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1.1 - Holders of Information

Exam Board:



2016 - Unit 2 

Categories of Information Holders

Organisations that store and process information can be put into seven different categories:


A business will hold information on all of its employees, including their date of birth, address and financial information, allowing them to be paid at the end of each month.


Businesses will also hold commercial information about their organisation such as profits and losses, product descriptions and historical data. Many companies may record information about their competitors and general marketing data.


The government will hold a huge amount of information about all citizens in the country including financial earnings, tax paid, births and deaths. The electoral roll holds information about addresses.


A national census is taken every 10 years in the UK (the next census is in 2021) that records extensive data about everyone living in the country. The government also stores information about other countries and shares some of this publicly, such as the Foreign Office posting travel advice.



Educational organisations, such as schools, colleges and universities will hold information about current and past students as well as staff. Student information such as addresses, attendance records and examination history will be recorded, as well as contact information for parents and guardians.


Teacher information will be stored too, as well as students that previously attended the institution, even for a number of years after they have left.

An individual will hold information about themselves, either in their head or on paper or electronically. This includes their name, date of birth, address, usernames and passwords.


Individuals will store information of others, such as phone numbers, social media details and email addresses. Other information will be about organisations, such as the address of their favourite restaurant, opening hours of the local cinema or the telephone number from a catchy advert.


Healthcare services, like the NHS in the United Kingdom, will hold entire medical histories for each civilian in the country. This includes basic personal information such as current address and date of birth but much more detailed data too like previous illnesses and operations, blood type, allergies and prescriptions.


The data stored by healthcare organisations is usually confidential and should not be shared by anyone other than the citizen in question.

Charity & Community

Charities may hold financial information of donors who give money to them, as well as information about the different projects that the donations are funding. Charities such as the British Heart Foundation might have physical addresses on the high street so information may be kept about the shops too.


Community organisations like sport centres or religious institutions may hold information on members and matches, meetings or events.

Comparison of Locations

The location of systems and data affects access speed and network quality.

The digital divide is the gap between people who do and do not have easy access to computers and networks.

Developed vs. Developing Countries

Developed countries, like areas of Western Europe, North America and East Asia, have a more developed technology and industry base with more funding available for information infrastructures such as cabling and high-speed access.

Developing countries, like areas of Africa and Central Asia, have unstable governments and slower access (if any) to the internet. Less money is spent on technology and improving broadband speed and expensive equipment like computers cannot be purchased on low wages.

Urban vs. Rural

Urban locations like towns and cities have a high population density. Because there are so many people, councils and IT companies will spend a lot of money on internet infrastructure such as cabling and installing high-speed lines.

In Rural locations like the countryside, the population is sparse and settlements may be far apart so internet access is poorer and broadband speeds are slower. This means accessing information on the internet is more difficult.

Internet Access from Remote Locations

Remote locations (such as the countryside or difficult-to-reach areas like mountains or deserts) might have limited internet access. Fast fixed broadband is expensive to install and many providers simply won't invest in rural areas as it is not economically viable


Some areas, usually those with a very small or temporary population, might have no fixed internet access which will make it difficult for an individual or organisation to communicate or work online. 


Many remote locations have some form of internet but download speeds will be slow or interrupted due to intermittent connection. This makes it difficult to work online and could take a long time to access webpages or document stores. 

Alternatives to fixed broadband in remote locations include mobile broadband and satellite broadband.

  • Mobile broadband is generally not designed for home use and would be very expensive for everyday use, plus the remote location will generally mean mobile coverage could also be weak.

  • Satellite broadband requires a dish with an unrestricted view of the sky. Satellite broadband has a relatively high internet speed but will cost a lot to install and has a high latency (more chance of experiencing lag).

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Questo's Questions

1.1 - Holders of Information:

1a. State the 7 categories of information holders[7]

1b. For each of the 7 categories, briefly describe 3 different pieces of information that may be stored by the information holder. For example, a charity may store the financial information of donors. [3 each]

2. What is the digital divide? [2]

3. Describe the differences in information access for the following locations

  • a. Developed vs. developing countries

  • b. Urban vs. rural areas

  • c. Remote locations   [4 each]

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