Computer system and data integrity relates to the methods and approaches used to protect data and systems from unauthorized access, and to ensure that any data is real, accurate, consistent, and valid across its entire lifecycle.
Terms related to Integrity: Information Security, Authentication, Validation, Authorization, Confidentiality, Data Integrity, Principle of Least Privilege.
Data integrity is a key part of information assurance, and a major requirement for information security. Integrity ensures that users, systems, and customers can trust the information that is used for business processes and providing business products and services. Data integrity is essential to collecting, processing, sharing, and managing data.
Integrity is typically indicated by an absence of any alteration in data between two updates of a data record. Data integrity and validation should be implemented in databases as they are designed, and maintained with error-checking processes.
If data lacks integrity, it cannot be trusted, which can impact the efficiency and reputation of an organization. The main impact on data integrity comes from human and system error, storage issues, and internal or external attacks. Criminals can damage data integrity through the use of malware on ransomware, or by gaining access to sensitive systems and data and compromising the information they find. An employee may accidentally damage data integrity through mistakes when inputting, transferring, or using data.
Businesses can check data integrity by comparing data against last known “good” snapshots of information, and through techniques like checksums and data validation algorithms. Organizations can protect against hackers and criminals through vulnerability scanning, robust authentication, and other data security best practices.