The standard "CIA" model of computer security requires confidentiality, integrity, and availability. Data protection often focuses on preventing data theft and unauthorized access, viewing it as a privacy and security issue that can be addressed through firewalls, malware detection, data loss prevention, and other computer security software.
But not all attacks have stealing data as their goal. Attacks which simply tamper with data can be much harder to detect but have a much bigger impact on your business, leading to incorrect decisions or even endangering public safety. Given the quantities of data companies collect, how would you even detect an attack which changed your data?
Because finding unauthorized data changes is so difficult, companies need to develop procedures and use tools to support this effort. The first step to take is to acknowledge that at heart, data integrity is not an IT problem. Data integrity is not like the other aspects of computer security, which focus on the infrastructure that makes up IT systems. Because the data is created by the business, and the correctness of the data can only be judged and validated by the business, data integrity is in fact a business problem.
Of course, IT has a role in providing tools to support data integrity, but it's not a lead role, unlike the aspects of confidentiality and security. Data integrity has to be driven by a data owner from the business side of the organization who understands both the value and risk of the data.
Tools to Achieve Data Integrity
The data and associated metadata can't be protected unless it's understood and identified, which means devoting time to review each data store. Tools like Veritas Enterprise Vault can help automate what can be a time-consuming process, through recognizing data formats like social security numbers.
Once you know where your most sensitive data is, you can use tools like Veritas Data Insight to monitor access to those files. Make sure access rights don't become permanent; as staff changes responsibilities, they need to lose their old permissions while gaining only relevant new ones. Both processes and tools can help ensure that their access rights don’t simply accumulate.
Backups are critical not only to restore business operations in case of a disaster but because archived records provide a trail showing data changes. Read-only copies of known "good" data eliminate the risk of tampering and ensure the backup files are accurate.
Services to Support Data Integrity
Gain the full benefits of the CIA by making sure to include data integrity as part of your computer security efforts and bring in the tools specific to addressing those issues. dcVAST is a Veritas Technical Support Partner with the skills and expertise to support their entire range of products. Whether using our managed Enterprise Vault service, our Data Insight Services, or our managed NetBackup service, we'll help you implement a data governance policy that's effective without being intrusive. Contact us to learn more about the importance of data integrity and how Veritas can help you achieve it.