I was listening to the radio the other day and there was a question about “what age are we in”. There were obviously some very different answers but, overall, the majority classify the current period as the information age. I would argue we are in the digital age. 

This got me thinking about some other research and commentary I have read about how our brains are developing to be efficient retrievals of information and not information stores. There is a huge amount of trust – a key word in information security, placed in the fact that the information we retrieve is in fact accurate. So whilst there is a lot of focus on confidentiality and availability, integrity of data in the digital age is paramount. 

However, with the huge amounts of data now available at the end of a search request (most of which is not validated or accurate), what is the truth? Whilst most of the headlines from a personal perspective are about ransomware, what would happen if the data was modified and no further integrity checks made? What we hear, see and read in the digital age is built on the fact that we trust this information, the fact that our brains are changing to retrieve (and not store) is worrying particularly as we also don’t question the results of the search or the “fact” in Wikipedia! This is a worrying on two levels – one about our ability to question and two that integrity of digital data is paramount. 

As more and more of our lives are digital, we need to ensure that we also connect to the physical world and continue to question and not accept. For businesses, testing and validating information in the digital age must of course be part of their best practice.