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Integrity = Trust

What do we think about when we hear the word ‘integrity’?

It’s a word that many people use and certainly within information security circles we’ve spoken about the ‘CIA triad’ of security; Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability (CIA). The first and the third are relatively simple terms to understand, but integrity seems to trip many people up.

When we think of someone with integrity we think of a person we can rely on, and someone we can trust. You might say of a person with integrity, “That person is true to their word, and we trust them to do the right thing.”

In information security, ‘integrity’ focuses on maintaining the accuracy and trustworthiness of the information we are presented with. Ensuring it is ‘tamper proof’ and can be trusted to tell us an accurate representation of the truth (lack of integrity could be someone changing invoice numbers to inflate the invoice price). A good way to demonstrate that you have controls in place to manage integrity might be to ensure access control systems are in place, so that only authorised people can make important changes.

But how do you make integrity more ‘real’ in a virtual world?

For me integrity is important in many aspects of business.  Being able to trust those around you is fundamental to building long term relationships. But building trust in the virtual world is not always so easy.  Being able to demonstrate you have integrity in the real world is relatively easy; say something, and follow up on it. Be true to your word and act with integrity. But shouldn’t that be the same in the virtual world too?

So my question to you is; what do you do to demonstrate you act with integrity? What do you do to show that you can be trusted? Do you frequently promise something but then renege on that promise? Is your word your bond or is the word integrity simply a vague information security concept that is only considered within your IT department?

Tell me what integrity means to you and let’s build an online world we can all trust.