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The CIA Triad is one of those fantastic things where after you first learn about it, it will never go away and you can see how it applies to many things in everyday life. CIA is an acronym for confidentiality, integrity, and availability. It is a security model that easily explains the three main concerns with every information based system, both digital and physical. Listed are a few examples of systems that may prioritize one more than the others.
Confidentiality is having control over access to information. This is the priority in a system handling sensitive or classified information that you want only a few people to have access to. This also applies to information being removed from a location. A good example would be medical records, as most people want only themselves and their doctors to have access, and no one else.
Integrity is making sure the information stays accurate and is not modified in an adverse way. Archives and transaction information are good examples. If archives or transaction histories are modified, then it can no longer be trusted or used reliably. Like rewriting history, what do you trust if the story keeps changing?
Availability is having reliable, uninterrupted access. What is the point in having or using a system if it does not work or you do not have access to it? A good example of this is Amazon Web Services (AWS). Most of the modern world runs on AWS, so if it were to go down, most of the internet-connected systems (governments included) would not be able to function correctly. AWS is able to maintain availability using multiple systems including redundancy (multiple servers doing the same task), scalability (expanding workload capacity on demand), and more. (Reliability – AWS Well-Architected Framework, n.d.)
In a perfect world, you would be able to attain the highest requirements needed from these three categories for every system. In the real world, you usually start with one of the triads as a priority, add the second, and hope you can get the third consistently after the first two are reliable enough not to need a babysitter full time.
Reliability – AWS Well-Architected Framework. (n.d.). Retrieved September 30, 2022, from https://wa.aws.amazon.com/wat.pillar.reliability.en.html
What is the CIA Triad? Definition and Examples. (2021, November 10). SecurityScorecard. Retrieved September 30, 2022, from https://securityscorecard.com/blog/what-is-the-cia-triad