All You Need to Know About Data Integrity and Security Protocols to Secure data Integrity
Following the recent surge in data breaches, there is an increasing need to secure your data integrity. Data insecurities and related compromises now seem to be an unending nightmare-we hear it in the news almost daily. As a result, there is a growing need for small and large organizations, businesses, individuals, and companies to install conventional data security protocols. The security protocols will be tasked with securing data integrity from innumerable related threats. This article explains five of the best and most necessary data security protocols that will be of great help in playing this role. Let us first understand the meaning of data integrity.
What is Data Integrity?
Data integrity is a term that refers to how reliable and trustworthy data and information is. It can also be defined as the process of preserving the completeness, validity, consistency and accuracy of information and data throughout its life cycle. Data integrity is mainly concerned with ensuring that no variations or errors appear in a given data set. The security of data integrity means that all data repositories and information will remain accurate and reliable, no matter the time the data is stored or how often the information will be accessed.
It is vital to note that data integrity and data security are two very different things. Data security refers to all the measures and guidelines to ensure that data is not stolen or corrupted. Data integrity is majorly concerned with ensuring the intactness and accuracy of data. Also, you ought to understand that data integrity is not data quality. Like data security, data quality is an element of data integrity concerned with whether the data in a database meets the set standards.
Data Security Protocols to Secure Your Data Integrity
There are five crucial categories of protocols that you need to understand if you want to secure your data integrity successfully.
Website Security Protocols
The first set of protocols that you ought to pay much attention to is web security protocols. As you are already aware, websites carry a lot of sensitive information, which must be protected at all costs. The first step to secure your data integrity is by taking adequate measures to ensure that your website is free from attacks. The following are some of the website security protocols that you ought to take to protect your website:
Constantly update your Software and Operating Systems
Outdated software versions and Content Management Systems pose a great risk to data integrity. Hackers usually target such software to launch attacks that will leave you devastated. The cost of a successful data breach is something you are not ready to incur. That is why you should ensure that you seal all the loopholes that outdated software can pose to your data. Some of the most devastating data breaches, including the Equifax data breach, have resulted from outdated software.
You should always ensure that you install a new software version once the ‘update’ notification pops up on your screen. New versions come with more advanced security features that will protect you from any data breaches. Failing to carry out prompt updates is like risking the integrity of your data.
Best Password Practices
Nothing gives proper protection to your data more than a strong and unique password. These passwords can withstand brute force attacks and any attempts to get past them. While creating a password, ensure that you adhere to the best password practices. For instance, you need to create a password with a mixture of characters- numbers, letters, symbols and special characters. The password should also be long enough. Eight to ten characters will be an ideal length. As a general rule, the longer the password, the stronger it will be.
The password should be unique. A unique password is only used once. Reusing passwords may weaken your security walls. It would be best if you also were mindful of how you store the passwords. Writing them down or storing them in your browsers might compromise your data.
The Secure Socket Layer
The SSL certificate is a security protocol that offers data encryption to data flowing between web servers and web browsers. Because you are dealing with sensitive data such as credit card numbers and financial information, you need an SSL certificate to encrypt these data. It will be hard for a hacker to access and alter encrypted data. The reason is that encrypted data travels through a coded format that can only be decoded by the intended recipient, who bears the right key to decrypt the data. If you want to ensure that you maintain ultimate data integrity, you will need to acquire and install an SSL certificate.
Carrying Out Frequent Data Backups
A backup plan ensures continuity even after a data compromise. For example, if an intruder alters your data, you can always retrieve the original data from the backup file. Therefore, you must carry out the backup frequently and store the backup file in a different location where you can easily retrieve it in case of uncertainties.
Email Infrastructure protocols
Email communication is now a significant element of every organization. Today, most business communications happen via mail. As a result, there is a need to protect all the data transferred via emails. You can follow the following four email infrastructure protocols to ensure data integrity for your email communications.
The S/MIME protocol encrypts all the content an email carries before the email can be sent out. Only the designated recipient will be able to decrypt the email. Before choosing an email client, you should first ensure that it supports this protocol.
The Use of Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance
DMARC validates the DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) and the Sender Policy Framework (SPF) standards. It also averts any malicious activity that originates from a domain. Any email that will fail the SPF or DKIM check will be rejected.
DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM)
DKIM is an essential protocol in the security of mail communications. The organization that owns the signing domain can link itself with the digital signature to validate the organization. The digital signature is essential because it establishes whether the domain sent the mail and whether it authorized the email.
Sender Policy Framework
It would help if you had the SPF authentication protocol to protect your data from spoofing. Furthermore, this protocol also allows the webserver to check whether an email has been sent by the domain or a hacker masquerading as the domain. The domain owner will also announce the specific internet protocol address that can send emails on behalf of the domain.
Mobile App Security Protocols
There has been an increase in mobile application usages. The trend has made mobile applications an easy target for cybercriminals. There are mobile applications security protocols that you need to adhere to for data integrity held in mobile applications.
Use of Code Signing Certificates
A code signing certificate prevents intruders from making any unwanted alterations to an application. Developers should sign and encrypt their code using the code signing certificate. The signature assures the user that the code is legitimate and authentic and has not been altered or tampered with in any way.
Man-in-the-middle attacks are a threat to the integrity of your data. You will need to install proper measures to prevent them from ever occurring. Using the certificate pinning mechanism, the developer can easily specify the genuine certificate that can authenticate the validity of a device on a network.
The App Sandbox
The app sandbox is like a secure powerhouse that allows mobile apps to run smoothly. The app sandbox refers to a set of controls that limit access to a file system, software, or hardware. All developers ought not to request additional privileges than what has been provided to them.
Network Security Protocols
Cybercriminals are changing their tactics and are now leveraging vulnerable network connections to access network data. In this regard, securing your network should be given utmost priority. There are network security protocols that you should use to protect your network. For instance, Virtual Private Networks provide a secure way to surf the internet. The SNMPv3 protocol also helps with operations controls and provides security through privacy and authentication. The Kerberos protocol uses the cryptography mechanism to prevent any alterations to packets in transit on the web.
Wireless Networks Security Protocols
Wireless networks are becoming popular day after day. There is an increase in Wi-Fi usage today. Although wireless networks ease operations by increasing flexibility and efficiency in communications, they also pose significant risks to data security. Some of the security protocols that can be used to protect the wireless networks include the following:
- Wi-Fi protected Access (WPA)
- Wi-Fi protected Access 2 (WPA2)
- Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP)