The CIA Triad of confidentiality, integrity, and availability is regarded as the foundation of data security. Each security control and vulnerability can be evaluated in the context of one or more of these basic principles. It is quite easy to safeguard data important to you. You can save your photos, insights, and writings on a secured thumb drive that is only accessible to you.
However, businesses and organizations must cope with this on a large scale. After all, it is the firm data—products, customer and staff information, ideas, research, and experiments—that makes your business meaningful and profitable. So, how can a company go about safeguarding this information? Security tactics and technological solutions can certainly assist, but one principle underpins them all: The CIA Triad.
This approach incorporates three main elements to drive security measures, controls, and overall strategy: confidentiality, integrity, and availability. Let’s dive deeper into these three terms: confidentiality, integrity, and availability.
The CIA triad is universally perceived as an information security model, and it is not a distinctive principle, and there was no one author. The paradigm appears to have evolved through time, with origins as old as modern computers, including ideas from diverse sources.
The formalization of confidentiality is traced back to a 1976 study conducted by the United States Air Force. Integrity was discovered in a 1987 study that said that business computing necessitates specific attention to data consistency. The origins of availability are unknown, but the term received recognition in 1988 because of the Morris worm assault, which had disastrous consequences on hundreds of important UNIX workstations at the time and forced the web to be segmented for days to solve the disaster.
However, it is unclear when the CIA became a triad. By 1998, the fundamental principle appeared to have been established.
Confidentiality refers to the privacy of an organization’s data. This frequently implies that only authorized persons and procedures should have access to or edit data.
Data integrity means that it can be verified. It should be retained in the right state, where it cannot be interfered with, and it should be accurate, original, and dependable.
Unauthorized users must be prevented from the data, and authorized users must have access to it whenever needed. This includes maintaining systems, networks, and devices functioning.
All of these elements are critical for security experts of all types. These three principles are placed together as a triad so that information security experts can consider their connection, how they intersect, and how they contradict one another. Examining the conflict between the three legs of the triad can assist security experts in determining their information security objectives and approaches.
Cyberattacks, data theft, and breaches are becoming more prevalent. Remember the Facebook data breach scandal? This has major consequences for Facebook’s operations as lost user confidence resulted in government probes, lost advertising income, and many users abandoning the network.
The CIA triad works as the primary root and plays a critical role in protecting data, safeguarding it, and retaining the data safe against expanding cyber threats to create and strengthen the organization’s security systems and procedures.
When a data leak, security risk, or other security issue happens, it is considered that the organization failed to apply one or more of the three principles, resulting in the occurrence. It improves the security posture, allowing the company to stay agile and adapt to every circumstance with complicated rules, ensuring that there is no disruption to business and that it persists.
Let us understand how the CIA triad works with a real-life instance.
Think of a mobile payment application where customers can check their bank balances and other transactional information. Before giving admittance to sensitive data, two-factor authentication confirms confidentiality. The bank software ensures data integrity by maintaining all transfer and withdrawal histories made via the mobile payment application in the user’s bank accounting. The mobile payment application offers availability as it is always available to people.
Applications of Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability
Let’s understand some of the applications of the CIA triad with the help of examples:
Example of confidentiality
Let us now consider a simple example: the employee paycheck database, which records all employee information. That database is only accessible to a few authorized personnel. Furthermore, the information given to that specific group is not the same for everyone, and constraints on the details provided can be implemented.
Let us look at another illustration of confidentiality. Buyers’ data is maintained by e-commerce firms such as Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, and others, and if stolen, it can cause significant harm. Credit card information, shipping information, contact information, and other personal information should be safeguarded to prevent illegal access and data leakage. Otherwise, significant harm can happen.
Businesses can employ strong authentication, robust access restrictions, steganography, encrypting data, remote wipe capabilities, and cybersecurity awareness to all employees to ensure confidentiality.
Example of Integrity
In the banking industry, a sense of trust should be developed between a bank and its clients about financial information and account balances, guaranteeing that these credentials are genuine and have not been twisted or manipulated.
Data must always be protected whether it is utilized or in transit, or kept in a storage device, data center, or cloud server to preserve data integrity,
Businesses can employ measures such as encryption, digital signatures, hashing, and digital certificates to ensure data integrity. In addition, intrusion detection systems, robust authentication procedures, version control, auditing, and access controls can help to assure integrity.
Example of Availability
Many businesses give high value to a website’s accessibility and responsiveness. Even a slight interruption in website availability can result in revenue loss, consumer unhappiness, and reputation harm. Hackers regularly employ Denial of Service (DoS) attacks to interrupt web services. A DoS attack occurs when hackers flood a site with unnecessary requests, overloading the server and decreasing performance for genuine users.
Systems with a high demand for continuous availability should have hardware redundancy, with backup systems and data storage readily available. System performance and network traffic should be monitored using software tools.
The CIA triad gives the fundamental building structures for comprehending the menace encountered in the cyber world. They serve as a guide for determining how to safeguard the most valuable assets. The approach is likely to be most effective when one of confidentiality, integrity, or availability is more vital to your company. Triad is always a high priority for every information security expert. If you want to understand more about triad and use the triad, you can check out UNext Jigsaw Academy’s Postgraduate Certificate Program in Cybersecurity.