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Network administrator and IT support- staff - Essay Example

Network administration is a comprehensive discipline which involves various activities such as the management of people, processes, procedures, technology, products and tools. It ensures that the network operates efficiently at all times and avoids any negative impact on the organisation that is using the network. Network administration is responsible for a reliable, consistent, and scalable network infrastructure that exceeds service levels and optimises assets. As organisations become more dependent on the services of a network and the network becomes more complex it is important that the network is stable.

The benefits of network administration include benefits to business as well as benefits to information technology services. A reliable and consistent network that provides adequate services to users, minimizes the impact of changes to the network, handles problems efficiently, and reduces the risk of failure. The tasks of a network administrator generally fall into four main areas which are designing and planning the network, setting up the network, maintaining the network and expanding the network. The first stage in the development of a network involves creating its design which is usually done by the network administrator. Design of the network involves choosing which type of network would be most suitable for the organisation they are working for. After the network has been designed the next step for the network administrator is setting up the network.

This consists of installing the hardware that will physically make up the network, configuring files and databases and configuring other devices like hosts, routers and configuration servers. This stage of network development is a very important task for the network administrator. The third phase of network administration consists of maintaining the network. This phase usually consists of ongoing tasks that the network administrator will be spending the majority of his time doing. They might include adding new machines to the network, making sure the networks security is adequate, administering network services like name services and electronic mail and he must also troubleshoot the network if there are any problems encountered. The longer a network has been running trouble free the more likely it is that it will need expanding of its features.

First of all you can start by increasing network population and adding new hosts and expanding network services by adding software. However there comes a point when a network can no longer run efficiently and the network administrator must decide whether it is time for the fourth phase which is expansion. There are several options to consider when expanding the network. You have the option to set up a new network and connect it to the existing network using a machine functioning as a router. You can configure machines in the user’s homes or offices and connect them to the network. You can connect the network to the internet which would intern allow users on the network to find information from other systems across the globe. Finally you can configure UUCP communications, enabling users to exchange files and electronic mail with remote machines.

The database administrator is an information technology expert or a well trained computer literate who is responsible for all the technical aspects of a database within an organisation. The role of a database administrator contains various tasks. The database administrator is responsible for management related tasks such as communicating with the management to find out there needs and also the needs of the database users. They are responsible for the sharing of common data by overseeing proper key management and data dictionary maintenance. They must maintain database software along with tools and documents. The database administrator is also responsible for the security aspect of the database.

They must monitor the security of databases and software. They are responsible for monitoring the use of access rights, they may have to grant or revoke the rights of certain users of the database system. They must make sure that all of the database software licenses are up to date and also the content rights. The day to day tasks that the database administrator will be doing most of the time are maintaining the development of databases, testing database environments and starting and stopping the databases. They must also monitor the database and optimise the performance of the databases to ensure they are running efficiently.

They must maintain the availability and integrity of the database including integrity checking and locking of the database. If necessary they may have to install new database software. An important aspect of their work is maintaining the back-up of the database and when needed restoring the database. They must over see the database content with the persons responsible for the application and the creating and deleting of databases and public database objects.

One of the most important aspects of database administration is security. Security of data can be achieved by ensuring its confidentiality, integrity and availability or CIA. The techniques used to achieve these aims are encryption, authentication, secure erasure, access control and anti-virus methods. Encryption is the rearranging or disguising of information so that it cannot be understood by a UN authorised person.

Encryption can be used very effectively to protect data held on a computer system or information that is transported across a network. Authentication is the technique used between a sender and receiver to validate the source and text of a message. Using this method content dispute can be avoided and it is easy to tell if it has been alerted by an unauthorised person. It is also a powerful tool that ensures the

Integrity of stored data and it can be used to combat viruses or Trojan horses. Secure erasure is the removal of file contents from disk such as disks. Deleting files using system commands often only deletes the file name and not the contents. Access control is the method used to prevent an intruder accessing computer resources, in its simplest from it is the physical lock on a computer room. Logical access control means the separation of the user’s processes and data as well as the separation between users and operating systems. Anti-virus measures ensure that computer viruses do not corrupt or delete data. They include prevention, detection and recovery. There are dangers to all of the information stored on the database. Company data is often very important and can include critical financial data.

Personal computer resources need protection against unauthorised access and destruction or modification of data. The potential damage is great e.g. if an employee was to modify the pay roll there would be disastrous implications. Large computer systems use logical access control mechanisms such as login passwords and user areas on the disk. These offer good protection against casual attempts to access unauthorised information but they can be overcome by more experienced users. A good solution to these kinds of problems is to protect information by encrypting it. Encryption means scrambling it into a coded form in which it cannot be read or used even by hackers or people with computer experience.

When the integrity rather than the confidentiality of data is important then authentication can be used to protect them. There are dangers to data that is being moved; whenever information is communicated it becomes vulnerable. An example of this is if a confidential email is read by an unauthorised user or on an unattended PC. These kinds of dangers also threaten networks and even written documents. Cryptographic techniques can be used to protect communicated information against interception and falsification.

