Definition: Data, (which is finite) when used in the context of computer security and computer networks, has a specific meaning. It is the plural form of a word that refers to unprocessed values (numbers, letters, words or other values). Most people define the word to mean any information. The bits (1's and 0's) and bytes that are transmitted over the Internet for processing or saved on storage devices to verify transactions is meaningless by itself. Data must be processed and put into the context of the decision-making process.
Its Relevance: Computers do their work by running programs to processing ones (1s) and zeros (0s) to yield contextually meaningful information for decision making. Changing even the smallest components (1s and 0s or a single bit) can totally compromise any information security. All data or values that are used for processing must be protected.