In this day and age where people’s data is being input into most, if not all, websites people are using; it is important that this valuable information is protected. Data integrity is increasingly important since some companies that are untrustworthy may collect their users’ information and sell it for a profit without these people having any idea. Without proper data integrity, third parties or those with malicious intent may access your data without permission for their own personal gain. Fortunately, there are still online services available that are honest and practice data integrity to protect their clients.
So, let’s talk about why data integrity is so important in today’s landscape.
What is data integrity?
Data integrity refers to the accuracy, completeness, and consistency of data. It may also be used to describe data safety and security with regards to regulatory compliance. This means that whatever data users choose to input will remain complete and accurate no matter how long it is stored. As long as this information is entrusted to a service, these should be safe no matter how often it is accessed. There are actually different types of data integrity – mainly, these are physical and logical integrity. Physical data integrity refers to the wholeness and accuracy of data as it is stored or retrieved.
On the other hand, logical integrity refers to how data remains unchanged despite the many different ways it is used. However, it is important to note that data integrity does not necessarily equate to data security. The latter more commonly refers to the measures taken to keep data from getting corrupted. This as opposed to the data’s accuracy and consistency.
Data integrity is also not the same as data quality.
Like data security, this is only a part – albeit a crucial one – of what data integrity is.
We can then think of data integrity as a combination of quality data in terms. This includes age, relevance, accuracy, completeness, and reliability. It is governed by rules regarding how it is stored and transferred from one system to another.
Common Data Integrity Problems
When people think of possible problems with data integrity, the first things that pop into their heads are data leaks and attacks by hackers. Another usual concern is the presence of bugs and viruses, which are used to invade computer systems to steal, alter, and delete precious data. Unfortunately, these are not the only problems that we can encounter with data integrity. Other problems usually encountered with data integrity are different kinds of natural disasters and power outages.
Human error and storage erosion are also common culprits in problems with data integrity. This occurs when information is inputted incorrectly or when these are accidentally modified or deleted. Compromised hardware may also lead to computer crashes, which may also affect the data stored in them. Computers and servers that don’t work correctly may also affect how data is processed and stored.
How to Achieve Optimal Data Integrity in Your Business
- Validating Data – One of the best practices you can do to achieve optimal data integrity is to make it a habit to always validate the data you are inputting to your servers. This entails making sure the data is correct so it will be useful. This should be done even if the data you are processing comes from a well trusted source.
- Implementing Access Controls – Hackers are one of the biggest threats to data integrity. To ensure that there is no leakage of information, data should only be accessible by those who really need it. Allowing broad access to data should rarely be done, if at all. Only those who need to get their hands on the data should be able to do so.
- Setting Up an Audit Trail – It’s important for any business that handles data to have an audit trail to be able to see whenever there are changes made to their data and who is responsible for these. This should also be automated to prevent any form of tampering that may be done.
Understand the Lifecycle of Your Data
There are certain steps that must be followed during the lifecycle of any piece of data.
- Data Generation and Collection – As the name suggests, the start of the data life cycle involves the creation of structured and unstructured data and its collection from various sources.
- Data Storage and Management – Data should be properly stored in a stable environment to ensure safety and integrity. This phase typically includes additional processes such as encryption and compression, which make the data easier to secure.
- Data Usage and Sharing – At this stage, stored data can be used and modified by authorized users at an as-needed basis.
- Data Archiving – When data is no longer needed for everyday work, it can be archived. In this way, it may be accessed again when the need presents itself or eventually move on to the last phase of the data lifecycle.
- Data Destruction – When data is no longer useful, it can be permanently deleted in a secure way.
Enhance Data Security
There are many ways your organization can improve data security.
- Improving Passwords – This may seem obvious, but a lot of security breaches happen because of weak passwords. What’s worse is that a lot of people use the same passwords for multiple platforms, which make them even more vulnerable. Employees must be taught how to make stronger passwords that use combinations of symbols, numbers, and uppercase and lowercase letters.
- Make it a Habit to Encrypt Data – This goes hand in hand with the previous tip. Even if data seems mundane, it should be encrypted because it may actually be valuable to other departments.
- Using Software with Compliance Regulations – Different organizations have varying compliance regulations that they have to adhere to. For example, businesses that deal with credit card information should follow PCI requirements. To ensure data integrity, you must make sure that the software you are using follows these regulations.
Aside from making sure all of your data is inputted correctly, you should also make sure these are backed up. This is in case of hardware failure, natural disasters, storage erosion, and the like as was previously mentioned. This way, there is no need to go through the painstaking process of inputting each piece of information all over again.
Find Shipping Solutions Using GoShip
For any organization, data integrity is a must. Especially nowadays when we need to input our data to access different resources on the Internet. Thankfully, services such as GoShip comply with all the necessary processes to make sure that their users’ data is safe and sound. GoShip is an online freight marketplace where you can easily find shipping providers to meet your needs and budget. It’s also a self-service platform, meaning there is no more need for a middle man or any form of drawn out negotiations.
So the next time you are looking to input your data to an online database, you first have to make sure that they comply with their industry’s compliance requirements to make sure your data is only seen by those who need it. Try GoShip for secure and trusted services for all your shipments.