The optical behavior of a four-level tripod-type atomic system in a ring resonator driven by a cavity field and two external coherent fields is studied. It is shown that the atomic response exhibits an ultra-sensitive switch from high absorption to nearly transparency by changing the value of one of the control fields. The optical bistable response can be controlled by means of the external fields. The system can flip from the lower to the upper branch of the hysteresis curve without changing the incident probe. Switching and information storage of a light signal are predicted under appropriate triggering of the auxiliary external optical signals.