The interconnectedness of this internet of things (IOT) world that we now live in means that those things that worked in the past would no longer be adequate for today’s fast paced world that is constantly facing the cybersecurity ever increasing threat.
The traditional MIS concepts are fast becoming outdated. Therefore, only businesses that are quickly leaving the yesteryears MIS mantras behind would continue to survive this current cyber war zone that businesses now operate in. This is also true in the area of management accounting control systems (MACS) where the effects of changes in paradigm is even causing more accounting disruptions.
In this article on what is management information systems, I would be taking the information security perspective of management information system. My aim is not to fully discuss all the tools that exists in MIS but to attempt to refocus the traditional MIS thinking in the light of cybersecurity. Firstly, lets refresh our mind on what an MIS is.
What is management information system (MIS)?
Every information specialist that you ask to define MIS for you would give you a unique definition that suits reflects his or her biases and experiences. So, I would take same path and define an MIS as ‘the advantageous collaborative efforts amongst actors within an organization that aims at optimally, appropriately and securely producing useful information to managers at all levels, that helps managers play their role in achieving organizations objectives’ C Okwuduche 2022. Note that I de-emphasized the medium through which the information is produced – it can be either manual or computerized system.
Potential weaknesses of MIS
There is no single day that passes without we hearing news about MIS failure (security wise, functionality wise, and deliverable wise). All of this reported news has one thing in common, they all cost the affected businesses a fortune.
Factors that causes MIS potential problems or weaknesses
- Not involving management at the crucial early stage of systems design and implementation
- Over focusing on the technological aspect of MIS
- Too much emphasis on operational activities
- Misconceived user requirement or assumed user requirements information systems specialists
- Shaky top-level management support
- Poor security awareness of MIS actors
Information Security Has A Big Part to Play
Computerization is continuously taking a more prominent position in the management information systems domain as we aggressively advance into sophisticated areas of computing. This quantum advancement in computer technology has brought and will continue to bring improvement in the way management information system operates.
However, the one major drawback to this unavoidable development is the issue of information security. Business owners and managers can no longer continue to ignore the ever-present threat to their MIS that is coming from lack information security when designing and implementing their MIS. And as such, security objectives must be fully integrated into the overall objectives of management information system under the control objectives section.
This way, information systems auditors would be more effective and be properly directed when auditing information systems like AIS or MIS. Remember that the value of information is as good as the quality of the action that is taken based on the information. Therefore, making sure that the CIA of the information is intact is very paramount.
Increase in knowledge requirement for MIS specialists
MIS has always drawn from a wide variety of discipline and will continue to expand the pool of disciplines where it draws concepts, techniques, and methodologies from. The areas that have been contributing to MIS development & operation and will continue to do so includes:
- Mechanics of data, information and communications
- Decision making and operations research tools
- Control techniques and principles
- Management functions and influence
- Cybersecurity and physical security
- Rudiments of organizational structures and techniques
- General systems ideology
- Regulations and laws of our environment
- Effects of information overload on the users of information
- Employment models, especially changes in workplace reality – we now have; remote and hybrid workspaces.
- Process improvement methodologies like the use of Lean Six Sigma to improve financial performance.
Modern day desired characteristics of MIS
The main deliverables of MIS are messages and reports. Hence, for MIS to be worth any effort that is put into it, it must have the capability, capacity and ability to produce information with the following characteristic:
- Available when needed
- Flexibility and adaptability to difference communication medium – i.e mobile device friendly
The business and investment communities now handsomely reward data driven leaders for their ability to make insightful decision using the enormous clean bigdata that are been generated by our daily interactions. So, the above mentioned desired characteristics of a modern management information system cannot easily be traded for anything – you will agree with the result of reality check that the speed of creation and consumption of information is always taking a new all time high stance.