File Integrity Monitoring

What Does File Integrity Monitoring Mean?

File integrity monitoring refers to a process for making sure that files have integrity; in other words, that they have not been damaged nor manipulated over a certain time period. File integrity monitoring tools are generally utilities for internal processes that check current file integrity against a predetermined baseline.

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Techopedia Explains File Integrity Monitoring

In order to compare files for integrity, these tools typically use a ‘checksum.’

The checksum can also be called a hash sum, where ‘hashing’ refers to a procedure that changes a text file or long text string into a consolidated, searchable value.

In a way, file integrity monitoring can be like various security processes that use hashing. The checksum is a reduce data set that can show a tool or utility whether a file has been changed in some way. By using these reduced data sets, which can be thought of as ‘digital signatures,’ various applications and monitoring systems can work on a more effective basis, without having to comb through the entire file to look for errors or manipulation.

Today, some companies offer cloud-based file integrity monitoring and other kinds of file integrity monitoring services that utilize algorithms and proprietary technology. These may be included in a package for security and data backup, or in specific stand-alone processes for identifying file and system changes.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.