Information Security - What Is It & Why Is It Important To Your Business?
Technology has revolutionized our lives and in particular has had a huge impact on the way we work. In fact, some businesses can now operate completely remotely with no physical office or working space at all, thanks to advances in technology. What’s more, technology is now used in almost every aspect of a business in one way or another, from simple tasks like sending emails and storing customer information, to bigger projects like running online marketing campaigns or managing large financial transactions.
While technology has opened up a huge range of opportunities for businesses, it doesn't come without its drawbacks. In particular, the increase in cybercrime and technological issues can cause massive problems for companies. This is why every business must ensure they have the best possible information security system in place, to reduce the risk of something going wrong.
That said, we understand that setting out a strong security framework can take time and careful planning. Not to mention it can be difficult to know where to start. So whether you're completely new to Information Security (InfoSec) or you’re just unsure whether you need to invest in your security systems, this guide is here to help. Below we’ll look at what InfoSec actually means and why every business needs it.
Defining Information Security
Informations Security, or InfoSec, is all about the protection and confidentiality of information. When putting this in business terms it essentially means the processes and systems that are agreed upon, to ensure that any sensitive information the business holds is protected and cannot be tampered with, stolen or compromised. But more than this, it’s also about protecting the physical hardware that holds the data.
With so much data and information now collected, stored and processed via technology, it’s vital to keep this safe from any sort of breach. This could be anything from personal customer information to a company's financial transactions, and with most data now stored and accessed electronically, it’s easy to see why Information Security has become key to keeping systems safe from hacking or modification. The most effective way to implement strong security measures is through Information Security Management Systems (ISMS) - we’ll look at these in more detail later on.
There Are Different Types Of Information Security
In order to look further into the importance of Information Security, it can be helpful to break it down into the different types. Firstly, it’s important to understand the difference between Information Security and Cybersecurity as these are often confused but are not the same thing. Cybersecurity is the protection of data from cyber criminals attempting to access the information through systems and networks. As such, Cybersecurity is actually a part of Information Security, which refers to the protection of both physical and electronic data. So, let’s dig deeper, below are the different categories that make up Information Security:
1. Infrastructure Security
This is the protection of all physical items that store sensitive data. The infrastructure literally means the offices, labs or centers where devices are stored and the devices themselves - this includes laptops, computers, phones and tablets.
2. Cloud Security
Cloud security can be one of the more confusing aspects of Information Security. With so many businesses now using web-based applications such as Microsoft 365, lots of data is being stored and shared via these cloud-based systems. As such, it has become a real threat to security and a key focus for many businesses.
3. Application Security
Web and mobile applications can also pose security risks because they create an entry point for cybercriminals to get into your systems. As a result, your security strategy must include systems that protect sensitive data from being accessed in this way.
4. Encryption Security
Last but certainly not least, you need to ensure your devices are encrypted in order to keep the data within them safe. This can be done through encrypting hard drives so they cannot be accessed without permission. This is designed to protect the integrity and confidentially of the information you collect.
How Information Security Management Systems Contribute To Information Security
As mentioned earlier, Information Security Management Systems (ISMS) can be the perfect way to get a security framework in place. These are systems set out by businesses in order to assess and deal with potential security risks. The idea behind these is to minimise the likelihood of a data breach or cyber-attack at any point, but they also ensure your business has a procedure in place to tackle an issue should one arise. It’s a good idea to consider ISMS when putting together a security strategy for your business.
This Is Why Information Security Is So Important To Your Business
There are a number of reasons why it is so important that your business takes Information Security seriously. Firstly, because failure to protect the sensitive data of your customers or clients can get you a bad reputation, resulting in the loss of customers. Not to mention you could face a big fine if it’s found that your business is not following data protection regulations. But to help to really drive home the importance of Information Security it has been divided into three pillars: confidentiality, integrity, and availability (CIA).
Keeping the personal data of both your business and your customers confidential is vital. If this information ends up in the hands of the wrong people, they could begin to pester or even scam your customers. What’s more, you really don't want just anyone being able to access financial records, employee information or pass codes from your company.
Following on from this, integrity is crucial to ensure that no data is being tampered with. Hacking into your systems isn't always about stealing information, some cybercriminals choose to access the data simply to modify it and wreak havoc on your systems, and potentially discredit you depending on the nature of your business.
Finally, you have availability. This is very important for General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) because all businesses must be able to quickly access and delete data upon the request of the individual. Users have the right to access the information you have collected about them, as well as ask to be forgotten. As such, you must make sure your company has systems in place to find this data as quickly as possible.