Data integrity calls for the wholesome use of data. Not only does it combine elements of quality and security, but also the consistent (re)use of data. The concept requires that data remains uncompromised, which means companies need strong skills in maintaining their information’s reliability. However, organizations must keep watch for data integrity risks that can lead to fraud or breaches.
Such breaches are not uncommon. They illustrate how crucial data integrity really can be. Professionals like CEOs, CTOs, IT managers of NGOs, and government agencies should have adequate information when analyzing their systems against fraud. The comprehension of each unit makes it easy to manage the inherent risks.
The standards of data integrity include:
- Data is complete, accurate, and consistent. Data has a clear purpose for its intended use.
- Data remains as intended throughout the entire process.
The usual data integrity risks include:
- Data usage for a purpose other than its initial intention.
- Data being inaccurate, inconsistent, and incomplete.
- Data having unclear or conflicting roles.
- Data modification when it shouldn’t be or non-modification when it should be.
How to maintain the integrity of data
As highlighted above, the only way to avoid data integrity risks is by having a clear understanding of systems, processes, data, and policies. Further, one needs to understand the main components and where they intersect with one another.
Data must have a specific purpose for its use, which means that each type of data within each system will have something unique within it. Data must remain as intended throughout the entire process. Consequently, each component gets checked and validated to ensure its use is accurate and reliable at all times.
How to minimize data integrity risks
While there are many ways to ensure data integrity, the following are some crucial methods to adopt:
Data can be stored in two or more locations at once and then compared for inconsistencies. This approach requires additional resources, but drastically reduces the chance that an incorrect change will go unnoticed.
Encryption is another practical approach, especially in managing transmission between machines or the internet. Decryption must be enforced on stolen data before it can be used by anyone else, so producers have some time to notice an attack and respond accordingly. Data integrity also relies on data uniqueness, so keeping track of user IDs and passwords can help prevent unauthorized access.
Reduce data integrity risks by keeping data private and confidential. Data access can be restricted to specific users, with permissions given on a per-user basis.
Data loss minimization
This can be achieved by ensuring data isn’t shared across multiple sources. Keeping the data in one place reduces threats from malicious or accidental interference. It is also crucial to have data backups in case of hardware or software failure. Organizations need to implement fail-safe measures in case of an attack or intrusion; firewalls and data loss prevention (DLP) tools are necessary to prevent data compromise once an attacker gains access.
Consistent update of data
The overall security of an organization depends on careful data integrity management. Data deserves updates as needed to reflect current conditions. Any data changes need proper testing before being applied. Error identification bolsters the aversion of further problems on top of the original issue. Schedule data reviews to check these issues, which could affect the main data points.
Ensure your employees know how to interact with data for error minimization and maintain its accuracy. Training also helps keep workers invested in overall quality, which is superb for business.
Protecting the integrity of your critical business data using conventional methods can seem like a difficult task. However, modern data integration tools provide an efficient alternative, offering real-time error detection and debugging.
Webhead works as a technology partner with non-profit, government agencies, and enterprise companies and their data teams to harness their data, protect it, and gain better business insights. Contact Webhead to learn how we can help you use data to your advantage.