What is data integrity?
Data integrity refers to the stringent set of security standards and processes established to ensure the accuracy and consistency of the data that lives within an organization.
Since most decisions made within an organization are data-driven in nature, it's vital to ensure the overall quality of business-critical information throughout its life cycle.
Why is data integrity important?
Data integrity works in tandem with establishing data security and confidentiality. When the integrity of the data stored within your repositories is established, it can yield the following benefits:
- Quick and confident decision-making processes.
- Comprehensive audit trails that help forensic analysis.
- Compliance with multiple data regulatory standards.
- Accuracy in data-driven analysis
Data integrity risks
There are multiple security issues instigated by internal and external factors that could threaten the overall integrity of the stored data. Here are a few examples:
Malicious insider actions
Disgruntled employees can undermine your organization's security and sabotage the integrity of stored data.
Mistakes by negligent employees
When careless users do not meet appropriate protocols and standards of data storage and processing, it could compromise data integrity.
Malware and spyware infections
Upon intrusion, malicious software and applications alter and steal data within your network.
When a server or computer that holds data crashes or malfunctions, it could jeopardize the integrity of the stored data.
How to ensure data integrity
Follow the below mentioned best practices to establish and maintain data integrity:
- Back up essential information to avoid data loss, and always store a copy of untampered data.
- Implement the principle of least privilege to establish access control measures that limit access to data only to authorized users.
- Track all file and folder activities in real-time across various data repositories using file server auditing software.
- Assess various risks to data, and scan for insider threats, presence of orphaned data, and permission hygiene issues.
- Establish data lineage by tracking its movement from origin to destruction and ensuring its integrity at each level.