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Confidentiality, Integrity, & Availability: Basics of Information Security

Confidentiality, Integrity, & Availability: Basics of Information Security

Today’s organizations face an incredible responsibility when it comes to protecting data. Whether it’s internal proprietary information or any type of data collected from customers, companies could face substantial consequences in the event of a data breach. That’s why they need to have the right security controls in place to guard against cyberattacks and insider threats while also providing document security and ensuring data availability at all times. These information security basics are generally the focus of an organization’s information security policy.

What is an Information Security Policy?

Organizations develop and implement an information security policy to impose a uniform set of rules for handling and protecting essential data. The policy should apply to the entire IT structure and all users in the network. It determines who has access to different types of data, how identity is authenticated, and what methods are used to secure information at all times. A good information security policy should also lay out the ethical and legal responsibilities of the company and its employees when it comes to safeguarding customer data.

Most information security policies focus on protecting three key aspects of their data and information: confidentiality, integrity, and availability.  Each objective addresses a different aspect of providing protection for information. Taken together, they are often referred to as the CIA model of information security. The CIA model holds unifying attributes of an information security program that can change the meaning of next-level security.

Information Security Basics: The CIA Model

Confidentiality, integrity, and availability, also known as the CIA triad, is also sometimes referred to as the AIC triad (availability, integrity, and confidentiality) to avoid confusion with the Central Intelligence Agency, which is also known as CIA.

Confidentiality

When we talk about the confidentiality of information, we are talking about protecting the information from being exposed to an unauthorized party due to a data breach or insider threat. According to the federal code 44 U.S.C., Sec. 3542, ‘Preserving restrictions on access to your data is important as it secures your proprietary information and maintains your privacy’.

Nobody wants to deal with the fallout of a data breach, which is why you should take major steps to implement document security, establish security controls for sensitive files, and establish clear information security policies regarding devices. Confidentiality covers a spectrum of access controls and measures that protect your information from getting misused by any unauthorized access. The ideal way to keep your data confidential and prevent a data breach is to implement safeguards.

Every piece of information a company holds has value, especially in today’s world. Whether it’s financial data, credit card numbers, trade secrets, or legal documents, everything requires proper confidentiality. In other words, only the people who are authorized to do so should be able to gain access to sensitive data.

A failure to maintain confidentiality means that someone who shouldn’t have access has managed to get access to private information. Through intentional behavior or by accident, a failure in confidentiality can cause some serious devastation.

Some information security basics to keep your data confidential are:

  1. Encryption
  2. Password
  3. Two-factor authentication
  4. Biometric verification

Integrity

In the world of information security, integrity refers to the accuracy and completeness of data. Security controls focused on integrity are designed to prevent data from being modified or misused by an unauthorized party. Integrity involves maintaining the consistency and trustworthiness of data over its entire life cycle. Data must not be changed in transit, and precautionary steps must be taken to ensure that data cannot be altered by unauthorized people.

For example, in a data breach that compromises integrity, a hacker may seize data and modify it before sending it on to the intended recipient.

Some security controls designed to maintain the integrity of information include:

  1. Encryption
  2. User access controls
  3. Version control
  4. Backup and recovery procedures
  5. Error detection software

Availability

Data availability means that information is accessible to authorized users. It provides an assurance that your system and data can be accessed by authenticated users whenever they’re needed. Similar to confidentiality and integrity, availability also holds great value.

Availability is typically associated with reliability and system uptime, which can be impacted by non-malicious issues like hardware failures, unscheduled software downtime, and human error, or malicious issues like cyberattacks and insider threats. If the network goes down unexpectedly, users will not be able to access essential data and applications. Information security policies and security controls address availability concerns by putting various backups and redundancies in place to ensure continuous uptime and business continuity.

Your information is more vulnerable to data availability threats than the other two components in the CIA model. Making regular off-site backups can limit the damage caused to hard drives by natural disasters or server failure. Information only has value if the right people can access it at the right time.

Information security measures for mitigating threats to data availability include:

  1. Off-site backups
  2. Disaster recovery
  3. Redundancy
  4. Failover
  5. Proper monitoring
  6. Environmental controls
  7. Virtualization
  8. Server clustering
  9. Continuity of operations planning

Information Security Basics: Biometric Technology

Multifactor biometric authentication is one of the most effective forms of logical security available to organizations. By requiring users to verify their identity with biometric credentials (such as fingerprint or facial recognition scans), you can ensure that the people accessing and handling data and documents are who they claim to be.

Biometric technology is particularly effective when it comes to document security and e-Signature verification. Continuous authentication scanning can also mitigate the risk of “screen snoopers” and visual hacking, which goes a long way toward protecting the confidentiality requirements of any CIA model.

At Smart Eye Technology, we’ve made biometrics the cornerstone of our security controls. With our revolutionary technology, you can enhance your document security, easily authenticate e-Signatures, and cover multiple information security basics in a single, easy-to-use solution. To get a hands-on look at what biometric authentication can do for your security controls, download the Smart Eye mobile app today or contact our information security experts to schedule a demo.