More Than Rules and Regulations

Information Security—commonly called InfoSec—is one of the most pressing needs for modern organizations. The issue is even more severe today due to vulnerabilities created by COVID-19. In the first quarter of 2020, we saw cloud-based attacks increase by 630% across the board, while phishing attempts were up by 600% as of February’s end.  As cyberthreats increase, firms need to develop dynamic infosec policies to protect both internal data and private customer information.

What is InfoSec?

While Information Security as a concept is a contemporary idea, its fundamentals date back to 100 BC and the development of the Caesar cipher. Also called a shift cipher, Julius Caesar used it to send encrypted messages to his generals in the field. This strategy involved shifting the letters in the alphabet to make messages unreadable without the key. The shift cipher would become a building block for many other complex cryptography methods in the future.

Today, the word InfoSec is primarily used to describe the protection of computer systems and the data contained within. InfoSec is often described as being based in the “CIA triad” of confidentiality, integrity, and availability:

  • Ensuring that information is not disclosed to unauthorized parties
  • Establishing that information is protected from unauthorized changes for its entire life cycle
  • Assuring that data will be accessible for its designated purpose at any time it is needed

InfoSec is an overly broad term and is frequently applied to many different classifications of data—sensitive, classified, intellectual property, or privacy-based information. As a result, there is no single InfoSec process that works for all data. Instead, individual regulatory bodies create rules and restrictions for data specific to an industry or individual.

Rules and Regulations to Know

The list of regulations regarding data security is virtually endless, and many of them are focused on specific industries. However, there are some which are more common for companies to deal with. Here are a few of the more commonly encountered security and privacy regulations:

It’s not uncommon for a business to fall under the purview of multiple security regulations. A good example would be holders of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), who must comply with HIPAA, GLBA and SOX. On top of that, it’s rare that all regulations will apply to all customers of an organization. Sometimes companies will attempt to juggle multiple regulations at the client level, making privacy management even more challenging, but usually an organization will simply apply the most stringent requirements to all of their customers.

In addition, there are a number of security frameworks that an organization’s business customers may expect their vendors to be compliant with—these are but a few of them:

Common Threats to Information Security

Bad actors continually think of new ways to access protected information. Companies and organizations must be aware of these threats and take the appropriate steps to combat these threats before they are breached. This can be a huge challenge in the face of growing data stores and limited budgets, but being prepared for these threats in advance is far easier than recovering from a breach that could have been prevented. Here are some of the most prevalent threats to data today:

This is only a small subset of the myriad InfoSec threats corporations face today, and new ones are being invented every day. With that in mind, methods for preventing attacks on a company’s data must evolve rapidly, just like the threats they defend against.

Managing Information Security More Effectively

The management of information security requires a wide range of knowledge across numerous domains, and the ability to properly frame that knowledge in the larger picture of the business.  Among other things, organizations in today’s world must consider Application Security, Cloud Security, Infrastructure and Network Security, Cryptography, Vulnerability Management, and Incident Response.

This is a small listing of threats firms face today. Some of the biggest threats to come likely haven’t even been invented yet. With that in mind, security methods for preventing data breaches or modification must evolve right along with the risks.

Modern infosec is challenging for many reasons: segmented information storage, numerous disparate regulations, system complexity, and human fallibility, among others. The best way to manage it all is to have a comprehensive security assessment performed, and use the result to prioritize the integration of security tools and processes into applications, software, and infrastructure. This strategy allows for greater control of the flow of information while ensuring access for those who need it, and also allows you to make the greatest improvements upfront with the least effort.

New Context can help you meet your infosec needs with a thorough security assessment and program. See where you stand with our DevSecOps scorecard or contact us at 1.888.773.8360 for more information.

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