Utility is a security attribute looking at whether data has any usefulness to its owner or authenticated users. Although usefulness is often considered as part of the attribute of availability, it is in fact different, since it is about users and processes being able to make use of the data rather than simply having access to it.

Data can be useless if it is kept in a format in which it cannot be used in any meaningful way. One example of useless data is data that has been encrypted but the owner has lost the decryption key. Although the data location is known, it is kept in an unusable format and can only regain its utility once it has been decrypted.

See Also

Utility is part of the Parkerian Hexad model of security attributes.


Last updated: 8 October 2017