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Understanding Processes and Procedures for Storing and Retrieving Information
Understanding Processes and procedures for storing and retrieving information
1.1 Explain the purpose of storing and retrieving required information
The purpose of storing information is so that information is kept in a safe and secure environment, complying with data protection laws. It is also a legal requirement for organisations to store certain information.
1.2 Describe different information systems and their main features
Information systems look after, create data, process data, distribute and review data to help improve efficiency and effectiveness of an organisation. Some examples of information systems include:
- Transaction processing system - Responsible for processing business transactions. The types of transactions vary between different organisations but some examples could be placing orders, billing, cheque deposits, payroll systems, reservation systems and stock control. They help to maintain, add up, change and remove data.
- Management information system - Helps with carrying out the tasks required for problem solving and decision making. They help management with the smooth running and monitoring performance levels and efficiency levels, data for accounting and other transactions. Some examples are sales management systems, budgeting, personnel, and inventory control. This information needs to be accurate and relevant.
- Decision support systems - This system assists managers in decision making. It uses internal and external resources to analyse existing information and project the effects. They help to summarise reports, forecasts and graphs. Some examples include logistics systems and spread sheets.
- Customer Relationship Management Systems - Business Owners use customer relationship systems to accumulate and track customer activities, including purchases, product defects and customer inquiries
- Business Intelligence Systems - BIS information systems that provide analyses that predict future sales patterns, summarise current costs and forecast sales revenues.
1.3 Explain the purpose of legal and organisational requirements for the security and confidentiality of information
It is important to have rules concerning the security and confidentiality of information because it may contain sensitive data such as employees personal records, payroll records, human resources records as well as financial data relating the business itself, which in the wrong hands could pose a threat to the business and its customers. It could be misused to commit fraud, discrimination and other violations.
There are laws such as the Data protection act 1998 that if not followed could lead to legal action being taken
1.4 Explain the purpose of confirming information to be stored and retrieved
Organisations store a large amount of information and keeping all of it is not practical. Storing the wrong/irrelevant information is of no use, takes up valuable space and makes retrieving information when needed more difficult.
When making decisions on confirming information to be stored the decision will depend first and foremost on the legal requirements relating to each particular type of information, for example, legal requirements state that
- Human Resource records must be retained by an organisation for six years from the end of employment of the member of staff
- Health and safety records must be retained permanently
- Accounts records must be kept for between three and six years, depending on type of organisation
Information such as personal data relating to former customers must be disposed of once is no longer being used. By following these guides you can ensure only relevant and needed information is stored therefore making it easier to find information for retrieval in quick and efficient way.
1.5 Describe ways of checking information for accuracy
The data protection act imposes obligations on you to ensure the accuracy of the personal data you hold. It must be kept up to date where necessary. Ways of doing so are:
- Using databases/spreadsheets which are updated regularly
- Set alerts on customer and employee information to make sure they are contacted to keep systems updated
- Use external and internal audits
- Review your methods for recording and storing information - re-evaluate your methods, systems and procedures on a regular basis to check that they are as effective and efficient as possible.
1.6 Explain the purpose of providing information to agreed format and time scales
Information not supplies in the correct format will need to be re-formatted before used, causing delay and also creating a risk that the information will be mismanaged during reformatting. Information not supplied within agreed time frames may arrive after deadlines have already passed and therefore be of no use or there may not be enough time to interpret the information for use. There may be time occasions when time frames have a bearing on the information provided.
1.7 Describe the types of information that may be deleted
Organisations will set their own guidelines for when and what information may be deleted, these depend on the type of organisation, size of organisation, space available in the live or current filing system and the type of information concerned.
Information that is irrelevant, out of date or inaccurate may be deleted.
Information in archived files may only be deleted when their retention period is up. Personal Data shall be retained no longer than necessary. Disposing of personal data when no longer needed reduces the risk that it will become inaccurate, out of date or irrelevant.
1.8 Describe problems tat may occur with information systems and how to deal with them, when necessary
Problems that may occur in information systems and ways to resolve them include:
- Information not being stored in the correct way for example; in wrong order, unnecessary files being kept, duplicates being stored and files missing all together. The way to overcome this problem is for an organisation to have set guide lines on how to store information, making is faster and easier to retrieve information when needed. Managers need to be notified when information is missing as this could breach data protection laws. Another way to keep on top of information is to have a system for regular checking and disposing of unnecessary information.
- Problems with computer systems such as viruses. These need to be reported to IT Manager/ IT Technicians
- Within organisations there can be communication breakdowns which results in information not being passes on in the correct way. These need to be resolved between the team or reported to manager if cannot be resolved
- Most organisations use transaction processing systems to collect and store data, process and for the out putting of functionalities of the core operations of the business. TPS information systems collect data from user inputs and then generate outputs based on data collected. These systems are used to handle hundreds of transactions and need to allow many users to work on the same set of data with immediate updating which can result in systems slowing down or network becoming deadlocked. In the event of these situations it is vital that you have your systems backed up so that information is not lost and data is secure. It is important that rules are set out and followed step by step to be considered as a successful transaction.