Version Control: One of the Best Ways to Ensure Data Integrity

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Good integrity controls ensure the data your company uses is consistent and true, and that it has not been changed unofficially or without others knowing. This makes the data reliable, at least as a historical marker of what the data was on the day it was recorded (it's always possible for the data to be unreliable due to other factors, but with integrity controls in place, you know that the data reported on a certain day were in fact the data available then).

One form of integrity control is version control. Any time you have something that is modified, you're creating another version. Version control is a way of tracking changes so that anyone accessing the software, code, document, or other item knows that the information in it is known to everyone who has access to that item. It also ensures that if you pick up the version that is supposed to be current, no other changes have been made to that item. Version control is one of the most important ways to control integrity, and you can use it with little to no disruption to your company's workday.

Use It for Anything That Could Change, Even on Paper

Version control usually involves software and digital data. However, try to devise a system for controlling version access and changes to paper documents as well. That may be easier said than done in a large company where anyone can make a note in a margin, but do try as that will provide you with integrity for written data that isn't automatically backed up.

Tracking Code Changes Can Be Automated

As for typical version control that involves software, code, and more, you can automate the tracking of changes by using version control software to automatically record all changes, including when they were made and by whom. With this software, the recording is done without active input, although you may have to initiate recording at some times. But that can be as easy as clicking an option onscreen. Each version is recorded with little to no interruption in your day.

Review Versions Occasionally

Create a schedule for reviewing versions and doing some quality control on both the software and your paper-document version control processes. This helps you spot problems before they replicate across systems. Maybe your software doesn't create new versions for every change, or maybe you want the software to group a series of changes together in one version; reviewing lets you see how the controls are working for you.

You'll also need to be clear about who has access and permissions to change data, code, or whatever else you're tracking. This isn't something you should improvise; make sure you have a solid process that everyone agrees on in order to ensure the best integrity possible for your data.

For more information, contact an integrity access control system service.