What is availability in terms of information security?

Availability refers to the ability of a user to access information or resources in a specified location and in the correct format. The main concern in the CIA triad is that the information should be available when authorized users need to access it.

Availability is maintained when all components of the information system are working properly. Problems in the information system could make it impossible to access information, thereby making the information unavailable.

Availability is best ensured by rigorously maintaining all hardware, performing hardware repairs immediately when needed and maintaining a correctly functioning operating system environment that is free of software conflicts. It’s also important to keep current with all necessary system upgrades. Providing adequate communication bandwidth and preventing the occurrence of bottlenecks are equally important.

Fast and adaptive disaster recovery is essential for the worst case scenarios; that capacity is reliant on the existence of a comprehensive disaster recovery plan (DRP).

Safeguards against data loss or interruptions in connections must include unpredictable events such as natural disasters and fire. To prevent data loss from such occurrences, a backup copy may be stored in a geographically-isolated location, perhaps even in a fireproof, waterproof safe.

Extra security equipment or software such as firewalls and proxy servers can guard against downtime and unreachable data due to malicious actions such as denial-of-service (DoS) attacks and network intrusions.

In the CIA triad, availability is linked to information security because effective security measures protect system components and ensuring that information is available.

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