Information Security Services: What You Need to Know

13 Insights & Best Practices to Keep Your Organization Safe

Protecting your company’s critical data and applications isn’t the sexy part of information technology. Automating processes, cutting costs and being able to work from anywhere — are the things that drive the adoption of new tech.

But the people designing new systems and platforms aren’t the only ones innovating. Cybercriminals are continually updating their tactics too. And that’s why information security and risk management must be part of your IT strategy. Working with a trusted service provider like AISN can save you time and help you avoid potential pitfalls. 

Be Eligible for BEAD and E-ACAM Federal Grants

To be eligible for either BEAD or E-ACAM federal grants, ISPs must have operational cybersecurity and SCRM plans prior to receiving any funds, and these plans must meet key National Institute of Standards and Technology standards.

Proactively meeting NIST requirements now will prevent costly delays in receiving your awards and will put your network in a secure cybersecurity posture.

1. Understanding Information Risk Management

First things first. Information risk is the probability that your systems will be compromised and someone or something will negatively affect your data’s confidentiality, integrity or availability.

Information risk management includes your strategies and methods to mitigate the likelihood of your data or systems being compromised.

You can take care of this in-house or hire a managed service provider like AISN to do it for you. We will ensure you have all the necessary risk management measures to keep your organization safe and achieve any necessary compliance standards such as NIST, CMMC 2.0, etc.

Three Areas Your Information Security Strategies Should Cover



Incidents or events that could compromise the security of your network, including natural threats, intentional threats and unintentional threats.



Weaknesses in your systems — whether physical or digital — that leave your company open to damage.



The potential damage you face when threats find vulnerabilities, such as financial loss, operations disruption, reputational damage and more.

Protecting yourself, your partners, your clients and your business from the risks you face requires a careful assessment of risks, a clear strategy to mitigate them and a plan for quickly containing the damage when breaches occur. Enlisting the help of a third-party advisor is an innovative and efficient way to weed out problems early.

Did You Know?

According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Report, over $3.5 billion was lost to cybercrime in 2019.

2. Performing an IT Risk Assessment

Do you need an IT risk assessment? Surely if you’re compliant with industry and government regulations and standards, your data must be secure.

As HIPAA compliance service providers, we recognize that compliance alone does not equal security.

Cybersecurity threats are evolving as quickly as the technology and regulatory bodies are simply not agile enough to keep up with new threats.

How do you determine what risks your organization is facing? Performing a 4-step IT risk assessment can help you get a clear picture of threats, vulnerabilities and risks.

Step 1

Catalog Assets

Work with your team to develop a list of all the assets you need to protect.
Step 2

Identify Threats and Vulnerabilities

Examine your security systems for gaps and weaknesses.
Step 3

Assess Impacts

This can include disruptions, financial costs, reputational damage, legal issues and more.
Step 4

Prioritize Risks

Rank risks based on how likely they are to happen, the impact they will have, and whether or not you can prevent them.

Make sure your assessment includes all possible situations. Just because no one on your team works remotely right now doesn’t mean it will never happen.

Take a look at How to Perform an IT Risk Assessment for more information on laying a solid foundation for your information security strategy.

Did You Know?

Businesses that make information security a part of regular operations are 4.3 times better at preventing cybersecurity incidents.

The full version of “13 Best Practices for Information Security” is available to download here.

3. Remote Work Cybersecurity Risks

The advantages — and risks — of having employees work remotely have been thrust into the spotlight in recent months as the COVID-19 pandemic forced many businesses to close their doors. Experts suggest the remote working trend will likely continue long after the virus is gone. Whether your organization has a strategy for reopening or not, protecting your systems against some of the information security risks that come with remote work is a critical part of a mature cybersecurity strategy.

Information security risks specifically associated with remote working include:

Open padlock on a motherboard indicating InfoSec and the risks of remote work

Unsecured Networks

Most home wifi networks have weaker security protocols than those in office environments.

