Plan for Information Security
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Plan for Information Security
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Plan for Information Security

Information is a valuable asset to your business. The use of proper preventive measures and safeguards reduces the risk of successful security attacks, which might otherwise cost you a large fortune. Some losses might even be irrecoverable, e.g. the loss of a business deal due to a leakage of confidential information to a competitor.

With effective information security management, you are providing your company with the best strategy and a cost-effective solution for the overall protection of valuable information. The advantage is that it is easy-to-manage and, most importantly, minimises the risk of attacks and helps you to ultimately save costs. Safeguard these assets as best as you can. Make the security budget a mandatory part of your company / organisational budget.

Information security management involves a combination of prevention, detection and reaction processes. It is a cycle of iterative activities and processes that require ongoing monitoring and control.

Security Management Cycle

Information is one of the most valuable assets in your business. With an effective information security management policy in place, you will be able to provide your company with a strong security strategy, and a cost-effective solution for the overall protection of valuable information. The advantage is that information control becomes easier to manage and, most importantly, you can minimise the risk of attacks, ultimately saving costs. You want to safeguard your assets as best as you can, so simply making a security budget a mandatory part of your company / organisation budget would be a wise move.

Information security management involves a combination of prevention, detection and reaction processes. It is a cycle of iterative activities and processes that require ongoing monitoring and control. While this management cycle is mostly applied at the overall organisation level, it can also be applied to different functions or units in a business to prevent financial loss, e.g. the sales department, the customer service unit, and so on.

In order to make security management work, involvement, understanding and support from all members in your organisation is a crucial factor in the effectiveness of any program. Do not be fooled into thinking it is an isolated task just for the security or IT department.

The diagram below highlights the major activities involved in any security management cycle.

Security management cycle

security management cycle

Step 1: Assessing Security Risks

Step 2: Implementing & Maintaining a Secure Framework

Step 3: Monitoring & Recording

With implementation and maintenance being carried out to provide a secure framework, there is also the need for constant monitoring and recording so that proper arrangements can be made when tackling a security incident.

In addition, day-to-day operations such as users' access attempts and activities while using a resource, or information, need to be properly monitored, audited, and logged as well: e.g. individual user ID needs to be included in audit logs to enforce individual responsibility. Each user should understand his responsibility when using company resources and be accountable for his actions.

Major activities include:

Maintaining a security incident handling and reporting procedure
Maintaining an audit trail for major business systems and critical applications
Maintaining an event history and error log for operating systems
Maintaining access records of visitors or guests enter your premises
Maintaining records to keep track of authorisation to access and undertake critical business activities
Step 4: Reviewing & Improving

Running hand-in-hand with all major activities and processes in the Security Management Cycle, (that is, Assessing Security Risks, Implementing & Maintaining a Secure Framework, and Monitoring & Recording) is Reviewing and Improving, which is an ongoing review that identifies what enhancements are necessary. This is a series of a cyclic compliance reviews and re-assessments designed to make sure that security controls are properly put into place to meet security requirements, and to cope with any rapid technological and environmental changes. It also requires continuous feedback and monitoring. The review can be done through periodic security audits to monitor and review security practices and strategies on an on-going basis.

Security Audit
Objectives of a Security Audit
Auditing Steps
Security Controls on Auditors

Security Audit

A security audit is a repetitive checking process to ensure that security measures are properly implemented from time to time. A Security Audit is performed more frequently than a Security Risk Assessment. It aims to find out if the current environment is securely protected in accordance with the defined security policy.

Objectives of a Security Audit

to provide evidence of compliance with the security policy
to examine and analyse safeguards to the system and the operational environment
to assess the technical and non-technical implementation of the security design
to validate proper or improper integration and operation of all security features

Auditing Steps

Defining the audit scope & activities
Collecting audit data
Performing audit tests
Reporting audit results
Protecting audit data and tools
Making enhancements and follow-up

Security Controls on Auditors

The security control compliance of auditors should be monitored and reviewed actively and periodically. The organisation must reserve the right to audit the responsibilities of auditors defined in the service level agreement, and have those audits carried out by an independent third party.

To ensure an effective and comprehensive review, detailed inventories should be maintained accurately and kept up-to-date, including:

a list of servers and systems within the scope of the project, and which servers / systems are storing sensitive or personal information.
a list of support staff from third party service providers as well as the user IDs and access privileges granted to individual support staff.
a list of data, especially sensitive or personal data, transferred to any third party service providers.