Integrity means data are trustworthy, complete, and have not been accidentally altered or modified by an unauthorized user. The integrity of data may be compromised unintentionally by a system malfunction, errors in entering data, or forgetting to maintain an up-to-date backup. Integrity can also be compromised by malicious actors attempting to tamper with data. For example, a phishing scam aimed at changing bank account routing numbers in our payroll system is threat to the integrity of our institutional data.

Researchers can protect the integrity of their data by setting up secure channels for backing up and sharing data with authorized user. For example, WUSTL Box, a cloud storage service, allows users to store information in the cloud, share information securely with authorized users, and control who has editing privileges for specific files and folders. Using a WUSTL Box folder automatically backs up to the cloud, and creates a version history of files, allowing the user to restore a file to an earlier state if necessary. Collaborating in WUSTL Box is more secure than sharing attachments via email or on a removable device such as a USB stick, and WUSTL Box allows file owners to view a log of activity for a specific file, making it easier to detect possible threats to the integrity of data.

Some types of data may need additional protections. Please refer to our Secure Storage and Communication Services page for more information if you are working with confidential or protected information.