Close up of someone trying to steal a woman's smartphone, posing a security threat to the information she has linked to it

Unsecured Devices or Programs

90% of working adults use devices issued by their workplaces for non-work activities.

Credit card with fishing hook in it lying on a keyboard highlights the prevalence of online phishing scams

Phishing Scams

94% of malware is delivered via emails opened by unsuspecting recipients.

How can you tell if your information security program is up to the challenge of handling ever-evolving threats posed by negligent staff or malicious online criminals? A mature information security strategy includes flexible adaptation to new situations or threats.

Are You Prepared for the Cybersecurity Risks of Remote Work? Check out our blog post for more information on developing a mature information security program.

Did You Know?

You can measure the maturity of your information security program by seeing how well you handle the 4 Ps: Protection, Prevention, Preparation, and Preemption.

4. Developing Your Information Security Program

Understanding the need for a cybersecurity strategy is one thing. Developing a comprehensive information security program is quite another.

Where do you even start? If the prospect seems unduly daunting, consider the cost of not having one.

Some 445 million online cyber fraud and abuse claims were reported in the first quarter of 2020, and the average data breach costs $3.92 million.

Develop your information security program in four basic stages.



Use risk assessments and pen testing to identify threats and vulnerabilities.



Close security gaps and implement policies to minimize risk.



Deploy monitoring systems to identify data breaches as soon as they occur.



Create a clear action plan so that breaches are quickly contained and remediated.

Remember, the loss or theft of privileged or business-critical information isn’t the only factor your cybersecurity plans should cover. Ensure your strategy can also protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of your data and systems.

In How to Develop an Information Security Program, we go into more detail on how you can make sure your information security program is ready for anything.

Did You Know?

Juniper Research predicts that the total number of IoT connections will reach 83 billion by 2024. Having a comprehensive strategy will make it easier to adapt to new developments and technology.

5. The Importance of Cybersecurity Governance

As the complexity of your systems increases with the adoption of new technological solutions, so must the measures you take to keep those systems secure against intruders.

However, even the most carefully designed information security program will fail without adequate leadership. Some two-thirds of organizations ignore more than 25% of security events.


If no one person or team is tasked with taking responsibility for your program — or any one part of your program — it’s easy for aspects to go overlooked. Establish governance by assigning responsibility directly to someone empowered to enforce policies and make changes in these areas.

  • Regularly testing and updating security measures.
  • Training employees to identify and react to information security incidents.
  • Identifying and flagging new risks for follow-up.

AISN can assist with cybersecurity governance. By combining strategic IT consulting and managed IT solutions we’ll help protect your organization from threats while simultaneously optimizing resources, streamlining processes and ensuring the security strategies align with your company’s business goals.

For more on the value of governance and how to implement a governance program, check out Why Cybersecurity Governance Matters to Your Organization.

Did You Know?

A survey conducted by Forrester Consulting found that 77.4% of respondents reported a poor relationship between IT and security departments.

6. Implementing Information Security Training

With a comprehensive information security plan and the governance to lead and oversee it, the next step is ensuring all team members — from the lowest-ranking administrative assistant to your C-suite — understand your company’s risks and the policies you’ve implemented to mitigate those risks.

A good cybersecurity awareness training program can help improve compliance with information security policies that, if not clearly explained, may appear inconvenient and unnecessary to your team. Make sure your employees understand the policies that govern:

Physical Access

Can include ID badges, guest logging, alarms and device security.


Two-factor authentication, password requirements.

Identifying Threats

How to recognize online scams, phishing, malware and more.


When to escalate cybersecurity concerns and who to report them to.

Information threats continually evolve, so don’t treat training as a one-and-done task. Training should be offered regularly to refresh memories and keep your team abreast of new policies and threats.

Not sure where to start? Read our post on How to Implement a Cybersecurity Awareness Training Program for more information.

Did You Know?

80% of organizations have experienced at least one successful cyberattack. Most cite worrisome employee behavior as their greatest challenge.

The full version of '13 Best Practices for Information Security' is available to download here.

