What Are the Three Main Pillars of Information Security?

An Information Security Management System is designed to give your organisation a framework that protects your information assets against security threats. 

The three main pillars of information security are people, processes and technology. Each is just as important as the next, however people are the most vulnerable pillar of any ISMS. Processes are the second most susceptible pillar. Technology is the firmest pillar, as IT professionals pay the most attention to it. Within the technology pillar there are three important elements: confidentiality, integrity and availability.

The ISO 27001 standard references human resource security as one of their criteria. It’s one of the best practices for securing information. Our teams can tell you about the best practises for improving your business. We also help with meeting the ISO 27001 certification requirements. Let’s first look at the three pillars of an effective ISMS in depth. 

People

A crucial step in preventing and reducing cyber threats is ensuring that all your staff understand their cybersecurity role. Your team needs to be aware of company policies to mitigate and respond to cyber risks. They also need to know how to identify possible phishing attempts. Your people should always be mindful of the importance of using only secured and company-approved devices. Communicate any new processes for handling sensitive data to all staff. 

Ensure that your IT and cybersecurity staff have the latest skills and qualifications. They should be competent and carry out a regular risk assessment. They should also be able to install new processes and security solutions, lessening the chance of cyber attacks. Security staff should communicate any new security measure to all employees, as well as warn of identified cyber risks.

People - What Are the Three Main Pillars of Information Security? Blog | Best Practice Australia

Processes

A company’s processes refer to activities, roles and documentation. These are the procedures that the organisation uses to ensure and track cybersecurity. You need to constantly review and update strategies to deal with any new cyber threat. Which types of documentation are used to mitigate a cyber threat? Confidentiality agreements, appointment letters and company procedures all serve this purpose. 

For information security, the activities refer to how a company conducts its business. Do employees connect personal devices to the network? What about workers that complete work at home from an unsecured server and network? What measures ensuring that information remains secure does the company take? These examples are all process-related activities. 

Employees’ roles relate to specific people’s appointment to carry out security tasks. Conducting risk assessments is an example of this. Approving new processes is another vital role. Communicating changes to fellow employees is also essential. Appoint a member of your cybersecurity team to run security awareness campaigns. Conduct or arrange staff training to ensure compliance with company processes. Non-compliance with procedures invalidates the entire ISMS, regardless of how good it is. 

Technology

Cybersecurity and IT professionals make use of technology to meet three goals:

  • Confidentiality: Confidentiality refers to preventing unauthorised persons or programs from accessing information. You need to restrict physical access to computers, laptops and servers. Once you’ve done this, you still need technology to limit remote access as well. Encryption programs, password and PIN protections on mobile devices can achieve this. Biometric authentication is another method to keep the information confidential. 
  • Integrity: Data integrity refers to prevention measures. You need to protect data, programs and operating systems from modification or corruption. Buggy programs affect productivity. A malicious program can use this software to access confidential data. Antivirus programs and firewalls help maintain data integrity. Programs that restrict access to sensitive files or operations also contribute. Employee education and awareness of unsafe acts are also crucial.
  • Availability: Preventing data integrity loss provides availability. But there is more to it than that. You also need to manage your hardware configurations and any changes made to these. 

Conclusion

The key to achieving a successful ISMS is to adhere to the three pillars of information security. Conduct your risk assessment. Once you have identified the cyber risks, put your strategy in place. Appoint the right people. Educate the masses and adjust your processes to meet the threat. Utilise modern technology to minimise the risks. 

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