Modern businesses now store vast troves of information, which means they must implement security controls and other protection measures to keep that information safe from cybersecurity breaches, theft, and other threats. CISOs must follow wise information security management principles to organize all those controls into a coherent, disciplined program.
Vocabulary is essential here. “Cybersecurity” focuses on digital data only. “Information security” (also known as “infosec”) more broadly addresses all enterprise data, both digital and physical. More precisely, information security is defined as maintaining the confidentiality, integrity, and availability (the CIA triad) of all digital and physical information within an organization.
To reduce information security risks such as data theft, system breaches, and unauthorized changes to information or digital systems, you must adopt measures and policies known as information security controls.
Information security focuses on the organization’s policies and practices to identify and prevent unauthorized access to company information. An Information Security Policy (ISP) establishes rules and processes for employees. It defines the acceptable uses of the organization’s information technology, including networks and applications, to protect confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data.
What Is Data Security Management?
Data security management encompasses various approaches, procedures, and practices to keep company data secure and unavailable to unauthorized parties. Data security management systems are concerned with safeguarding sensitive data, such as personal information or business-critical intellectual property.
For example, data security management might entail developing information security rules, identifying security risks, and detecting and analyzing threats to IT systems. Another essential practice is to share knowledge about data security best practices with employees throughout the company, such as using caution when opening email attachments.
What is the Difference Between Data Security And IT Security?
Data security is one type of information security. It primarily focuses on data physical security, data encryption in storage, and data remanence concerns.
Information security is a much more comprehensive approach that includes end-to-end data transfers. This encompasses procedures, knowledge, user interfaces, communications, automation, computing, transactions, infrastructure, devices, sensors, and data storage.
What Are the Different Types of Data Security?
Access controls restrict physical and digital access to essential systems and data. This involves assuring that all computers and devices are password-protected and that only authorized staff can enter physical places.
Authentication, like access restrictions, refers to identifying people precisely and correctly before they can access data. Passwords, PINs, security tokens, swipe cards, and biometrics are common examples.
Backups & Recovery
Backups and recovery are just what they seem: procedures to create backup copies of your data at regular intervals, along with procedures to retrieve that data in case an attack or disruption leaves the original data unavailable. You’ll need a backup data copy kept on a distinct format such as a hard drive, local network, or cloud.
You’ll want to dispose of data regularly and appropriately. Data erasure is more secure than traditional data wiping since it uses specialized software to wipe data entirely on any storage device. In addition, data erasure assures that the data is unrecoverable and hence will never get into the hands of the wrong people.
Data masking conceals information by disguising letters and integers with proxy characters. Only when an authorized user obtains the data does it revert to its original form.
Comprehensive data security implies that your systems can withstand or recover from failures. Incorporating resilience into your hardware and software assures that incidents such as power outages or natural catastrophes do not jeopardize security.
Using encryption keys, a computer algorithm converts text characters into an unreadable format. Only authorized individuals with the appropriate keys can unlock and view the data. Everything from files and databases to email interactions can and should be secured.
The CIA Triad: How to Classify Information Management
The CIA triad represents the three pillars upon which good information security rests: confidentiality, integrity, and availability. So precisely what does all that mean?
Confidentiality is privacy. This principle helps companies limit corporate information access to authorized users only. For example, medical records should be available to physicians and nurses rather than to other employees such as administrative staff.
Encryption and strict access control are measures to protect confidentiality. (Even with encryption, however, confidentiality can still be compromised.) All employees in an organization must be aware of their responsibilities in maintaining the confidentiality of the information they can access.
Integrity means keeping the data or information in your system reliable and accurate. It also applies to storing paper documents in a safe and dry location to avoid damage.
A hacker may try to make unauthorized modifications to data stored on a system. For example, a hacker could attempt to change prices or product descriptions on an e-commerce website.