7. Maintaining Availability

Keeping your data and systems online at all times is critical to the success of your business. The cost of downtime continues to climb. And as remote working gains popularity, keeping your networks live and your systems accessible to employees will become increasingly important.

AISN’s Tier III and Tier IV North American data centers offer 100% network uptime, backed by an unsurpassed SLA in the market today. Our infrastructure is built to deliver security, performance, reliability and scalability.

Availability can be compromised by a range of factors:

Closeup of computer in server room highlights the need for InfoSec and risk management as part of a successful IT strategy
Hardware or System Failure
Man sitting at desk with laptop open and head in his hands
Employee Error
Close up of hands typing in username and password on laptop
Rescue worker with dog searching for survivors after an earthquake
Natural Disaster or Power Outage
Hand holding smartphone with a malware warning on it. Information security services can help you avoid a cyberattack

You can also dramatically decrease your risk of downtime — and associated disruptions and losses — by developing an availability strategy and employing a disaster recovery strategy. Identify your current continuity capabilities and the impact of any potential disruption, then develop a clearly outlined action plan. You can’t necessarily prevent a downtime incident, but you can ensure you’re not among the 43% of businesses that never reopen afterward.

Read How to Protect Your Assets With a Disaster Recovery Plan to learn more about availability and DR strategy.

Did You Know?

The Ponemon Institute reports that only 24% of cybersecurity pros actually focus on preventing incidents, rather than reacting to them.

8. Responding to an Information Security Incident

The odds are high that your organization will eventually fall victim to an information security incident. More than one billion identified malware programs exist, and a cyberattack occurs once every 39 seconds.

And that’s assuming your incident directly results from an attack rather than a hardware failure or employee negligence!

Think of your systems being compromised as a ‘when’ rather than an if’ scenario.

However, the proper preparations can help minimize the impact of any breach and quickly get your company back to business as usual. Your cybersecurity incident response plan should include these five basic steps.



Identify and document the details of the incident.



Contain the breach, quarantine affected systems and remove anyone involved.



Remove any malware, repair damage and test systems and backups.



Restore systems from backups and resume operations cautiously.



Determine how, when and why the incident occurred and how to prevent it from recurring.

Time is of the essence when responding to a cybersecurity breach, but a panicked response will only worsen the problem. Preparing an incident response strategy in advance and fully documenting every aspect of a breach (and your response) can help improve your defenses.

In 5 Cybersecurity Incident Response Steps You Need to Know, you’ll find detailed information on how to minimize the impact of an information security incident.

Did You Know?

The average data breach costs $3.92 million — $150 per record compromised.

9. Router and Network Firewall Security

Router and network firewall security is the first line of technological defense protecting your business from outside intruders. But regular maintenance, testing and updates are critical to keep your organization safe.



Create use policies, establish controls and assign the task of enforcing standards to guard against intrusion via any of your physical devices.


Operating Systems

Regularly patch, update and test operating systems, control access privileges and log any changes to keep operating systems secure.



Limit and monitor traffic that can enter and exit your network and regularly inspect for unguarded access points.

Don’t think your organization is too big or too small to be a target. More than 15 billion records were exposed by data breaches in 2019, and the targets were companies of all sizes.

Check out Network Firewall Security: Are You Compliant or Are You Secure? for more information on reinforcing network firewall security.

Did You Know?

Each of the 15 largest recorded data breaches compromised the records of more than 100 million people.

10. Penetration Testing

A key aspect of your information security program is regularly inspecting your systems for vulnerabilities that new threats could exploit. Penetration testing is a valuable weapon in your arsenal against cybercrime.

While vulnerability scanning only locates gaps in your security, pen testing lets you see how far into your system a hacker could get by exploiting those gaps — giving you a clear, measurable indication of risk.

There are five different types of pen testing and each provides different insights.


Testing vulnerabilities from within your organization.



Testing vulnerabilities that outside actors could access.

White Box

White Box

The tester has some knowledge of the security you have in place.

Black Box

Black Box

The tester has no knowledge of the security you have in place.



