What is data integrity?

Data integrity refers to the accuracy, consistency, and reliability of data throughout its lifecycle, from creation to deletion. It is a critical aspect of data management and ensures that data is trustworthy and can be used for its intended purpose.

Data integrity is maintained through a combination of technical and administrative controls. Technical controls may include the use of encryption, access controls, backup and recovery processes, and other security measures to protect data from unauthorized modification, deletion, or corruption. Administrative controls may include policies, procedures, and training to ensure that data is handled appropriately and that users understand their responsibilities for maintaining data integrity.

Data integrity can be compromised by a variety of factors, such as human error, software bugs, hardware failures, cyberattacks, or other events that can alter or destroy data. Maintaining data integrity requires ongoing monitoring and validation of data, as well as regular backups and disaster recovery plans to ensure that data can be recovered in the event of a breach or system failure.

Ensuring data integrity is essential for maintaining the trust and confidence of stakeholders who rely on data for decision-making, such as customers, partners, regulators, and internal users. Data integrity also plays a critical role in compliance with data protection regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which require organizations to ensure the accuracy and reliability of personal data.