How To Maintain Data Integrity With A Checksum

The accuracy and consistency of data are critical to a company’s success. From processing to storing and managing data, data accuracy and consistency is a continual process. 

At Micro Image the lifecycle of our client’s data begins in a physical form before it goes through a digitisation phase and ends in storage. So how do we maintain data integrity? 

We use checksums during data processing and storage phases of the data lifecycle to verify data integrity. We do this for clients across a range of industries. Here’s how we use checksums to achieve data that maintains its integrity across all of our data capture and archive digitisation services. 

What Is A Checksum? 

A checksum is a string of numbers and letters that act as a fingerprint for a file1. The string of numbers and letters enables later comparisons to be made to detect errors in the data. Errors can be introduced during the transmission or storage phases of the data lifecycle. This can result from network issues or hard drive problems causing file corruption.  Even a tiny error of one missing or different character in a file will result in a different checksum – so when checksums are compared, it is obvious the data is not identical to the original file. 

What’s Data Integrity?  

Harvard Business School defines data integrity as the “accuracy, completeness, and quality of data as it’s maintained over time and across formats.” 

Threats to data integrity include:  

  • Human error: This can occur if an administrator deleted data accidentally. 
  • Inconsistencies across formats: Having data stored across different formats can affect accuracy, for example, TIFF, PDF, PDF/A, JPEG, and PNG.  
  • Collection errors: If data is incomplete, it paints an inaccurate picture and loses validity and usefulness.   
  • Privacy breaches: These can be cybersecurity or internal breaches when an employee damages data.  

Why Is Data Integrity Important? 

Our work at Micro Image involves the preservation of records of national significance. Cultural, scientific and information heritage is increasingly only created and retained in digital forms. Integrity is crucial under these circumstances and therefore the use of checksums is mandated to protect data well into the future. The UNESCO definition of integrity explains: 

“Digital content is information encapsulated in one or more digital objects. Within this context, integrity of a digital object is the quality of its content remaining ‘uncorrupted and free of unauthorised and undocumented changes.

National Library of Australia/UNESCO. (2003). Guidelines for the Preservation of Digital Heritage. 

 For digital content to maintain its integrity and remain uncorrupted, preserving a company’s data is a continual process and requires the highest standards. We’re accredited to digitise records utilising the best practice standards of the National Archives of Australia. 

 As heritage documents are increasingly preserved in digital form, the same trend applies to the processing and storing of data across healthcare, government, education, construction, legal, corporate, logistics and manufacturing. Once information is digitised it becomes readily available for businesses to reap the benefits of secure accessibility and to help drive decision-making.   

Capturing Data Effectively 

As the world mostly now relies on digital communication, capturing data effectively is key to keeping pace. Businesses across all industries need proven ways to gather and store data. Collecting data from scanned documents is the first stage of effective data capture. At Micro Image, we provide automated data capture, so our clients benefit from reduced operational costs and eliminating data errors without compromising integrity. By using checksums, we can check data integrity during the download, transfer and storage process.


Data in a digital format is more secure, efficient and functional than analogue recordkeeping, but maintaining data integrity needs to be a critical part of the data capture process and the data lifecycle. A checksum is a solution to maintain data integrity throughout processing and storage.  

 At Micro Image we enable your people to improve the way they share, manage and access information. If you’d like to know more, get in touch 

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