A growing number of businesses today are slowly embracing the digital transformation journey that’s rapidly been taking place over the last decade. But while modern technological advancement has its many perks, there are also some downsides to it. One serious issue that stands out is the increased cases of cybercrimes.
That said, as a business owner, you shouldn’t take the significance of maintaining IT system integrity lightly. Doing this is necessary to safeguard your system and data from being corrupted or altered by malicious threats.
And should this happen, you risk experiencing severe consequences such as downtime, dealing with constant repairs, and data loss. Luckily, you can prevent this by adopting strategies that will help maintain your IT system’s integrity.
What’s IT System Integrity?
IT system integrity refers to safeguarding both the system and data from unsanctioned modification. But aside from the data and system, IT systems integrity also aims to protect hardware and applications from being altered by unauthorized persons either intentionally or accidentally.
What Strategies Can You Use to Maintain IT System Integrity?
There are different strategies you can use to maintain IT system integrity. You can implement these measures by yourself or visit Tenecom, a top Toronto IT services company, to be linked up with an expert to guide you during this process.
To help you start, here are some of the strategies you need to know about.
1. Educate and Train Your Employees
Many systems and data breaches occur due to avoidable carelessness or errors by employees. And to avoid being yet another statistic, you need to start training your employees on how to maintain IT system integrity.
Because cybercriminals are extremely alert, waiting for even the smallest mistake to happen, it’s best to introduce and incorporate a culture of strong IT system and data integrity in the day-to-day operations of your business.
Once your employees have a better understanding of the significance of data and system integrity, they can be more empowered. This means that they’ll put in more effort to comply and protect themselves from being easy targets by cybercriminals.
2. Have Backup and Recovery Procedures
An IT system, like any other human invention, can suddenly stop working due to program error or device failure. When this happens, you may lose lots of business data which is the last thing you want.
You can help avoid such an issue by implementing proper backup and recovery procedures. This way, you’ll be able to effortlessly recover and restore all the data files which went missing. Therefore, you get to achieve and maintain the system and data integrity by preventing permanent data loss.
To make this more effective, schedule a regular data backup schedule in your organization. If time and resources permit, important data and files should be backed up at least once a week.
3. Carry Out Penetration Testing and Vulnerability Audits
One of the best ways to maintain the integrity of your IT system is by knowing any possible weakness in it. This is where performing penetration testing and vulnerability audits become beneficial.
Penetration testing involves what is considered intentional hacking. You can further improve traditional pen testing by using pen testing as a service, and gaining a continuous security testing program.
When performing security and testing audits, there are certain aspects that you need to cover, and this includes:
- Data essential to your company
- Security measures to help you determine and know how best to prevent possible hacking activities
- Your staff’s cybersecurity practices
- Various techniques cybercriminals can use to break into your system
After penetration testing and audit, you’ll be able to identify the weak points in your system. This will subsequently help you make the necessary changes to safeguard yourself from hackers in the future.
4. Perform Risk-Based Validation
Because you want to remain compliant with various data protection regulations such as the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), it’s advisable to validate your systems continually.
To get an idea about your IT system’s complexity or whether to opt for purchased or in-house validation service, follow ISPE’s Good Automated Manufacturing Practice (GAMPs). Doing this will also help you determine a suitable risk level before applying validation to the system.
When performing risk-based validation, there are certain things you must do, including;
- Monitors every electronic data storage location such as PDF reports and printouts
- Confirm the frequency duties for the system validation in the quality management system are defined
If you opt for a particular approach for analyzing the metadata, for instance, audit trails, make sure to summarize the validation master plan. Once done with the initial validation, start doing periodic re-evaluations depending on your risk-based approach.
5. Implement Audit Trails
Another way of ensuring data integrity is by keeping an audit trail. An audit trail comprises unconnected history files, reports, event logs, database queries, and other mechanisms that show raw data, electronic records, or system events in a record.
In addition, a reliable audit trail strategy needs to factor in data spread across different locations or sources. Assigning schedules and responsibilities is an excellent way to assess an audit trail’s functionality. When carrying out an audit trail, you should consider its intended use as well as the system’s complexity.
There are certain qualities that an audit trail should have for optimal accuracy, and this includes:
- All events of the audit trail, be it creation, modification, or deletion, must be tracked and recorded
- Users shouldn’t be in a position to tinker with the audit trail
- The audit trail should be generated automatically
- All events need to be associated with users to determine who exactly read the audit trail
- All events need to be time-stamped to know the precise time they happened
By using an audit trail, you’ll be able to follow and determine where a problem originated, pinpoint any changes in your data and identify the data or documents that have been copied, stolen, or altered after a data breach. With this information, you’ll be able to identify the measures to take and quickly resolve this system and data breach.
The advancement in technology has been undoubtedly beneficial to business owners but has also brought increased security concerns. For this reason, you should ensure that you have a competitive IT system in place.
This will no longer be a problem because this in-depth article has detailed strategies you can use to maintain the IT system integrity of your organization.