Maintaining Integrity and Availability of Data Through Open Source Software

Integrity is one of three vital components of securing information held within an organisation. Integrity is about ensuring consistency of data by keeping it accurate and complete. One factor that can compromise this is unauthorised access as data is altered, corrupted or deleted. This can affect the performance, delivery and maintenance of data. Ultimately, it will affect the value of the asset to an organisation.

A number of factors that can also affect the integrity of data include:

  1. Human error – incorrect inputting of data;
  2. Transmission – as well as interception during transmission of data, an error can occur such as hardware malfunction; and
  3. Systems can go down – the data potentially becomes corrupt in the process.

Ensuring data is always available is another component of information security. A live network, therefore, needs to always be online. It also allows an organisation to identify anything that could potentially take the system into downtime.  Furthermore, it alerts an organisation of any unusual activity.

Ways to maintain integrity and availability of data and keep the network live is to monitor it. Privacy advocate, Paul Bischoff, ranks the following open source monitory tools as the top 3. Main distinguishing features of the three are:

1. Cacti

This software collects performance data in LANs and illustrates traffic of data into graphs. It picks up data from user-created scripts that ping hosts on a network. The graphs are then generated from the scripts stored in a MySQL database.

2. Nagios Core

This software monitors connected systems and also generates performance graphs. With several APIs, it allows for extended features such as auto-discovery of devices.

3. Icinga 2

Users can enter their own configurations, allowing live viewing of data from the dashboard. This tool is good for visualisation of performance data.

If an organisation runs different applications on a daily basis then an application performance management (APM) solution is ideal. This will help with monitoring the performance of transaction times, application dependencies and other user experiences. This is across many computing platforms. A type of APM, for example, is an App Metrics based. This tells an organisation the number of requests the app gets and which URLs are performing slow. One of the aims of an APM is to help an organisation identify common problems with applications.

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