A solid information security program is an essential component of running a business in the digital age—a time when the number of data breaches and security incidents are increasing exponentially. Without a security program, you leave your company, customers, and data at risk. Let’s explore the components of an information security program, and walk through a step-by-step guide on how you can implement one at your organization.
What is an Information Security Program?
Think about your organization’s information security culture, policies, procedures, standards, and guidelines. Together, these elements create a security program by outlining how your organization plans for and acts when it comes to security management.
The purpose of the program is to make certain the data and information you’re responsible for is safe. By safe, we mean your organization ensures three vital principles: confidentiality (secured from unauthorized access), integrity (accurate and free from tampering), and availability (accessible in a timely manner) of its data.
Information security programs need to:
- Establish a benchmark for security;
- Measure against that benchmark;
- Enable informed decision making; and,
- Support the execution of decisions.
9 Steps on Implementing an Information Security Program
BARR Advisory’s experienced team has outlined the following nine steps you can take to establish a working, future-ready information security program:
Step 1: Build an Information Security Team
Before you begin this journey, the first step in information security is to decide who needs a seat at the table. One side of the table holds the executive team, made up of senior-level associates responsible for crafting the mission and goals of the security program, setting security policies, risk limitations, and more. On the other side of the table sits the group of individuals responsible for daily security operations. As a whole, this group designs and builds the framework of the security program.
Step 2: Inventory and Manage Assets
The security team’s first job is to understand which assets exist, where those assets are located, ensure the assets are tracked, and secure them properly. In other words, it’s time to conduct an inventory of everything that could contain sensitive data, from hardware and devices to applications (both internally and third party developed) to databases, shared folders, and more. Once you have your list, assign each asset an owner, then categorize them by importance and value to your organization should a breach occur.