The database standards that most network administrators use are OBDC. OBDC or open database connectivity is a standard database access method developed by Microsoft. ODBC was designed to make it possible to access any data from any application regardless of which database management system is handling the data. ODBC manages this by inserting a layer called a database layer as the middle layer between an application and the database management system.

The purpose of this layer is to translate the applications data queries into commands that the DBMS understands. RDBMS or relational database management system is a type of database management system that stores data in the form of related tables. These are powerful because they require few assumptions about how data is related or how it will be extracted from the database. As a result the same database can be viewed in many different ways. An important feature of relational systems is that a single database can be spread across several tables. This differs from flat-file databases, in which each database is self-contained in a single table.

To prevent disaster the network administrator has to make sure that he makes regular backups of the database. One method preventing data disaster is by using RAID or redundant array of inexpensive disks. RAID is the organisation of multiple disks, into a large high performance logical disk. Disk arrays stripe data across multiple disks and access them in parallel which in turn helps to achieve higher data transfer rates on large data accesses and higher input/output rates on small data accesses. Data striping also results in uniform load balancing across all of the disks, eliminating hot spots that otherwise saturate a small number of disks, while most disks sit idle.

RAID is needed for disaster prevention because of two main reasons, an array of multiple disks accessed in parallel will give greater throughput than a single disk and also redundant data on multiple disks provides fault tolerance. If an organisation was using a single disk, they could not protect themselves against the cost of a disk failure, the time required to obtain and install a replacement disk, reinstall the operating system, restore files from backup tapes, and repeat all the data entry performed since the last backup point. With multiple disks and a suitable redundancy scheme, your system can stay up and running when a disk fails, and even while the replacement disk is being installed and its data restored. This is why RAID is an important technology to consider as disaster prevention.

As mentioned earlier an important security technique that database administrators implement on multi-user platforms is encryption. Encryption is the scrambling or rearranging of data so that it cannot be viewed by an unauthorised person. Modern encryption techniques perform there scrambling by using a key chosen by random. This key is like a password to access the data. Decryption is the opposite of encryption, it is the recovering of the original data that was encrypted, and if the decryption is carried out by using the wrong key then it is useless. Encryption can be used to protect data being held on a computer system or data being transmitted on a network, it is only applied to documents that really need protecting.

If encryption is used in the right way it is the most effective method in protecting data against unauthorised viewing. It is a lot harder technique to beat unlike the standard access control system which is often simple for hackers. Cracking an encrypted code is very difficult as it uses complex laws of mathematics. The overall security provided by encryption really depends on the way in which it’s used however in the hands of an experienced database administrator it is a very effective tool.

The term client server was first used in 1980 and it referred to the use of personal computers on a network. The client server software architecture is versatile, message based and has a modular info structure. It is easier to use, more flexible, information can be exchange between numerous computers and it can be modified as compared to a mainframe, time-sharing computer. A client is a requester of services and a server is a provider of services. Depending on the software configuration a single machine can be either a client or a server. As a result of the limitations of file sharing architectures, the client/server architecture was formed.

This approach introduced a database server to replace the file server. Using a relational database management system (DBMS), user queries could be answered directly. The client/server architecture reduced network traffic by providing a query response rather than total file transfer. It improves multi-user updating through a GUI front end to a shared database. In client/server architectures, Remote procedure calls (RPCs) or standard query language (SQL) statements are typically used to communicate between the client and server. Client server architectures are being used throughout industry. They provide a versatile info structure that supports the upgrading of new technology more easily than older software designs.

Object orientated technology has influenced the design of modern client server architectures as its technology has many advantages. Object orientated technology consists of a body of methods, processes and tools used to construct software systems from objects. Object-oriented methods provide a unifying paradigm for the three traditional phases of software development which are analysis, design and implementation.

This unification leads to a smooth transition from one phase to the next. The main features of object-oriented are encapsulation and hierarchical types. The major benefits are support for reuse and better understanding of the software system. Several object-oriented software development methods have been proposed and are continuously refined. Many object-oriented CASE tools have been developed to support the methods.

Object-oriented techniques promise to simplify and speed up the development of software systems. The start of an object-oriented development process, presented in almost all methods, is the identification of the entities of a problem that are then, formalized in objects and attributes. The misunderstanding of the system components can grow from phase to phase and can lead to either an inappropriate computer solution or to difficult maintenance.

Conclusion

I have come to the conclusion that all of the aspects that I have investigated all play an important role in the administration of data. The network administrator plays an important role because they have to make sure that the computer network is designed correctly, they have to maintain the network and they also have to expand the network if required. The database administrator plays an important role in the management of the data on the database.

They have to maintain the integrity of the data and monitor the access that users have to the data. They oversee all of the security aspects of the database and they must make sure that unauthorised access of data is prevented. The database administrator must also make sure that disasters are prevented by regularly backing up the data and by using various other techniques. Client\server architecture plays an important role in the administration of data because all modern database systems use this architecture because it is more efficient and reliable than the old file sharing architectures.