Understanding the CIA Triad – Availability
October 16, 2020 | Andrea Madden

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

We’ve learned about the first two principles in the CIA Triad, which is the foundation of a strong cybersecurity platform. The three principles are Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability. In this post, we’re going to focus on the third and final principle of Availability.

This core security principle is defined as the ability to grant authorized users uninterrupted access to systems and information. In more general terms, if someone is supposed to have access to a system or information, then that system or information should be made available to them at all times. Imagine logging into your computer on Monday morning. You are refreshed from the weekend, ready to work and conquer the world. Then suddenly, a message flashes across your computer screen. The message explains that your computer and everything on it has been encrypted by ransomware, and you must pay a fee to receive the decryption key and resume regular work activities. You no longer have access to email, customer records, financial records, etc. What would you do if the applications and data on your computer were no longer available to use? This example illustrates the importance of Availability.

There are many cyber-attacks used to violate availability including, computer viruses, malware and denial of service (DoS). There are also circumstantial events that violate availably such as hardware failure and natural disasters. Your cybersecurity program should absolutely be influenced by the availability principle. Here are a few controls that you should consider incorporating into the program:

1. Data Backup Systems

Effective data backup strategies should be defined, implemented and monitored for success. If systems or data suddenly become unavailable, recovery efforts almost always start with restoring from a successful backup job.

2. Disaster Recovery (DR) and Business Continuity Planning (BCP)

Documenting DR and BCP plans is an absolute must. In addition, these plans should be tested, at least annually to verify effectiveness.

3. System Monitoring

Critical systems and applications should be continuously monitored for performance and capacity requirements. Proactive monitoring can often prevent unwanted outages or disruptions.

4. Incident Response Plan

Having a plan to contain, eradicate, and recover from a cybersecurity incident is invaluable. Incidents create stress and chaos. Having an incident response plan introduces confidence and organization.

As you can see, the core principles of the CIA Triad (Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability) are simple information security concepts that when properly applied to policy and program creation can have a real meaningful impact our ability to stay safe and protected. For more information on how you can keep your business safe and secure against cybercrime, contact the experts at TAG Solutions today!