The fundamental principles (tenets) of information security are confidentiality, integrity, and availability.  Every element of an information security program (and every security control put in place by an entity) should be designed to achieve one or more of these principles.  Together, they are called the CIA Triad.

What is Confidentiality?

Confidentiality measures are an essential component of data security, as they aim to safeguard sensitive information against any unauthorized access or disclosure. The primary goal of implementing confidentiality principles is to maintain the privacy and confidentiality of confidential information, ensuring that it remains accessible only to authorized individuals who require such information to carry out their job responsibilities.

What is Integrity?

Integrity is another fundamental principle of data security that focuses on preventing any unauthorized modifications, deletions, or additions to the data. It is designed to ensure that data is accurate and trustworthy, and that it has not been tampered with or altered in any way without proper authorization. By upholding integrity principles, organizations can maintain the quality and reliability of their data, thereby enhancing their decision-making capabilities.

What is Availability?

Availability is yet another critical component of data security, which involves ensuring that data is accessible to its users at all times, whenever they require it. This principle is concerned with the functionality of support systems, including hardware, software, and network infrastructure, and ensuring that they remain operational and responsive to user needs. By maintaining availability principles, organizations can ensure that their users can access the data they need to make informed decisions, thereby enhancing their productivity and efficiency.

While confidentiality, integrity, and availability are all important principles in data security, it is important to note that they are often interrelated and can impact one another. For example, maintaining confidentiality can sometimes limit availability if strict access controls prevent authorized users from accessing the data they need. Similarly, ensuring integrity can sometimes impact confidentiality, as auditing and monitoring data to detect unauthorized modifications may require access to sensitive information.

To achieve effective data security, organizations need to develop a comprehensive approach that balances these principles while addressing the unique risks and threats that they face. This may involve implementing a range of security measures, such as access controls, encryption, backups, and disaster recovery plans, as well as training employees and developing policies and procedures to ensure that everyone in the organization understands their role in maintaining data security.

Overall, maintaining confidentiality, integrity, and availability is essential to ensuring that organizations can effectively protect their sensitive information and leverage it to make informed decisions. By implementing robust security measures and fostering a culture of data security, organizations can mitigate the risks associated with data breaches and ensure that they remain competitive in today’s data-driven world.

Effectively executing all three tenets of the Security Triad creates an ideal outcome from an information security perspective. Consider this example: An organization obtains or creates a piece of sensitive data that will be used in the course of its business operations. Because the data is sensitive, that data should only be able to be seen by the people in the organization that need to see it in order to do their jobs. It should be protected from access by unauthorized individuals. This is an example of the principle of confidentiality.

When the individual that needs that piece of data to perform a job duty is ready to utilize it, it must be readily accessible (i.e. online) in a timely and reliable manner so the job task can be completed on time and the company can continue its processing. This describes the principle of availability. And finally, the data will be used in calculations that affect business decisions and investments that will be made by the organization. Therefore, the accuracy of the data is critical to ensure the proper calculations and results upon which decisions will be made. The assurance that the data has not been improperly tampered with and therefore can be trusted when making the calculations and resulting decisions is the principle of integrity.

LBMC provides strong foundations for risk-management decisions. We design our security risk assessments to arm your organization with the information it needs to fully understand your risks and compliance obligations. Learn more about our Risk Assessments / Current State Assessments.


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