With nearly every interaction, whether online, via phone, or in person, we provide some form of information to the people and companies that we interact with. While this information is sometimes inconsequential, it might also be sensitive and personally identifiable. This is often done without a second thought or without us being consciously aware of it.
It is vital for companies (and individuals) to be prudent in keeping their and their customer's information safe and secure. Keep reading to learn more about information security programs, why they are important, and how to implement them.
What Is an Information Security Program?
An information security program involves any activities, projects, processes, procedures, or initiatives that are implemented to support and secure a company's information or data.
A company's information security program should be a part of its risk management program. This risk management program should include guidelines and standards that include cybersecurity to keep digital information and computer information systems safe, as well as steps to keep all other information assets and information systems secure.
The risk management program should include cybersecurity analytics. It must also stipulate procedures and standards for risk identification, a risk assessment matrix, and how to potentially handle residual risk.
A robust information security policy includes a thorough risk assessment that considers all information security policies and procedures. This risk assessment will also look at a company's computer security, the security of its operating systems, and its network security. It could also consider critical employees' (like human resources personnel and chief information security officers) skills and level of security awareness.
This program ensures that a company can smoothly achieve its business objectives and goals. It also keeps the company's information technology, data, and cyberspace safe.
Information security is not the same as information technology (IT) security. While information security refers to keeping all of a business's sensitive information secure, information technology security focuses explicitly on keeping a company's digital data and computer systems safe. Find out more about the types of IT security here
What Makes Information Security So Important?
Poor information security could lead to breaches. Information can be lost or stolen, compromising the company, its workforce, and its customers.
Cybersecurity threats especially are on the rise. According to the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, nearly half of American adults have had their personal information revealed by cybercriminals.
A data breach or information breach, whether this is due to failed cyber security or other information assets being compromised, can cost a company its reputation as customers lose trust in it. It can also cost a company financially in terms of loss of income and potential fines it may be liable for.
What Are Different Types of Information Security?
“Information security” is an umbrella term that includes various different types of systems, networks, and infrastructure that need to be kept secure. These could include any systems or devices connected to a network or the internet. Here are a few types of information security to consider.
Any applications or application programming interfaces (APIs) that a company uses should be kept secure. Any vulnerabilities in these could give malicious attackers access to other company systems.
Infrastructure security refers to keeping the hardware of a network or computer system safe. This includes any computer networks, servers, data centers, and personal devices like mobile devices, laptops, or desktop computers.
Keeping a company's infrastructure safe and secure is vital, especially when individual components are connected to the more extensive system. In these cases, a breach of one vulnerable aspect of a company's computer infrastructure could put the entire network at risk.
Ideally, a secure infrastructure will allow communication between different components while minimizing its interdependence and providing response teams the ability to isolate compromised sections.
Cloud security focuses on securing any systems or data located in the cloud or connected to the cloud. Additional security features are implemented to keep internet-facing environments, systems, or services secure.
Endpoint security involves keeping end-user endpoints secure. This includes laptops, smartphones, tablets, and desktops. This type of security is usually implemented to protect devices that employees use to connect to a company's computer network or cloud resources.
Other types of information security include cryptography, incident response, vulnerability management, disaster recovery, health data management, and digital forensics.
How Do I Implement an Information Security Program?
Every robust information security program is based on three pillars commonly referred to as the CIA triad—Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability, not the federal agency. This triad includes confidentiality, integrity, and availability. Each one of these is a crucial element that needs to be implemented in any information security program.
Confidentiality means data is kept private and is only accessible by authorized people. All of a company's information, customer information, proprietary intellectual property, and any other data should be kept secure from unauthorized access. This information is often vulnerable to cyber attacks as attackers attempt to access the data either for their personal use or to sell it to third parties.
Integrity refers to whether data is protected from being tampered with. It is the certainty that no unauthorized changes can or have been made to any data, either intentionally or unintentionally.
The integrity of data could be compromised either while data is being uploaded or moved or while it is being stored in a database. When cyber attackers gain access to an organization's systems, they can manipulate data in various ways.
For example, they might change financial records to erase certain transactions or change account balances; they could even change recipes or chemical equations that might affect the products that a company produces. All of this is done with malicious intent.
The types of security breaches that compromise the integrity of data often go unnoticed for more extended periods of time. These attacks are usually less obvious than, say, a complete data breach, as the changes are subtle and not immediately recognizable.
Data should be accessible and available for immediate use by authorized individuals. This means all systems should be functioning correctly.
Availability does not only refer to data but to all information technology systems. Medical equipment, equipment responsible for power generation, and safety systems, for example, should be available and functioning at all times.
A cyber attack can affect the availability of data and systems when any of these are held hostage during a ransomware attack. During such an attack, authorized users are locked out of critical systems, and sensitive data is withheld while a ransom payment is demanded. The data or systems may or may not be released upon the payment of what is usually a large sum of money.
How Can Riskrecon Help Me?
RiskRecon, a Mastercard company, can help you establish more efficient information security practices for your company. Contact us for a 30 Day trial today.
Information security is crucial to ensure smooth business operations. More so, it is vital in keeping a business, its workforce, and its customers and their data safe. While a lot of focus is directed at cybersecurity, it is essential to remember that information security includes digital data and systems as well as hardware, infrastructure, and other sources of information.