A simple way of introduction to Information security is by the information security definition which says that it is a set of processes and practices involved in securing information and data from unauthorized access, dissemination, destruction, and modification during transmission and storage. Information security can be said to be a branch of cybersecurity, even though, sometimes the two terms are used interchangeably. It is critical to know what is Information Security before getting into more profound aspects of this subject.
In this article, let us look at:
- Need for Information Security
- Information Security Principles
- Information Security Policies
- What is Information Security Management
- Types of Information Security
1) Need for Information Security
In the present day scenario where data theft is a significant threat to the personal, organizational, national security, and government information in all areas, the need for information security is critical. With the recent trends toward big data in all spheres of activity, the amount of data involved with governmental agencies and large organizations is enormous. Data is any information relating to personal, organizational, security, defence, financial, commercial, and others in every possible area of operation. A small example regarding personal data is what is available with the banks. Information security meaning can be understood in a situation where there is leakage in a bank database. This can cause immense damage to the concerned bank, depositors, and borrowers. The goals of information security are to prevent such leaks everywhere at all levels, at all times.
2) Information Security Principles
The Information Security Objectives are to protect data in computers, networks and servers across different organisations in every sector. The main principles of information security can be summed up with the well-known CIA triad.
- Confidentiality– The confidentiality of information related to an organization is integral to any information security policy. Each person is given access to information as required at his level and for his nature of work—the amount of information accessible increases based on the hierarchy and area of operation. Every employee is trained appropriately to protect and maintain the confidentiality of information available to him. Prevention of unauthorized persons from gaining access is the key to this system. The overall organizational cybersecurity is taken care of by a dedicated department through a firewall of appropriate sophistication.
- Integrity- The integrity in information security is maintained by a process that ensures that data in a system is not altered either intentionally or unintentionally. Intentional tampering is avoided by preventing unauthorized access and protecting against the insertion of harmful viruses. Unintentional modification of information is taken care of by providing access based on the need.
- Availability– The availability of information to authorized users at all times is one of the main elements of information security. This is ensured by allowing access to only the required information or data to an employee, strictly as per the needs. A temporary loss of availability can occur due to vicious denial of service attacks on the company. A regular 2 or 3 tier local and remote data backup process should be in place. In the case of data corruption, alteration, or loss, a suitable and extremely reliable disaster recovery plan has to be in place to restore the lost data.
- Non-repudiation– This principally means that the sender of a message can not deny transmitting the message. Similarly, the receiver can not deny receiving the message that was sent.
- Authenticity– This is one of the leading information security concepts which ensures that when verified users send messages to any party, these messages can be linked to a trusted source. This authenticates the message which can be relied upon by the receiver.
- Accountability– This is a process by which any alteration of data can be traced back to the source of action to keep track of all the modification entries. This ensures that the required type of data and appropriate rights for editing are in place for every person in the organization for proper accountability of all actions.
3) Information Security Policies
All organizations have clearly defined information security policies in place which enumerate the company’s approach to Information security principles and practices.
- Purpose– The policy has to define the sense and goals of information security set up and its objectives. It is about preventing, forestalling, and detecting any action which can lead to data compromise in its systems.
- Scope– This should bring out the full spectrum of the information security process coverage like the individual systems, routers, servers, and complete configuration of the network along with all users of the company’s plans. It should cover all remote systems, remote users, as well as any interconnected third party users across the globe.
- Objectives– The policy should be well written, not wordy, clearly spelling out the information security objectives in unambiguous terms to avoid any confusion or disputes at any time.
4) What is Information Security Management
Recent years have seen an explosion in the amount of information collected and stored in all areas of business across the globe. This can be related to the personal information of millions of customers in banks, other financial and governmental institutions about social security details, personal data, financial information, social media details, and more. Organizations store massive amounts of information related to their business, clients, projects, finances, promoters, directors, and employees. Hence it is imperative to have reliable Information Security Management practices and processes in place to secure the data at all times. This describes the set of procedures, programs, and policies in place to ensure these information assets from all types of threats and vulnerabilities.
5) Types of Information Security
Some of the types of Information Security are:
- Application Security: This covers a wide area of vulnerabilities in software, web, and application programming interfaces. The vulnerabilities can exist in user authentication and other areas which can create entry points for potential threats and information security breaches.
- Information Security: This refers to the security of the entire infrastructure related to this area.
- Cloud Security: This refers to the shared cloud environment and information security for the building and hosting a secure infrastructure for client applications.
- Cryptography: Encryption and Cryptography play a big part in information security in many fields. A beginner can easily relate to the encrypted messaging in WhatsApp to prevent information breaches when transmitted between two individuals.
- Vulnerability Management: This is the process of screening all system areas to find out any potential weak zones. This is critical in an era where organizations are continually upgrading their hardware and adding new applications where any weak and vulnerable points need to be plugged at the earliest.
Information Security Overview
From the details of information security discussed above, it must be now clear as to how to define information security in any context. The information security overview as detailed until now must have cleared all issues relating to information security basics. The concept of information security is a collective responsibility, and there is no magic fit-all solution for all businesses. It is dynamic, needs continuous monitoring and upgrading. Even as there is no foolproof security, it is usually made up of different layers of security to take care of multiple threats. Finally, a balance needs to be struck, and appropriate disaster recovery plans need to in place as a last resort to take care of any successful, vicious attack.
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Information Security Management: Everything To Know in 6 Easy Points