Password protection. Two-step authentication processes. Automatic logouts after a period of inactivity. When it comes to business information security there are literally myriad security options, apps, programs and features that business’ can implement to uphold the safety of their data. However, the more options you have can lead to more confusion, as you may have trouble deciding which information security features to actually apply. You may like aspects of one potential information security system, and yet be fond of another, and have trouble deciding between the two. Like with television stations, the more choices you have the harder it becomes to narrow them down and specifically commit to something appropriate for your business needs.
This is where the implementation of an internationally certified Information Security Management System (ISMS) can help, as it analyses the specific requirements of your business, and offers real-world, contextually tailored, business appropriate information security solutions for your organisation. ISO 27001:2013, an internationally recognised security standard, addresses the information security requirements of your organisation through both a broad and specific analysis, by initially establishing an overview of the information security risks to operations, including the scope of the threats, weak points, and potential impacts on business dealings. You can then work with it to ascertain the kind of Information Security System appropriate for your business, what your organisation stands to benefit from its implementation, and how it can standardise your existing security controls by ensuring that they all adhere to the same fault checklist, all work through the same trouble-shooting chain of command, and so on. This level of standardisation of business information security ensures that if there is a security data breach or incident within your business, it is identified quickly, that there is a clear, methodical process in place for addressing it, and that the affect it has on your operations is minimised.
ISO 27001:2013 employs a methodical strategy to standardise Information Security Controls.
While most business’ have existing information security processes implemented within their operation, there is often little to no standardisation between their internal systems. This is because many business’ approach their information security controls on an individual, disjointed basis. For example, business’ may recognise that there is a potential issue with protecting client information in their internal databases, and so implement a password protection system to ensure that only authorised users have access to privileged data. While this addresses the issue of safeguarding client information to an extent, it does not account for other interrelated factors, such as how data breaches can come from a number of sources, both external and internal, and that basic password protection only works at locking unauthorised users out at one port of call.
In the event of an unauthorised user gaining access to confidential business information, such as by accessing a laptop left in an unprotected environment, that has already been opened via password, they would have complete access to the confidential data of the organisation. The Information Security Standards found within ISO 27001 work at addressing potential threats such as this one, by establishing how additional information security measures, safeguards and processes can be implemented to strengthen existing ones.
For example, designing work laptops to log off after a period of inactivity, and ensuring that separate business applications and work databases are protected by different log-in processes works at implementing an extra step of information security, and further protecting privileged information from potential threats. Therefore, in the event of a potential data breach, confidential business information is still protected behind walls of information security systems, meaning that potential threats to operations are mitigated.
Business Management becomes more manageable with ISO 27001
One of the chief benefits for business’ implementing the ISO 27001 Standards is they can get to look at their business operations from both an inside and outside perspective. The inside perspective works at getting management to conduct internal audits and checks of existing information security standards to ensure they are meeting the high quality standards found within ISO 27001, and getting them to take active steps to enhance their information security measures in the event of them not meeting these principles. Management should also look at their information security standards from an outside perspective, by establishing whether their systems would be adequate in preventing potential information security threats. This requires them to employ the ISO 27001 principles to address potential weak spots within their operations, and work at rectifying them so they are safeguarded from a real-world threat.
ISO 27001 gets you to think about what ‘information’ is to an organisation
When you hear the term ‘business information security’ it is easy to just think about it in terms of Information Technology (IT), such as email servers, online databases and computer programs utilised by the organisation. While that is certainly a part of it, ‘business information security’ encompasses much more than IT security, and the ISO 27001 Standards work at getting you to think about other kinds of information that business’ need to safeguard, to uphold the security of their data, maintain a good working relationship with clients, and promote their organisation as a secure one to conduct dealings with. Non-IT related business information security concerns are things such as:
- Physical environment: Business’ often work with books, technical and training manuals, signed paper contracts, photographs, and so on. These kinds of physical objects require just as much, if not more, business information security protection. Safeguarding these assets often requires ‘outside the box’ thinking, as they cannot be secured with passwords or electronic databases. The information security standards found within ISO 27001 offers business’ potential solution to safeguarding physical work objects, such as training staff to never leave information sensitive data unattended, to never take items off of premises unless necessary, and to store items in secured lockers.
