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In his study - File Control: The Heart Of Business Computer Management - William G. O'Brien, Assistant Professor, The School of Hospitality Management at Florida International University, initially informs you: “Even though computers are an everyday part of the hospitality industry, many managers lack the knowledge and experience to control and protect the files in these systems. The author offers guidelines which can minimize or prevent damage to the business as a whole.”

Our author initially opens this study with some anecdotal instances illustrating the failure of hospitality managers to exercise due caution with regard to computer supported information systems inside their restaurants and hotels.

“Of the three components that make up any business computer system (data files, programs, and hard-ware), it is files that are most important, perhaps irreplaceable, to the business,” O’Brien informs you.

O’Brien breaks down the noun, files, into two distinct categories. They are, the files of extrinsic value, and its counterpart the files of intrinsic value.

An example of extrinsic value files would be a restaurant’s wine inventory. “As sales are made and new shipments are received, the computer updates the file,” says O’Brien. “This information might come directly from a point-of-sale terminal or might be entered manually by an employee,” he further explains.

On the intrinsic side of the equation, O’Brien wants you to know that the information itself is the valuable part of this type of file. Its value is over and above the file’s informational purpose as a pragmatic business tool, as it is in inventory control.

“The information is money in the legal sense For instance, figures moved about in banking system computers do not represent dollars; they are dollars,” O’Brien explains. “If the record of a dollar amount is erased from all computer files, then that money ceases to exist,” he warns.

This type of information can also be bought and sold, such as it is in customer lists to advertisers.

Files must be protected O’Brien stresses. “File security requires a systematic approach,” he discloses. O’Brien goes on to explain important elements to consider when evaluating file information. File back-up is also an important factor to think about, along with file storage/safety concerns.

“Sooner or later, every property will have its fire, flood, careless mistake, or disgruntled employee,” O’Brien closes. “…good file control can minimize or prevent damage to the business as a whole.”