Information security governance 101: What do you need to know?
Relating to the tools, processes and personnel involved in ensuring that an organisation’s security structure meets its specific needs, information security governance plays a critical role in any organisation’s cybersecurity strategy.
Similar in nature to corporate governance and IT governance, information security governance joins these two to form a trio of processes that allow companies to achieve certain goals within a clearly-defined framework. It relates to the creation of security policies and is more strategic rather than tactical.
In 2015, 169 million personal records were exposed from more than 700 publicised breaches across the financial, business, education, government and healthcare sectors. At a time when such attacks are becoming more pervasive, having processes in place to safeguard your data is crucial to avoid damaging lawsuits and to ensure consistent growth.
Here are a few recommendations on how to align your information security governance with industry standards and best practices.
EMBED CYBERSECURITY TRAINING FOR YOUR STAFF IN YOUR STRATEGY
If your security strategy is to be effective, there needs to be an equal and sufficient awareness not just of the risks your organisation faces but also of preventative, mitigatory and remedial action that must be taken in the event of a successful attack.
This is especially important if you have people who work remotely on your team or use their own devices at work.
In this process, don’t fall prey to a common mistake many organisations make: Organizing one-off, supposedly comprehensive training programmes - you need to constantly update yours and your team’s knowledge of evolving cybersecurity issues.
MAKE SURE YOU’VE COVERED ALL BASES
In the process of creating a truly comprehensive information security governance strategy, you must ensure that you adopt a company-wide approach that takes into account the unique environment you operate in and your company culture.
Ultimately, the success of your strategy depends on whether you create a secure working environment that’s conducive to the fulfilment of your business goals and objectives.
In this process, we insist that you resist working in silos; consult all stakeholders to ensure that your strategy covers every area of operations - you shouldn’t have to do ‘patch up’ jobs with your strategy once you’re past the initial stage.
ENSURE THAT YOUR POLICIES CAN BE ADAPTED TO CHANGING ENVIRONMENTS/REQUIREMENTS
When you flesh out the specific policies and procedures of your information security governance strategy, it’s crucial that you ensure that they are capable of evolving to meet changing and more complex needs.
Otherwise, you will find yourself grappling with outdated and rigid policies that do not complement your company’s growth or the complexities of internal operations. This means that you will need to constantly revisit the strategies you come up with, which is a costly, and frankly, wasteful exercise.
Make sure that you have frequent review and feedback sessions, where you sit down with your teams and see how your information security governance strategy is working and what needs changing, if any.
This way, you can make small tweaks along the way to ensure that your information is not only safe but that your security policies are second nature to your employees.
MEASURE AND ANALYSE THE EFFECTIVENESS OF YOUR STRATEGY
Related to our point on adaptable strategies are monitoring and evaluation. The truth is that in order to ensure that your policies are actually helping you grow and not stifling your efficiency or freedom to innovate, M&E is pivotal.
PRACTISE EFFECTIVE INFORMATION SECURITY GOVERNANCE FOR IMPROVED CYBERSECURITY
Unbeknownst to you, information security governance may have been a key part of your cybersecurity efforts all this time. That being said, your newfound knowledge will help you create more holistic policies that afford you greater protection and help you become more compliant to industry standards.