Home > Articles

This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Basic Security Principles

Confidentiality, integrity, and availability (CIA) are the basic building blocks of any good security program. When defining the goals for network, asset, information, and/or information system security, the term CIA triad is commonly used to refer to these concepts. Although the abbreviation CIA might not be as intriguing as the U.S. government’s spy organization, it is a concept that security professionals must know and understand.

Confidentiality addresses the secrecy and privacy of information and preventing unauthorized persons from viewing sensitive information. A number of controls are used in the real world to protect the confidentiality of information, such as locked doors, armed guards, and fences. Administrative controls that can enhance confidentiality include the use of information classification systems, such as requiring sensitive data be encrypted. For example, news reports have detailed several large-scale breaches in confidentiality as a result of corporations misplacing or losing laptops, data, and even backup media containing customer account, name, and credit information. The simple act of encrypting this data could have prevented or mitigated the damage. Sending information in an encrypted format denies attackers the opportunity to intercept and sniff plaintext information. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) specifies that personal data should be limited and provides guidelines for ensuring privacy and confidentiality.

Integrity has to do with accuracy of information and offering users a high degree of confidence that the information they are viewing has not been tampered with. The integrity of data must be protected while the data is in storage, at rest, and in transit. It is important to ensure that unauthorized users have not made any changes and authorized users have not made inappropriate changes. Data in storage can be protected through the use of access controls and audit controls. Cryptography and hashing algorithms can enhance this protection. Cryptography tools include programs such as HashTools, HashCheck, and PowerShell. Likewise, integrity in transit can be ensured primarily through the use of these tools in combination with protocols and frameworks such as public key infrastructure (PKI), digital signatures, and asymmetric algorithms.

Availability refers to the need for information and systems to be available when needed. Although many people think of availability only in electronic terms, availability also applies to physical access. If, at 2 a.m., you need access to backup media stored in a facility that allows access only from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., you have an availability problem. Availability in the world of electronics can manifest in many ways. 24x7 access to a backup facility does little good if there are no updated backups to restore from and the original copies have been encrypted with ransomware.

Keeping backups is a good way to ensure availability. A backup provides a copy of critical information that can be reinstated if data is destroyed or equipment fails. Using failover equipment is another way to ensure availability. Systems such as redundant arrays of independent disks (RAID) and redundant sites (which can be hot, cold, or warm sites) are two other examples. Disaster recovery is tied closely to availability because it’s all about getting critical systems up and running quickly.

Which part of the security triad is considered most important? It depends. In different organizations with different priorities, one part might be more important than the other two. For example, your local bank might consider integrity the most important, an organization responsible for data processing might see availability as the primary concern, and an organization such as a healthcare records clearing agency might value confidentiality the most.

Even though this book refers to the triad as CIA, others might refer to it as AIC or as CAIN (where the N stands for nonrepudiation).

Security management does not stop at CIA. These are but three of the core techniques that apply to asset security. True security requires defense in depth. In reality, many techniques are required to protect the assets of an organization; take a moment to look over Figure 2.1.


FIGURE 2-1 Asset Protection Triad

Pearson IT Certification Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Pearson IT Certification and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Pearson IT Certification products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.pearsonitcertification.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020