Information security is defined as the practice of protecting information from unauthorized access, use, alteration, or destruction. It aims to mitigate the risks related to the inappropriate use of information. Information Security involves the reduction of the probability of unauthorized data access and unlawful use or devaluation. The prime focus of information security is to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data without hampering the productivity of the organization productivity. It is a multidisciplinary area of study and professional activity concerning the development and implementation of security mechanisms of all available types.
Threats to Information Security
Modern threats to information security are vast and sophisticated. Hackers can target anyone at any time. Typical examples are:
- A computer or mobile device could be corrupted with a virus, malware, worm, ransomware, or trojan horses.
- Work stolen through corporate espionage.
- Phishing emails or websites for stealing intellectual property.
- Money can be taken through credit card/debit card fraud.
- Information extortion.
- Any number of personal details can be lifted from a range of sources.
All it takes is one piece of malicious software, one click of the wrong link, or a slip in password security. So, being vigilant and keeping information safe should be exercised at every level.
What is Information Security for a Company?
Information security for a company broadly means maintaining the confidentiality of customer information they handle. It’s the responsibility of each and every one of the organizations to make sure that only the necessary people see the shared information – and no-one else.
This protection of information is taken very seriously across the globe. A breach has the potential to destroy the valuable reputation of a company, which could affect the possibility of winning any future work and could even result in the loss of existing work. Individuals and organizations can be left open to fraud and could lose large amounts of money or business.
Principles of Information Security
The basic principles of information security are Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability; Also known as CIA. An information security program should achieve these fundamental principles.
Confidentiality is the first component of information security. The purpose of confidentiality is to keeping private data private and unaccessible without authorization. Confidentiality measures should identify and block attempts. Techniques of confidentiality design are Passwords, encryption, authentication, and defense against penetration.
Integrity involves maintaining data in its original form and preventing it from unauthorized modifications. Integrity ensures the accuracy and completeness of data. Frequent back-up of data is a good resource of integrity design.
Availability is to ascertain that data can be fully accessed by those having proper permissions in real-time. Ensuring data availability means matching network and computing resources to the volume of data access you expect and implementing a good backup policy for disaster recovery purposes.
Preventing Information Security Breach
Big organizations have many ways of protecting information but the most important tool in preventing a breach is the individual person. So everyone in any company should be aware of information security threats. Treating information carefully is the best solution as the best firewall in the world can’t prevent from being tricked or manipulated into sharing confidential material.
Always be careful how and where you share information, whatever your location. You never know who may be interested in sourcing information from you, or how they might try to take it. Whether you are on a site visit in the Middle East or meeting a customer at a coffee shop in Europe, the risks to information security are the same.
It’s easy to think that information security only affects those who work in big offices handling financial information, but this isn’t the case. To combat the various types of risks to information security, a wide range of tools and techniques are available.
Keep conversations private
Always keep in mind who may be around when discussing work. In a restaurant or at an industry event, you never know when a competitor or a journalist could overhear you.
Anything containing confidential documents should be encrypted, including files sent over email or USB sticks. Learn how to password protect Word and other Office documents.
Where possible, all devices should have anti-malware software installed and be fully up-to-date. Some devices such as Apple mobile products have their own internal precautions.
All devices and documents should be password protected where possible. This includes email attachments, laptops, desktops, tablets, and smartphones. All of the above devices should also be fully locked when not in use, even if for small amounts of time.
Web security software
This software should always be in use and shouldn’t be switched off unless absolutely necessary.
Reporting security incidents
If you ever come across a possible breach in information security, please report it to the concerned immediately for reducing much misuse.
Keeping it clear
A simple but important step in basic information security is keeping a clear desk.
Provide access to the required personnel only.
Expect the unexpected
With the various types of information an organization handle, it’s too easy to make a simple mistake. So it’s always better to expect the unexpected and always protect information and be prepared.
Responding to Information Security Threats
When a information security threat is identified, there are the following options:
- Immediately Implement countermeasures to reduce threats and vulnerabilities
- Transfer the risk to other organizations (For example, purchasing an insurance policy or outsourcing)
- If the expense of the countermeasure is more than loss, simply accept the risk.
For any business operating within the EU, information security breaches have become a regulatory requirement due to the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2016 by the European Parliament and Council. Such organizations are now required to:
- provide data breach notifications
- appoint a data protection officer
- require user consent for data processing
- anonymize data for privacy
Online Courses on Information Security
To enhance your knowledge further on the subject of information security, the following online courses are suggested.