Protecting the life cycle of data is critical to your organization’s success. Hackers, malicious insiders, vendors, and employees are all threats to data security.
As such, organizations are getting asked by regulators, auditors, customers, and consumers how data is processed, stored, transmitted, secured, and protected. Organizations often rely on their IT department to have proper controls in place, but information security isn’t just an IT issue—it’s an issue that needs to be addressed across the entire organization.
As your executive management explores the need for stronger effective controls, information security governance should be part of the conversation.
What Is Information Security Governance?
Information security governance is defined as “a subset of enterprise governance that provides strategic direction, ensures that objectives are achieved, manages risk appropriately, uses organizational resources responsibly, and monitors the success or failure of the enterprise security program,” according to the Information Systems Audit and Control Association.
Why Do You Need an Information Security Governance Framework?
While the definition sounds complex, it can be simplified. An information security governance framework helps you prepare for risks or events before they occur by forcing you to continually reevaluate critical IT and business functions through:
- Integrated risk management functions
- Threat and vulnerability analysis
- Data governance and threat protection
- Aligning business strategy with IT strategy
Reactive Versus Proactive
Information security governance also helps an organization move from a reactive approach to cybersecurity to a proactive approach. It allows you to:
- Categorize and mitigate risks and threats
- Prepare an organization for identifying, remediating, and recovering from a cyberattack or breach
- Provide a method for executive leadership to understand their risk posture and maturity levels
- Outline a risk-based approach to the people, systems, and technology that are used every day
What Are the Main Components of Information Security Governance?
There are four main components to the information security governance framework:
Information security should align with business objectives. IT strategic plans need to satisfy the current and future business requirements. The goal of information security governance is to align business and IT strategies with organizational objectives.
Information security governance requires commitment, resources, assignment of responsibilities, and implementation of policies and procedures that address the controls within a chosen framework. Buy-in from senior management and above is critical to the implementation of the program.
It’s important that adequate resources are in place, projects that align with your overall strategy are deployed, and operational and technology risks are addressed and mitigated to appropriate levels.
Metrics and monitoring help document the effectiveness of the program, provide information to help management make decisions, address any compliance issues, and establish information security controls with a more proactive approach.
Aligning your organization’s information security governance framework with an IT security and governance framework such as the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, ISO 27001, COBIT Internal Control Framework, Federal Information Security Management Act, or HITRUST CSF helps identify the necessary controls that need to be implemented and managed for IT security. Information security governance works in conjunction with these frameworks to enhance current security posture.
Once aligned with an information security framework or standard, the organization can fully develop the controls to adequately protect sensitive data and systems. The framework establishes and maintains a model that provides an organization with a standardized structure that’s comprehensive and continually improving information security.
We’re Here to Help
With the dependence upon information and technology, along with threats from attackers and malicious insiders, it’s more important than ever for senior management and boards to have insight into the cybersecurity controls employed to protect an organization’s assets. Implementing an information security governance framework can provide the information needed for management and board of directors to make well-informed decisions on the overall information security strategy for the organization.
To learn more about how an information security governance framework could benefit your organization, contact your Moss Adams professional.