What are Information Security Risks & How Can an ISMS Control Them?
In today’s digitally advanced era, what concerns most businesses is the prevention of data breaches or cyber thefts that is crucial to hold their clients’ as well as stakeholders’ confidence in them.
With the evolution of digital and IT (information technology) solutions, internet connectivity, and cloud-based services, most business data is processed, stored, or exchanged in appropriate information management devices or systems. Technological adaption was necessary for faster communication and easier exchange of information which consecutively had aided in the ability to make more informed decisions and faster and more efficient delivery of services or products. Now it is the responsibility of the organization to ensure that their valuable information, including client data, is well protected while operating all their technology-based solutions. Protecting all of your information from threats is possible with a number of comprehensive tools or frameworks. The ISO 27001 certification is an efficient way to validate the practices of the information security management system or ISMS for an organization.
ISO 27001 is a certification standard that establishes the requirements for an ISMS which helps businesses in identifying risks, and managing or mitigating them to secure the confidentiality of their crucial information assets.
While ISO 27001 is the globally-recognized standard for ISMS which helps organizations to protect their assets from security threats, the big question is—what are the threats?
What are Information Security Threats?
There are widespread threats related to information security and ISO 27001 ISMS helps to cover all of them. Common vulnerabilities range from insider threats to persistent external threats. Some of them are:
One of the key insider threats is the misuse of access to restricted devices or systems by the authorized persons. It is usually intentional and the members of organizations who do that have deceitful motives behind their actions and want to damage the reputation of the organization.
Sometimes, employees who are careless about organization’s security policies or rules often cause this kind of insider threat. They may unintentionally share some customer information with an external agent, click on spam or phishing links, or share their login details with unauthorized persons.
Failure of IT infrastructure or information management systems can cause data loss and that is considered a serious threat. There may be a number of reasons for infrastructure failure such as electrical breakdown, loss of internet connectivity, vandalization of the company’s building, or malfunctioning of computers or other devices. All of these threats cause have the potential to result in loss of crucial business information for an indefinite time.
Viruses and Phishing Attacks
Viruses are malicious software programs or files unethically passed onto computer devices or information systems and cause destruction of information stored in them. Viruses are like code that replicates itself to another system or device but remains dormant until activated. They get activated when a user unintentionally clicks or open the program. Viruses can be passed to an organization’s information systems through external sources (i.e. files or links shared by third-parties) and can be activated without the knowledge of employees or system administrators.
Phishing attacks are external information security threats being attempted by hackers to trick organizations into breaking their confidentiality by violating security rules. Most often, hackers send out deceiving emails that seem to be from legitimate sources and get users to click on some links or share personal information through the e-mails. Those links result in installation of malware into the organization’s devices and can help hackers to get access to the sensitive information stored in them.
All these malicious cyber attacks remain the key cause behind information breaches in organization, accounting for more than half of the cases.
All of these threats or risks are real even for organizations that use the most advanced information systems or devices, however, implementing an ISMS can help them better protect their information assets.
How ISMS Helps in Controlling Information Security Risks
An ISMS is a comprehensive management system that establishes practices or procedures required to manage information security risks and safeguard an organization’s valuable information assets.
However, without achieving compliance with ISO 27001, an ISMS may be less effective in controlling risks. This ISO standard specifies the fundamental requirements to build, implement, and manage an ISMS.
Here is how an ISMS compliant with ISO 27001 can help assure information security.
• A well-structured ISMS covers and manages all sources of information including software, technical devices, physical infrastructure, employees, and even suppliers.
• ISMS defines rules or guidelines for employees, suppliers, and other related business agents regarding how to secure their information and what measures to take in case they are at risks.
• An ISO compliant ISMS puts greater focus on risk management and demands organizations have specific processes for risk identification and recovery. Risk identification includes assessing all information systems, devices, and installed software for potential threats, determining the sources of threats, as well as measuring the damage and chances of risks to occur. Appropriate risk assessment is the key to implement effective controls for preventing the risks.
• The functions of an ISMS are based on specific information security policies of the organization which are communicated to every member or employee. So everyone across the organization is hence accountable for obeying the policies and help to maintain information security consistently.
• A properly implemented ISMS must perform efficiently and also needs to be reviewed for any room for improvement. It should be updated to incorporate new practices or rules that align with the organization’s growth and technological developments.
Information security threats are not just threats to your organization’s operations or reputation. They are real threats to your clients, suppliers, employees, or anyone who shares their confidential data with you. Hence, it is obligatory for you to move to the next level in the matter of information security and get a robust, all-inclusive ISMS implemented. Achieving the ISO 27001 certification is the next crucial step needed to reassure your ISMS’s potential to the stakeholders.
If you need any help regarding the implementation of ISMS and achieving compliance with the ISO 27001 standard, Compliancehelp Consulting LLC can help you. We are a team of expert consultants and would like to strengthen your information security via our certification services.