Like any other system or organization, businesses must protect their confidential and critical data from unauthorized access. Data breaches can incur hefty costs for companies, so businesses need skilled information security professionals to keep security incidents at bay.
This article discusses the key concepts you need to know about information security.
What Is Information Security?
Information security often referred to as cybersecurity or IT security, is the process of securing electronic data against harm. Some information risks are unauthorized access, usage, disclosure, interception, and data loss. Business and individual users’ confidential information is included in this definition (CISCO, 2019).
Fundamental Principles of Information Security
Information security is important because it helps to protect information from being accessed by unauthorized individuals. There are four main principles of information security: confidentiality, integrity, availability, and non-repudiation.
- Confidentiality refers to the secrecy surrounding information. Only authorized individuals should be able to access confidential information.
- Integrity means that data cannot be altered without authorization.
- Availability ensures authorized users have access to the data when needed.
- Non-repudiation prevents someone from denying that they took action, such as sending an email.
Information Security Controls
Information security controls are safeguards or countermeasures used to protect electronic information systems and data from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction. Information security controls can be classified into three main categories: administrative controls, physical controls, and technical controls.
Administrative controls are procedures and policies that help secure information systems and data. They include specifying who is allowed for
- having access to which systems and data,
- establishing security clearance levels,
- assigning responsibility for information security,
- developing awareness and training programs,
- conducting risk assessments, and
- creating incident response plans.
Physical controls are designed to protect information systems and data from physical threats such as fire, flooding, power outages, temperature extremes, tampering, and theft. Examples of physical controls are installing firewalls and intrusion detection systems, using physical security devices such as locks and alarms, and establishing environmental controls.
Technical controls protect information systems and data from logical or cyber threats. They include measures such as creating user accounts and passwords, encrypting data, implementing access control lists, and auditing system activity.
Key Components of Information Security Management
The following are the key components of an information security management system:
- Policies and procedures: Establishing clear policies and procedures is essential to protecting sensitive data. The policies should be reviewed regularly and updated to reflect business environment or technology changes.
- Risk assessment: A risk assessment should be conducted periodically to identify potential threats and vulnerabilities. The assessment should consider the type of data, the level of sensitivity, and the potential impact of a security breach.
- Mitigation strategies: Once risks have been identified, mitigation strategies should be implemented to reduce the likelihood or impact of an incident. These may include technical controls, such as firewalls and intrusion detection systems, or organizational measures, such as employee training.
- Monitoring and testing: Information security should be monitored on an ongoing basis to ensure that policies and procedures are followed, and that controls are effective. Regular testing should be conducted to identify weaknesses and vulnerabilities.
The Elements of Security
When it comes to security, there are a few key elements that you need to consider. The most important security elements are deterrence, detection, verification, and reaction (Forsyth, C., 2022).
Information Security Principles
Regarding information security, three key principles must always be kept in mind: confidentiality, integrity, and availability.
- Confidentiality is all about keeping sensitive data safe from prying eyes. This might involve encrypting data at rest or in transit and implementing access controls to ensure only authorized users can view or modify the data.
- Integrity ensures that unauthorized individuals cannot tamper with data. This means ensuring that data has not been altered in any way, either intentionally or accidentally. Integrity also requires that data is complete and accurate.
- Availability means authorized users should be able to access the data they need when needed. This might involve implementing disaster recovery plans to ensure data can still be accessed even in a major outage (Imperva, 2022).
Why Does Information Security Matter?
With the advent of the internet and the interconnectedness of our world, the need to protect our information has never been greater. There are many reasons why information security matters, but the most important are the protection of personal information, business information, and national security.
The Fundamentals of Cybersecurity
As our dependence on technology increases, so does our vulnerability to cyberattacks. Cybersecurity is, therefore, more important than ever before, and it’s something that everyone should be aware of.
So, what exactly is cybersecurity? In short, it protects your devices and online accounts from unauthorized access or theft. This includes ensuring your passwords are strong and unique, using two-factor authentication where possible, and being cautious about the links and attachments you click on.
Why is cybersecurity important? Because data is of prime importance in today’s date and age. A cyberattack can result in the loss of sensitive data, financial damage, and even physical harm. In fact, cybercrime is now one of the most serious threats facing businesses and individuals alike.
Fortunately, you can take some simple steps to protect yourself from becoming a cyberattack victim. These include keeping your software and operating system up to date, using strong passwords, and being careful about the links and attachments you click on. By following these simple tips, you can help keep yourself safe from the growing threat of cybercrime.
Information security is a fundamental piece of online safety. Understanding the basics of information security can help protect yourself and your customers from harm.
Why Choose EC-Council University to Advance Your Cybersecurity Career
EC-Council University’s (ECCU) courses offer students the opportunity to learn about cybersecurity fundamentals and how to protect themselves online. Our online degree and non-degree programs are perfect for those who want to start a career in cybersecurity and create a mark in this domain.
ECCU’s Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security or Online cybersecurity degrees equips students with the relevant fundamental knowledge and skills in cybersecurity management, incident response, and security threat assessments. Benefit from experienced instructors and a curriculum that covers everything from hacking basics to advanced security measures.
CISCO. (2019, October). What Is Information Security (InfoSec)? Cisco. https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/security/what-is-information-security-infosec.html
Forsyth, C. (2022, September 22). The four elements form an effective security system. Blog.detection-Technologies.com. https://blog.detection-technologies.com/the-four-elements-which-form-an-effective-security-system
Imperva. (2022, September 22). What is Information Security | Policy, Principles & Threats? Learning Center. https://www.imperva.com/learn/data-security/information-security-infosec/
About the Author
Ryan Clancy is a writer and blogger. With 5+ years of mechanical engineering experience, he’s passionate about engineering and tech. He also loves bringing engineering (especially mechanical) down to a level everyone can understand. Ryan lives in New York City and writes about everything engineering and tech.