Corrupting data integrity isn’t limited only to malicious attacks; sometimes it happens when users make mistakes. For example, an employee could make a typographical error when entering a customer’s order or updating an employee file. As a result, organizations must have controls to verify data entry and an audit trail to ensure accountability.
Availability is access to information at any necessary time. Businesses need reliable systems to maintain continuous operations. For example, customers expect access to account information whenever they want it. This principle also applies to paper documents. If physical files are stored at an off-site location, businesses need to be able to retrieve them within a reasonable amount of time.
One risk to data availability is the interruption of an authorized user’s access to information. For example, hackers could launch a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack against a website, leaving the site unavailable to routine users and transactions.
Like confidentiality and integrity, availability disruptions can also occur without ill intentions. For example, power outages and natural disasters can result in downtime affecting information systems’ availability.
Key Components of Information Security Management
ISO 27001 is a popular international standard for information security, published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The goal of ISO 27001 is to preserve an organization’s information’s confidentiality, integrity, and availability. Achieving ISO 27001 certification is accomplished by performing a risk assessment and determining what has to be done to avoid such problems (such as risk mitigation).
ISO 27001 is based on a risk management process: finding out where the risks are and then addressing them by implementing security controls or safeguards. Some of the main components of Information Security Management (ISM) are explained below.
Information Security Policies
Information security policies provide rules and guidelines for employees. They define how information is stored and managed within an organization. A security policy is tailored to your company’s specific needs and is modified as your business operations and security requirements evolve.
Information Security Organization
To have robust information security, you need the staff to manage it. Defining these roles and responsibilities is essential, even if they are integrated into your IT or compliance departments. This will assure that your organization has the proper focus on protecting the organization’s data.
This component covers the organization’s assets inside and outside the corporate IT network, including exchanging sensitive information.
Physical and Environmental Security
Physical security procedures are necessary to protect paper documents and computer hardware from damage, loss, or illegal access. While many businesses are embracing digital transformation and storing sensitive data on secure, off-site cloud networks, the security of the physical devices used to access that data cannot be overlooked.
Communications and Operations Management
Day-to-day IT operations and maintenance, such as service provisioning and problem management, should follow IT security policies and ISMS (Information Security Management System) controls.
Security policies and access controls must be both strict and practical. User authentication and restrictions must protect data while allowing people access to perform their jobs effectively. Respective duties and responsibilities should be clearly defined, along with the requirements for data access.
Information Security and Incident Management
Identify and resolve IT issues to minimize the effect on end-users. Advanced technology solutions may be necessary to identify insightful incident metrics and mitigate potential problems in complex network infrastructure environments.
Business Continuity Management
Avoid business process disruptions wherever possible. Ideally, disaster recovery and damage minimization procedures should follow any critical situation immediately.
Cryptography and Encryption
Cryptography techniques are essential controls to protect sensitive digital information. Therefore, your IT department should investigate various cryptography concepts to assure that the organization takes full advantage of these technologies, including encryption, digital signatures, and other security-related algorithms.
Third-party suppliers and business partners may need access to your network and sensitive customer data. Adopt solid security controls with your suppliers to ensure they do not create vulnerabilities in your network security. Mitigate potential risks through IT security policies and contractual obligations.
Let ZenRisk Help you Manage Data Security
As the pace of innovation in information technology continues to increase, many tools can help you manage your business and data security.
Criminals use malware, phishing, spyware, ransomware, cyber fraud, and social engineering to exploit unknown vulnerabilities and obtain sensitive information.
ZenRisk‘s risk management software is an intuitive, easy-to-understand platform. It is a single source of truth for document storage, workflow management, and insightful reporting. In addition, it helps you identify high-risk areas before they manifest.
Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, ZenRisk allows you to develop a comprehensive security program, benchmark with similar companies, and identify your coverage gaps. As a result, your risk management team will be empowered to focus on solutions that prevent cyberattacks, facilitate information protection, and drive compliance.