CIA Triad

This article is the first in a series breaking down one of the fundamental concepts of cybersecurity. And don’t worry, you don’t have to be an expert to enjoy reading this post. In fact, it’s designed to help executives gain a deeper understanding of cybersecurity in order to better evaluate their firm’s posture. Part 2 can be found here.

What is the CIA Triad?

The CIA Triad is a fundamental security model that acts as a foundation in the development of security policies designed to protect data. It is comprised of three tenets: Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability.

In theory, the CIA Triad combines three distinct means of interacting with data to create a model for data security. First, the principle of confidentiality requires that only authorized users have access to data within a system. The second tenet of integrity imparts the necessity of the trustworthiness and veracity of data. The final component of availability dictates that data must be accessible where and when users need it. The intersection of these three concepts is a guiding framework for protecting digital information.

What Are the Origins of the Triad?

As much as the name implies, the CIA Triad is not related to the Central Intelligence Agency; although, their cyber security program almost assuredly utilizes the model.

The individual principles have existed since even before computer data became a reality in the mid-twentieth century. And they were independently utilized in data security since then, but it is not known when the tenets were first thought of as a triad. The term is mentioned in the 1998 book Fighting Computer Crime, and it appeared to be the standard among security practices at that time. No matter when the idea of the Triad was first conceptualized, the principles have long been in use by security professionals who understood the need to make information more secure.

Where Does the CIA Triad Fit into Cybersecurity?

Effective protection of digital assets begins with the principles of the CIA Triad. All three tenets are necessary for data protection, and a security incident for one can cause issues for another. Although confidentiality and integrity are often seen as at odds in cybersecurity (i.e., encryption can compromise integrity), they should be balanced against risks when designing a security plan.

The CIA Triad forces system designers and security experts to consider all three principles when developing a security program to protect against modern data loss from cyber threats, human error, natural disasters, and other potential threats. It is a springboard for conceptualizing how information should be protected and for determining the best way to implement that protection within a given environment.


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Why the CIA Security Triad is Essential

The Triad is essential because it is a reliable and balanced way to assess data security. It weighs the relationship between confidentiality, integrity, and availability from an overarching perspective. The framework requires that any attempt to secure digital information will not weaken another pillar of defense. Additionally, the CIA Triad effectively identifies risk factors in IT systems. It is also a gateway for even more advanced risk assessment and management tools, such as the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) list and the National Vulnerability Database.

Coretelligent incorporates the core tenets of the CIA triad in our cybersecurity, managed IT, cloud solutions, and more. We guide our clients on how best to balance making their data secure, available, and reliable. To learn more about our solutions, reach out for a consultation with our team.


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