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The CIA Triad: Doubling Down on Integrity for Improved Industrial Operations

The CIA Triad — Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability — has long been recognized as a fundamental information security framework. Countless organizations use this framework to protect their most sensitive data and retain operational stability. However, in industrial contexts, where physical systems interlace with digital data, one component of the triad emerges as equally important, if not more so, than the others: Integrity. 

The Indispensable Role of Integrity 

Integrity refers to the assurance that data and systems are not altered without authorized intentions, ensuring accuracy, consistency and trustworthiness of data throughout its entire lifecycle. In industrial operations — where tasks range from production control to monitoring asset health — the integrity of data and systems is the linchpin holding everything together. 

When considering the potentially disastrous ramifications of a malicious actor manipulating production data, altering system settings or tweaking control algorithms, the primary role of integrity becomes immediately palpable. Even accidental changes, caused by human error, system glitches or configuration drift, can have negative implications. Consequently, emphasis on data and system integrity becomes crucial. 

Enhancing Security and Operational Efficiency 

Integrity bolsters security and operational efficiency in industrial environments in three main ways: 

  1. Precise Insights: Consistent data is essential to assess the performance of industrial systems accurately. This grounds decision-making in solid facts and aids in identifying areas for improvement. 

  1. Facilitating Regulatory Compliance: Maintaining data integrity helps to ensure strict compliance with regulatory requirements, which frequently mandate a clear record of unaltered data. 

  1. Enabling Preventive Actions: Reliable data assists in predicting potential system failures before something breaks, empowering security teams to continuously harden the Operational technology environment and for operational teams to perform preventive maintenance that aids in avoiding costly downtime. 

We Think Integrity Is So Important We Put It in the Product Name 

Hexagon’s PAS Cyber Integrity® ensures the integrity of both data and systems. The solution automates control system inventory data collection and analyzes the vulnerabilities that exist with the inventory components. It also examines OT configurations to discern any deviations from the norm. 

PAS Cyber Integrity empowers security teams to monitor endpoint configurations, collect, normalize and scrutinize changes, regardless of vendor or location. With this data at their fingertips, organizations can achieve a level of in-depth asset visibility and, ultimately, data integrity that is best-in-class. 

For security professionals charged with protecting industrial operations, doubling down on the integrity pillar of the CIA Triad proves to be an investment worth the effort. By placing integrity at the heart of the cybersecurity strategy, industrial facilities can not only safeguard their sensitive data and systems but also enhance operational efficiency, streamline regulatory compliance and enable preventive actions.    

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About the Author

Chad Elmendorf is marketing director for Hexagon’s PAS OT Integrity platform designed to secure complex, multivendor OT/ICS environments by reducing your attack surface, remediating vulnerabilities, strengthening cyber resiliency, and lowering enterprise risk. He holds a BS in Marketing and MBA from the University of Wyoming.

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