framework of Enterprise Architecture. Without architectural information, businesses will not be able to support IT projects or implement technological advancements and innovation. There are other categories that blend with information architecture in composing a technological system of a company. These two categories are infrastructure architecture and application architecture. When all information, infrastructure and application architectures are put together in the right way, businesses achieve a huge competitive edge.
The study of information architecture is composed of three important areas: backup and recovery, disaster recovery, and information security. When these three areas are implemented correctly information becomes well maintained, easily restored and highly secured. Components of information architecture should be so well fortified and implemented that the CIO should be confident enough to not be intimidated or concerned if a major disaster strikes. It is very vital that a backup, disaster recovery, and information security are at their highest peak because if a destructive mistake occurs or a catastrophe happens, a company must be able to restore any data/information lost. This is to maintain business intelligence in a ever competitive market and to continue providing great service to customers and clients.
Many companies end up paying millions of dollars if not, thousands of dollars for loosing information and not being able to restore that lost information. This loss of data is the result of crashes in computers, networks and mainframe servers. Hardware and software are bound to fail no matter what. The solution however is to always make backups of information and data. This way, when an accident occurs, or an attack strikes the company, any lost information can easily be recovered through a backup copy. Backing up information can be done through the assistance of numerous friendly-user technologies. Storage servers, software, secondary hard drives are all tools used to store a backup copy of files. There are even companies that specialize in backing up information through an online secure portal. This way a business can outsource the backup function without having to do the backup by itself. It is also equally important to mention that backing up should be done hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly depending on size of the company and the importance of information to the company’s customers. Whatever medium of technology a business chooses when backing its information, it is a step that has to be part of the daily routines. Another way a companies can insure their data is recoverable is through a technique known as fault tolerance. Using software, hardware or a hybrid of both, fault tolerance is designed to replace any broken component vital to functioning, in a moment’s notice. The last method a company can preserve valuable information is by using failovers. A failover is where a secondary part of a system can immediately substitute in place of a faulty primary component such as a database, an operating system, microchip, etc. With backups, fault tolerance and failover in mind, companies should reasonably be able to always restore information without having to fear the unpredictable.
A step that is really vital to ensuring the longevity of a business in times of disasters is a disaster recovery plan. Information architecture relies heavily on disaster recovery plans. Businesses are always subject to the risks of natural disasters (e.g. earthquake, flood) or man-made attacks (e.g. hacking, fire). Without such plan to continue operating, a disaster can wipe out a business forever. A disaster recovery plan is detailed steps for employees to follow in order to recover any destroyed information and continue to operate indefinitely if a catastrophe hits. A great component that all companies should incorporate into their disaster recovery plans is an off site location that can temporarily serve in place of the original location that is previously used and destroyed. This way, if a fire burns down a building, employees can move to an off site location and work from there. This off site location is pretty much a facility designed to allow employees to continue working after the occurrence of a disaster. Off site locations consist of two categories, hot site and a cold site. A hot site is an off site facility that is equipped with furniture, hardware, software and internet connectivity that is ready to use at anytime. A cold site on the other hand is also an off site empty facility without any hardware and software. Cold or hot sites also serve as components of a business continuity plan. Business continuity plans is similar to a disaster recovery plan with emphasis stressed on the future. Without a plan to recover and continue from a disaster, an information architecture system would simply be flawed and incomplete.
The last and perhaps the most important component to information architecture is information security. Many security experts are entrusted with task of security information against cyber attacks. Devices like PDAs, cell phones are even given security attention. The first step to secure information is to create a hack-proof password. This is extremely critical in ensuring that personal and confidential information does not end up in the wrong hands. To make a strong password it is advised to use numbers and symbols and not just letters. Password should be at least 7 characters long and its better for the password not mean a word in the English language. Another extremely crucial action to take in guarding information is to install an antivirus system and firewall along with updating all security components around the clock. It is recommended that companies always continue enhancing their security features such as intrusion-detection, content filtering, etc. In addition, creating an intelligent encryption system is all the better. Companies can use sophisticated encryption schemes to not allow intruders from accessing sensitive information. By creating a virtual security field that envelopes information, business will then have a very sturdy information architecture.