- Verbal data: Business’ regularly conduct meetings, seminars, webinars, have phone conversations and so on, where important business information is shared. Safeguarding the commodity of verbal data is crucial to organisations, as it demonstrates to staff, clients and the general public, that when it comes to business information security, your business takes it seriously and takes everything into consideration. Ways to secure confidential verbal data are covered in the ISO 27001 standards, including taking minutes of meetings so there is a record of everything that was discussed and taking attendance of everyone at important business meetings, so there is a clear record of exactly who is privy to what confidential business data.
- The extent of employee knowledge: Informed staff are the most productive, as the more aware they are of the business’ information systems and their own role and responsibility in upholding it, the less likely potential data breaches are to occur. This aspect of business information addresses how to convey the goals of your organisation’s business information security plan to employees in a clear, easy to understand manner. Doing so ensures that employees understand the scope of the information security systems in place, what they need to do to uphold it, and what procedures to follow in the event of an incident or potential threat.
The high standards found with ISO 27001 ensure that your organisation recognises all aspects of business information security, how they relate to each other, and provides you with a clear checklist of potential issues, and what you need to do to overcome them. Doing so works at safeguarding you from overlooking a potential issue, or not fully understanding the risks a potential information security threat poses to operations. If your business has information that it would like to protect, then regardless of the form of the data, the ISO 27001 Standards would be able to provide your organisation with internationally recognised processes to ensure that the information security is upheld.
ISO 27001 Standards demonstrate that knowledge is power… so let’s power up
The standards found within ISO 2701 work like most operational business system: in a strategic, coherent manner. Implementing these standards requires business management to look at their projected information security standards in a tri-fold manner:
- Where they are now: This initial step requires business’ to understand the scope and limitations of their existing information security systems. This is necessary, because in order to get the most out of the ISO 27001 Standards you need to know what information security areas your business needs to address, and how these standards could work with your business to ensure its requirements are met in a clear, logical manner. By conducting research on your existing information security systems, in conjunction with what ISO 27001 could offer your business, you are educating yourself about what makes an effective business information security system, and how ISO 27001 can help you achieve these goals.
- Where you need them to be: After identifying where your business’ information security systems are currently at in relation to maintaining the security of your data, you should compare and contrast this with the kind of business information security system you require, and what needs to be done to get it implemented. After an in-depth analysis of your existing systems, in which this information is documented and presented in a logical manner, you can begin implementing the ISO 27001 Standards within your organisation.
- Whether you achieved your goals: In the initial step you developed a clear, methodical plan regarding what needs to be done to strengthen your business’ information security systems, and how the ISO 27001 Standards can help you realise this goal. Now, in order to achieve the internationally recognised ISO 27001 certification, which both demonstrates and promotes that your business has achieved industry compliance for information security standards, you must conduct an internal audit of your newly implemented information security system, to ascertain whether it meets the objectives you laid out. If it does not, you can go back to the standards to work out how your business can implement other aspects of information security standards to strengthen operations. If you do meet the standards outlined in ISO 27001 your business can become certified to this standard, which works at promoting it as a safe, trustworthy organisation to conduct dealings with.
The hassle of remembering five different passwords is a thing of the past with ISO 27001
We have briefly covered in this blog how maintaining business information security can seem like a complicated, confusing task, if you don’t employ a methodical, systematic approach to it. Simply remembering passwords can be a pain, as most websites now require you to have a combination of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols. Further, when many programs require you to use a different password for various features, even remembering what it is becomes a stress.
This is just one of the many ways that the ISO 27001:2013 Standards can help business’, by providing them with simpler, alternative solutions to cumbersome issues such as this, like using an app that randomly generates a new password every thirty seconds. If you would like to learn more about maintaining strong business information security, in an environment in which you will both be educated and able to ask specific questions relevant to your operations, then consider attending a free webinar on The Importance of Information Security in the Workplace, hosted by Anitech Group’s director, Anita Patturajan, by signing up on the SEMMA website.
If you want to take the first steps towards enhancing the information security systems of your organisation, and thus strengthening its future in the marketplace, then please contact Anitech Groups safety systems consultants today, on 1300 802 163. They will be able to conduct a brief, on-the-spot assessment of the specific information security requirements of your business, and how the ISO 27001 Standards can be implemented to help your business achieve its information security goals. Business’ with the greatest chance of success are ones that have identified potential weak points, and implemented systems to ensure their damage to business’ is mitigated, and through these standards your business will have the best chance of remaining an industry leader. Does this sound like the kind of business you want to be?