Getting Started with Information Security Program – A Guide for Founders
What is the overall cost of cybercrime in the business world? $6 trillion in 2021, a figure that is projected to increase to $10.5 trillion by 2025. Phishing attacks resulting in data breaches increased from 22% in 2020 to over 36% in 2021. What’s more disturbing is that there has been a 300% rise in reported cybercrimes in the U.S since the start of the global pandemic.
No matter the size or nature of any business, cybercrime is a growing menace that can impact organizations with long-lasting damages. Practically, every operating company needs to have a sound cybersecurity or information security policy for protecting their valuable business data.
With large volumes of business data moving through IT systems and applications, an information security program is the best defense for protecting the confidentiality and integrity of this data. As a business founder, how can you build an efficient information security program?
Here is a complete guide.
What is an Information Security Program?
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and a few minutes of cyber-incident to ruin it,” quips Stephane Nippo, chief information security officer.
Also termed as InfoSec, an Information Security program includes all the measures that organizations can take to protect their business data, processes, and IT assets. Unfortunately, there is no “one size fits all” approach towards InfoSec, which needs to be customized depending on the existing IT environment in the organization.
However, all information security programs are built on the “CIA” tenants, namely:
- Confidentiality (C) or protecting information against any unauthorized disclosure. This critical tenant ensures that confidential or sensitive data is accessible only to authorized persons. For example, confidentiality measures include data encryption, strong passwords, and two-factor authentication.
- Integrity (I) or protecting information against any unauthorized changes or modifications. In effect, integrity protects sensitive data from ‘accidental’ errors or intentional modification. For example, file integrity or access controls.
- Availability (A) or protecting information against any unauthorized access and ensuring that data is accessible only when needed. For example, measures can include regular backups or disaster recovery.
Next, let us look at the basic components of an Information Security program.
Basic Components of an Information Security Program
Despite the constantly changing challenges in the cybersecurity space, we can identify a few basic components of an efficient InfoSec program. Effectively, InfoSec is not just about security technologies, but should also involve business processes and more importantly, people or human resources.
Here are some of its basic components:
- Security policy: A security policy is the fundamental block of an InfoSec program, that outlines the guidelines for securing critical business assets. Based on recognized cybersecurity regulations, the InfoSec program must define security policies, procedures, and guidelines for implementation and management.
- Security architecture: The security architecture enables a complete framework that includes people, processes, and technology. On its part, it overcomes the various challenges that arise when executing security projects.
- Organizational assets: Without identifying valuable assets, organizations cannot plan the effort needed to secure them. As a measure, information assets must be classified to determine their criticality and sensitivity.
- Risk management: This element includes identifying and evaluating security risks, along with a complete analysis of its business impact.
- Employee screening: Security screening of employees (before hiring) can reduce security-related risks and plausible human errors. This can involve employee screening based on their job roles and responsibilities.
As a company founder, how can you effectively build an efficient information security program? Let us discuss this now.
How to Build an Effective Information Security Program?
How can you define an effective InfoSec program that works for your organization? This would be defined based on your overall security goals and the current state of information security.
Here are five steps (or tips) to build your most efficient InfoSec program:
- Hire a skilled InfoSec team of professionals
For a start, an experienced cybersecurity team must be in place to manage security-related operations like managing assets, identifying threats, and establishing security policies. Make sure your team comprises both senior executives (for overseeing the high-level security program) and implementation experts for implementing the daily operations.
- Identify and manage risks
The next step is to identify the major risks or threats facing your organizational assets. Further, prioritize them based on their impact on your business objectives. Security vulnerabilities can exist in people, processes, and technologies.
For risk management, you can choose to:
- Reduce or eliminate the risk by applying fixes (for example, setting up a firewall)
- Transfer the risk to a third-party service provider or through insurance
- Accept the risk if it is not cost-efficient to apply the countermeasure
- Avoid the risk if its potential impact has dire consequences for your business
- Have a disaster management and recovery plan
Apart from cyberattacks, organizations do face various security-related incidents like power outages and system crashes. Hence, an effective disaster management and recovery plan must be part of every information security program.
A Disaster Recovery Plan or DRP document is the best strategy for responding to various disasters. Apart from the fast recovery of IT systems, DRP can mitigate and avoid damage to critical operations in the future.
- Implement the security controls
Applying the security controls on time is necessary to act upon the identified security risks and vulnerabilities. Technical controls can include actions like data encryption, firewalls, malware detection tools, and more. Additionally, implement non-technical controls using security policies for data backups, passwords, user access, and much more.
- Improve overall security awareness
Total information security is not just the responsibility of your InfoSec team but is a shared responsibility for every technical and non-technical employee. On their part, employees working on business data must be educated on how to minimize risks and follow security policies. To improve security-related knowledge, document your best practices and conduct regular employee training.
In today’s digital age, information security is of prime importance to business enterprises that are more reliant on data. Every company needs a customized information security program to protect its valuable data and keep the hackers at bay.
At Heptagon, we firmly believe that information is a critical asset for any business and all information assets must be safeguarded from all threats. Here is our stated policy regarding information security.
Are you looking for a technology partner on your digital journey? Reach out to us.
Original Source:- LinkedIn