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Define “Availability”

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The availability of educational technology increased substantially during the 1990s, particularly at the school level. By 1999, most teachers reported having at least one computer in their classrooms, and over half of these teachers also had access to the Internet in their classrooms. Additionally, the majority of teachers also reported having these technologies available at home.

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Availability is one of the five pillars of Information Assurance (IA). The other four are integrity, authentication, confidentiality and nonrepudiation. When a system is regularly non-functioning, information availability is affected and significantly impacts users. In addition, when data is not secure and easily available, information security is affected, i.e., top secret security clearances. Another factor affecting availability is time. If a computer system cannot deliver information efficiently, then availability is compromised. Data availability must be ensured by storage, which may be local or at an offsite facility. In the case of an offsite facility, an established business continuity plan should state the availability of this data when onsite data is not available. At all times, information must be available to those with clearance.

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Technology advancement encompasses many costly activities, from basic science to product development to adoption, making the entirety of the relationship between technology advancement and spending multifaceted and sometimes difficult to understand clearly. One point at which many of the relevant issues crystallize and are frequently discussed is the placement of new equipment into service (Phelps C.E., 1992). This paper addresses questions of technology and spending from this perspective, reporting on a series of analyses that investigate the relationship between the availability of specific technologies and equipment, on the one hand, and health care use and spending, on the other. We consider a range of technologies, from outpatient diagnostic imaging to inpatient radiation oncology facilities, linking measures of technology supply to spending for both elderly and non-elderly populations and examining whether changes in availability are related to changes in use and spending. It is important to stress that costly advances in medical technology need not be “bad” for society if they produce comparable or greater benefits. While some have questioned the extent to which high medical spending in the United States has produced benefits in a broad sense, other recent work has suggested that some technological advances have produced important net benefits for society even after their substantial costs are taken into account (Heffler S. 2003).

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In any event, ensuring there are data backups will help ensure high availability in the case of data loss, corruption or storage failures. A datacenter should be able to quickly recover from data loss for any reason to maintain high availability. An IT organization should enact automatic disaster recovery plans such as hosting data backups on redundant servers for data resilience.

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Heffler S. et al. ., “Health Spending Projections for 2002–2012,” 7 February 2003 , www.healthaffairs.org/WebExclusives/Heffler_Web_Excl_020703.htm ( 1 October 2003 );

Strunk B.C. and Ginsburg P.B. , “Tracking Health Care Costs: Trends Stabilize but Remain High in 2002,” 11 June 2003 , www.healthaffairs.org/WebExclusives/Strunk_Web_Excl_061103.htm ( 1 October 2003 ).

Phelps C.E. , Health Economics ( New York : HarperCollins , 1992 )

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Define “Availability”
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