What Is the CIA Triad and Why Is It Important for Cybersecurity?

22.05.2019 Read
What Is the CIA Triad and Why Is It Important for Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is aimed at protecting the company’s digital assets against the ever-growing cyber-attacks. Cybersecurity can be ensured by deploying appropriate security controls to provide several security features such as deterrent, prevention, and detection of cybercrimes. The main purpose of cybersecurity is to ensure Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability (CIA) of data and services. CIA is also known as CIA triad.

CIA triad is essential in cybersecurity as it provides vital security features, helps in avoiding compliance issues, ensures business continuity, and prevents reputational damage to the organization. In this article, you will be able to learn how CIA triad helps to enhance your company’s cybersecurity posture.

What Is Confidentiality?

Confidentiality ensures privacy to the sensitive information while it is in transit over a network. Some proactive measures must be taken to prevent sensitive data from unauthorized disclosure while making it available only to the intended parties. The malicious actors must not intercept the data to use it for nefarious purposes. There are various implementations which can be incorporated to ensure the confidentiality of data.

Cryptography is the best solution in this regard. The encryption mainly ensures the confidentiality of sensitive data. It converts the plaintext of data into the ciphertext, which is an unreadable form for humans. Ciphertext can only be understood by the authorized entities. Encryption involves two vital security controls including Symmetric Encryption and Asymmetric Encryption. Use of Strong passwords and Two-way authentication are some of the other methods to ensure confidentiality. In addition, you can also use Steganography to hide data into another type of data such as images, audio, or video files. Hiding sensitive data in large media files is much difficult to compromise.

What Is Integrity?

Integrity refers to preventing data from being tampered with, modified, or altered in an unauthorized way to achieve malicious goals. That means data which is sent must be received intact and unaltered by an authorized party. Integrity is essential for data whether it is in transit or it is in a storage media. Data integrity is crucial for E-commerce and business websites. Various attacks that compromise data integrity include a Man-In-the-Middle (MITM) attack, penetrating into the web server, and introducing malicious code in databases.

Use of Hashing Algorithms such as MD5 and SHA1 are normally provided by developers in order to check the integrity of data. Other techniques include certificates, digital signatures, and non-repudiation.

What Is Availability?

Availability is also a security service which ensures the constant availability of resources and services to only authorized parties in a timely manner. Reliable hardware must be maintained in order to provide constant services to a large number of customers in any organization. There must be less downtime during upgrades and backup of sensitive data in external drives will be helpful in case of data loss.

Quick disaster recovery plans should be followed in worst case scenarios. Other important security controls for availability include data backup, patching, and redundant systems. Redundancy ensures fault tolerance. It means, when a primary system fails to perform, the secondary machine is available to continue the delivery of functions and services. In this case, security analysts redirect all traffic or workload to a backup system.

Importance of CIA Triad in Cyber Security

Security breaches and Data thefts are becoming headaches in businesses nowadays. The recent reports and surveys reflect the unpleasant picture of the organization’s cybersecurity posture. The recent data breach scandal of Facebook is on the limelight where the private data of millions of users were compromised. Most companies have unprotected data due to poor policies that could result in data breaches and massive penalties due to compliance issues such as that of GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation. In order to avert this situation, the organizations must deploy the above-said security controls along with various other controls (Such as SIEM and SOAR to enhance their cybersecurity posture.

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