Urging employees to use vigilance and caution to safeguard company data from computer hackers isn’t adequate in today’s cyber-driven landscape. An organization must create and implement a comprehensive information security plan that addresses technical, organizational, human, and physical security vulnerabilities. 

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What Is Information Security?

Information security is a set of practices that protect data from unauthorized access or modification during storage or transmission. These practices include preventing unauthorized disclosure, disruption, inspection, recording, or destruction of information. Information security is a subset of cyber security, which involves protecting information technology assets from attackers.  

What Is Information Security: Threats to Information Security

Information security threats can vary from software attacks and sabotage to stealing intellectual property, identity theft, equipment or information theft, and extortion. Other nefarious techniques to access information that have proven effective include: 

  • Social Engineering – tricking people into revealing their password or account number or gaining access to a computer to install malicious software to gain control of the computer
  • Social media attacks – cybercriminals steal information from websites members of an organization visit
  • Mobile malware – users unintentionally download malware on their mobile devices
  • Outdated security software
  • Corporate data on personal devices

What Is Information Security: Information Security Principles

Data confidentiality, integrity, and availability are the foundational principles of information security. 

  • Confidentiality ensures that only authorized personnel gain access to the information. Some of the tools used to protect the confidentiality of data are passwords, authentication, encryption. Of course, a careless user who shares their log-in information can unknowingly open up an organization to a world of mischief.  
  • Integrity keeps data in its original, intended state, free from unauthorized modification. Frequently backing up data and version control software can restore data to its original form. Also, checksums, which are small blocks of data stemming from other data blocks to detect errors, can help validate data integrity. Non-repudiation is another measure of data integrity used in legal situations where a party must prove they have maintained data integrity.
  • Availability allows data access by authorized users. Sometimes access is needed by multiple departments in an organization. A cyberattack that results in a denial of service can hinder information access.

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What Is Information Security: Crafting an Information Security Policy 

An information security policy is a document that sets the ground rules for protecting data and lays out employee responsibilities and behavior for accessing it. An effective information security policy also encompasses access to data on the cloud and protocols for working with contractors and other third parties who may need data access.

An information security policy typically includes:

  • The overall objectives of the policy
  • A description of who has access to data
  • A guideline for user passwords
  • A data support and operations plan to ensure data availability
  • Employee roles and responsibilities for securing data
  • A description of who is responsible for information security

What Is Information Security: Information Security Measures

As stated at the beginning, information security requires a broad approach that incorporates technical, organizational, human, and physical processes:

  • Technical measures include encryption, firewalls, and other preventative measures that protect an organization’s hardware and software.
  • Organizational measures entail creating an internal department devoted to information security and having information security integrated into every department.
  • Human measures involve training all organization members, including contractors, on the proper information security practices.
  • Physical measures consist of controlling access to offices, control rooms, and data centers. 
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Upskilling Professionals in Information Security

Because education is critical in securing an organization from cyberattacks, training can’t be limited to the IT department. Simplilearn’s Cyber Security Expert Master’s Program offers an easy way to upskill technical staff in the latest cyber security skills and techniques. Because it offers foundational, intermediate, and advanced training, the course is suitable for upskilling company information security officers, security consultants, and seasoned IT managers. 

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