Information security is a buzzword these days, and every manager knows it. However, understanding the importance of the subject does not make the task of putting it into practice any easier.
Many businesses still make security mistakes and find it difficult to keep up with the trends in this world, see the growth of threats, and take effective measures to combat them. But rest assured, the task is not simple, but it is not impossible either.
Understanding the principles, threats, and pillars of information security is a good start. If you want to understand more about the subject and know 6 practices that will make your data safer, you are in the right place. Read on!
The risks to which information assets are exposed
The storage and exchange of data in digital media has brought great advances to the whole world. But along with the benefits have come concerns. How do you ensure that data is secure?
Secure information must have three characteristics: integrity, reliability, and availability. Understand below the risks involved in each of these points.
Risks against integrity
Information is considered to have integrity when it remains true to its original characteristics and delivers to the receiver exactly the message sent by the sender. If, for example, an e-mail message is intercepted and its content altered, its integrity is compromised.
Another example of integrity risk could be if attackers were to replace all the numbers 8 by 3 in a price list, which would cause great financial loss. In other words, integrity risks are all those that cause information to be tampered with and lose its value.
Confidentiality of information is about ensuring that only authorized persons have access to certain content. If hackers are able to break into your system and steal restricted data, confidentiality is compromised.
Even within the organization, there are risks in this category. For example, if an unauthorized employee has access to the salary lists of other employees, confidentiality has been compromised.
Risks against availability
Finally, availability is the property that information can be accessed when it is needed. If an employee needs to access a report or a spreadsheet and cannot open the file, availability is compromised.
An example of a risk here is DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks or simply denial of service. In this type of synchronized attack, hackers try to overload a system so that it becomes unavailable.
The pillars of information security
To counter all these risks, the IT infrastructure needs to be set up and maintained in a robust way. Information security must rest on three pillars:
- processes: concerns the rules and procedures for using resources and information;
- systems: the implemented security tools, such as firewall, antivirus, etc.
- people: the users and their actions, which have direct consequences for information security and, therefore, must be well oriented.
Each of the pillars is equally important, and if one of them fails, the entire IT infrastructure is compromised.
The 6 best practices to adopt in your company
Learn now 6 good practices to strengthen all these pillars!
1. Corporate governance and a good information security policy
To begin with, the understanding of the importance of information security must start at the highest level of the company.
CEOs, directors, and managers need to understand the relevance of the topic and create a corporate governance that takes into account the challenges and needs of the digital age. The starting point is an information security policy that includes items such as:
- survey of information assets and the criticality of each of them for the business;
- definition of processes, permissions and prohibitions to be followed by users;
- responsibilities of each sector and manager in relation to data security;
- password policies
- backup policies;
- plans for risk mitigation and containment;
- access controls.
In short, the information security policy must be comprehensive and requires the involvement of all sectors of the company, as well as a deep knowledge of the business needs.
2. Constant user training
Users are the weakest link in the chain and need to be properly trained and monitored. Once they are understood by the board and management level, it is time to get the message out to each staff member.
It is essential that each user understands the risks and consequences of not being careful with data protection. Through training and constant alerts, the culture of information security can be implemented in the company. With this, the people pillar will be strong and reliable.
3. Wi-Fi network security
Now talking about practical actions regarding the systems and processes pillars, one of the major concerns is the risk that Wi-Fi connections represent. The use of unprotected networks should be avoided at all costs, and your company’s wireless network should be properly secured with encryption and security protocols. In addition, hardware must be properly updated and configured.
4. Data protection in the cloud
The use of the cloud is a practical way to reduce investments and should be done securely. For this, user authentication is essential, as well as the selection of a provider that takes information security seriously.
There are also several specific solutions to protect cloud computing environments. With a detailed evaluation, it is possible to find a product that fits the reality of each business.
5. Mobile device security
Laptops and smartphones are part of the daily life of companies, and the care with them needs to be doubled. When they leave the organization’s perimeter, they become more vulnerable and can become a gateway for threats. So make sure you include measures to protect mobile devices in your information security policy.
6. Constant testing and updating
Finally, information security should never be seen as a finished job. New risks emerge daily, and protection must keep up with market trends and seek continuous improvement.
Periodically, run tests to evaluate the efficiency of your data protection and make new investments in the items that show flaws. The more mature the information security is, the more competitive advantage it will bring to the business.
Information security as a competitive advantage
IT and information security are usually seen as expenses for the business, but this view needs to change. Those who invest in security are investing in the business and have high chances of seeing their business prosper.
A company that guarantees the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of its data and systems automatically earns the trust of clients, suppliers, and other partners. On the other hand, an information security incident has devastating potential and can permanently damage the image of the business.
Imagine if your company leaks customer information, if your website becomes unavailable, or even if your employees have to stop sales because a system doesn’t work. Any minor flaw in the technological systems generates a cascading effect on the company’s performance.
That is why, nowadays, information security must be seen as one of the foundations of the business and an essential item for its success and survival. If no one can live without technology anymore, it is also no longer possible to live without data protection.