As data breaches continue to rise, information security has become increasingly critical. An Information Security Assessment is a crucial step in comprehending your organization’s level of readiness and maturity. It uncovers security gaps and the associated risks and recommends mitigation strategies, concentrating on your overall business environment instead of specific controls or processes.
Does my organization need an Information Security Assessment?
Security assessments are often required by government and industry regulations such as The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI), The Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), The International Organization for Standardization (ISO), etc. Even if these regulations don’t apply to your specific geographic location, chances are you can still benefit from having a third party identify ways to enhance your security practices and procedures.
What are the benefits of conducting an Information Security Assessment?
Regular assessments help organizations adapt to new threats, boost employee awareness, and can expose evidence of an existing threat. The recommendations resulting from a security assessment can help organizations to develop a comprehensive security strategy.
How to derive the most value from an Information Security Assessment
Identify the required scope
Security assessments vary from organization to organization. Market pressures, infrastructure, culture, risk tolerance – these can impact the organization in several ways so it is important that key decision makers agree on the scope prior to conducting the assessment. Below are some questions you may consider helping outline the scope:
- Will this assessment be an all inclusive, top-down evaluation concentrating on all areas?
- Should the assessment team focus on specific areas, such as certain security policies and procedures?
As an outcome of an Information Security Assessment, organizations receive a security roadmap, a detailed evaluation of existing security controls, a set of next steps, and a timetable based on risk and priority.
Your assessment team will request documentation referencing existing processes, security policies, guidelines and standards. These documents will help them understand your organization’s current state, help frame discussions during the assessment, and identify gaps.
Here are some examples of documents and that are necessary for an effective security assessment:
Policies and procedures to inventory and track Devices and Software
Vulnerability Assessment and Remediation Practices
Configuration Management and Change Control processes
Security Awareness and Training Practices
Application Software Security
Patch Management Processes
Network Access Polices
The interview process – getting to know the organization
An effective assessment depends on having accurate knowledge of your organization’s environment. The assessment team will need to conduct interviews with key staff in the organization to understand what technologies and practices exist, what high-level controls are in place, and how processes are being followed. Interview questions can vary, as typically they are quite technical in nature and unique to your organization.
Security Outlook – The importance of being prepared
Technology is evolving, but so are threats. Attackers are growing progressively more sophisticated and adopting new techniques. Regardless of industry and size, organizations are very likely to be targeted, at some point, by an attacker. Safeguarding against threats is not easy, given business complexity and budget limitations. Understanding how systems, applications, data, storage devices, and communication mechanisms relate to each other helps organizations allocate resources optimally. In this way, an Information Security Assessment can help by providing executive management and leadership teams with a clear picture of what’s in place, what’s working, and what’s not.
With cybercrime and data breaches not to mention phishing expeditions or ransomware are on the rise, organizations often struggle to find the right strategy for implementing effective information security controls and achieving business objectives of cost reduction and agility.
Recognizing this challenge, Litcom has developed an innovative approach to conducting an Information Security Health Check that will assist organizations to assess their readiness to face today’s threats as well as evaluating the effectiveness and adequacy of existing controls measured against industry leading practices.
Litcom’s Information Security Health Check includes the evaluation of critical elements of the client’s information security practices:
- Is your organization missing the opportunity to leverage emerging technologies like cloud services due to the lack of confidence in your security function?
Security Management and Governance
- Is an information security organization and governance framework defined to enable execution of the organization’s strategy?
- Are the required processes in place?
Privacy and Compliance
- Is compliance achieved in a cost-effective matter?
- Are the organization’s systems secure and are their security tools effectively utilized?
Contact Litcom today for more information!