Your team is unaware of the test (and therefore can’t prepare for it).

Penetration testing under various scenarios can help you identify holes in your security and provide a complete picture of the potential damage if they were exploited. This is especially useful when prioritizing which vulnerabilities to address first.

For more information on how pen testing works, take a look at You Need the Security Benefits Penetration Testing Can Offer.

Did You Know?

Experian’s Seventh Annual Data Breach Preparedness Study found that 57% of companies regularly conduct security assessments with the assistance of outside experts.

11. What Is a vCISO?

Your business’s information security risks are continually increasing as your organization grows and adopts new technology solutions. And experts estimate that more than 60% of businesses operate with understaffed cybersecurity teams.

The best way to ensure that you’re prepared for existing and evolving threats to your expanding systems is to employ a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO).

Did You Know?

The U.S. cybersecurity workforce would need to increase by 62% to meet current demand levels.

But what if you don’t have the budget for a full-time cybersecurity executive? One option is outsourcing your information security needs to a vCISO — an expert who can spearhead your program while operating like a consultant. What does a vCISO offer?

  • Expertise: Experienced and trained in the latest threats, vulnerabilities and best practices.
  • Affordability: Less expensive than hiring a full-time officer, but value isn’t compromised.
  • Reliability: 82% of full-time CISOs report feelings of burnout, 64% are considering quitting.
  • Availability: Better availability than freelance experts, ready to work when you need them.
The model of using — and paying for — only the expertise and services you need is gaining popularity in many fields. A vCISO can save your organization money without compromising your information security program’s efficacy.

Read Could Your Business Benefit From a vCISO? for more on the benefits of working with a vCISO.

12. Cyber Forensics Consulting

When most people think of information security risks, they focus on financial losses, operational disruptions and reputational damage. But a data breach can also leave you vulnerable to legal action from clients or partners. Understanding your legal rights and responsibilities is vital to protecting your organization from harm.

Suppose your cybersecurity attorney works with a cyber forensics consultant. In that case, they can help shape your information security program with an eye toward your legal obligations and shield you from lawsuits in case of a breach.


Identify Issues

Pointing out legal strengths and weaknesses in your information security strategy.

Oversee Operations

Oversee Operations

Ensuring security measures, policies and standards comply with legal obligations.

Guide Security Leaders

Guide Security Leaders

Assisting with governance and incident response efforts with an eye towards legal issues.

Take a look at Why Your Clients Really Need Cyber Forensics to learn more about protecting your business from legal liability.

Did You Know?

A Gartner survey found that the recent move to remote working during the pandemic increased most cybersecurity leaders’ concerns about legal and compliance issues.

13. Avoiding Data Breaches

Your information security strategy aims to secure your data against exposure to unauthorized parties. And threats and vulnerabilities can be everywhere. While the expression ‘data breach’ often conjures images of remote hackers using code to bypass our security measures, the risks are often more commonplace.

Data breaches can be caused by:
Employee Error
Social Engineering
Visitor Access
Disgruntled Staff
Physical Theft

Organizations of all sizes and verticals can fall prey to breaches that expose their customers’ personal or sensitive data or business-critical information and trade secrets.

At AISN, we offer information security services for organizations looking to modernize their IT infrastructure. Get in touch to learn how we can help you avoid a data breach.

We teamed up with some analysts to examine what caused some major security breaches of 2020 and how they could have been prevented. Read about our findings in What You Need to Know About Avoiding Data Breaches.

Did You Know?

The average cost of a data breach is $3.92 million. But breaches contained within 200 days cost $1.2 million less on average than longer incidents.

A Partner You Can Trust

At AISN, we don’t believe that ‘one-size-fits-all’ is the way to offer cloud solutions. Our business model is built on the belief that our clients deserve customized cloud platforms designed to meet their compliance, security and operational needs. We can assist if you have questions about cloud or cloud-enabled services. Our experts are always happy to discuss your needs. Get in touch with us today.

Download the PDF of ’13 Best Practices for Information Security’ now.