Imagine a jewellery shop where the jewels represent data. To protect the jewels from within, the shop owner follows specific policies and rules such as hiding the jewels when there are no customers. To protect the jewels from the outside, the owner installs reinforced doors and windows.
The first equates to Information Security, and the second to Cybersecurity.
Data is growing by an average of 22.5% every year. And our lives are becoming more and more digital every day, making our information landscape ever more complex.
On top of that, and adding another layer of complexity, laws are being passed to ensure data safety and rights around personal data.
Cybersecurity vs. Information Security
To secure our information, we rely on cybersecurity and information security. While cybersecurity focuses on protecting our information from the outside by guarding against cyberattacks, ransomware, and spyware, information security focuses on protecting information on the inside. It protects data from unauthorised access, modification, and disclosure. Rules are put in place to prevent, correct, and detect information security risks and compliance risks.
The Basics of Information Security
What does information security actually consist of? Here are the three basic principles:
- Privacy and confidentiality: Ensure that sensitive and/or personal data is protected from being accessed or disclosed to unauthorised individuals or entities.
- Integrity and authenticity: Ensure that data remains complete, accurate, and unaltered throughout its lifecycle, and prevent unauthorised modifications or corruption.
- Availability: Ensure accessibility and usability of systems, applications, and data when needed, so operations and access for authorised users are uninterrupted.
Information Security and Governance
To implement these principles, good governance is key to controlling and managing risk and compliance. This requires rules that consist of policies, procedures, and processes built on the outcome of:
- Data classification: To understand the information that is being used and stored, data must be categorised. This can be done based on metadata such as content, file type, sensitivity, etc. The classified data will give insights into the importance and sensitivity of the data. Once the value of the data is known, the necessary measures can be taken to protect the information from misuse.
- Information life cycle management: To manage and control information, the life cycle of data must be determined from the moment the information is created until it is disposed of or archived. Applying rules on how information is distributed and stored while in use will effectively reduce the volume of non-essential information and therefore help to reduce storage costs, prevent data loss, and improve legal compliance. Knowing the data life cycle means also knowing how to manage roles and responsibilities within your information organisation.
- Access management: To protect information from unlawful use, access must be restricted. To ensure that only users with a user name and password have access to the information they need, a framework of processes, policies, and system settings must be established to control and monitor access to data, resources, and systems. This will improve the detection of anomalies, security threats, and breaches, and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.
Extra challenges: AI and sustainability
Implementing the three basic principles of Information Security is a challenge in itself. But as the exponential growth of data demands more storage capacity, our carbon footprint will grow too.
We should take into consideration the positive impact of Information Security on an organization as more than protection but also in a sustainability perspective by reducing the amount of non-essential data and therefore reducing storage capacity.
With AI entering the field of Information Security, more and more organisations are also able to automate security measures that will improve the speed of detection and prevention. However, AI is still a burgeoning technology and a self-learning system. As such, human intervention is needed to control and manage Information Security to avoid data authenticity being undermined.
To stay ahead of future developments and be able to manage and control information landscapes, organisations need to implement Information Security measures now to avoid increasing risks and costs. What measures have you planned or already taken? Drop me a line and let me know! I’d be happy to share my thoughts with you.