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.
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.
Three Areas Your Information Security Strategies Should Cover
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.
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.
Identify Threats and Vulnerabilities
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.
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:
Most home wifi networks have weaker security protocols than those in office environments.
Unsecured Devices or Programs
90% of working adults use devices issued by their workplaces for non-work activities.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Can include ID badges, guest logging, alarms and device security.
Two-factor authentication, password requirements.
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.
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:
Hardware or System Failure
Natural Disaster or Power Outage
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.