What is an Information Security Plan? (Definition)
An information security plan is a document where a firm’s plan and procedures for protecting personal information and sensitive company data are documented in. This document helps your company to safeguard the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of its data while also mitigating threats.
An information security plan usually includes the scope of the plan, the classification of all the information involved, management goals in case of a security breach.
It also provides the context for your information security plan, provides specific instructions regarding the plan of action in emergencies, complete with individual responsibilities and consequences of non-compliance, and provides access or references to related or supporting documents.
A strategic plan for information security can help a company minimize, transfer, accept, or prevent information risk connected to people, processes, and technologies. A well-defined plan also aids the company inadequately protecting information’s confidentiality, integrity, and availability.
Benefits of Writing an Information Security Plan
A successful information security plan has considerable economic benefits and can provide a competitive advantage. Complying with industry standards, preventing a damaging security incident, maintaining the company’s reputation, and upholding commitments to shareholders, customers, partners, and suppliers are just a few examples.
However, an information security plan mainly provides three major benefits, commonly referred to as CIA:
An information security plan plays an important role in protecting the privacy of company information and content by preventing unauthorized users from obtaining it.
Access limits help to retain confidentiality. Human error, intentional sharing, or malicious intrusion can all lead to breaches of confidentiality.
This vital document ensures the accuracy and validity of your data. The capacity to alter or modify information is restricted, and that helps to retain integrity.
When analog information isn’t protected from the elements, digital information isn’t conveyed properly, or users make unapproved changes, integrity is lost.
Having an information security plan in place helps you ensure that authorized users can access information with confidence. Continuity of access processes, data backup or duplication, and hardware and network connectivity upkeep all contribute to availability.
When networks are assaulted due to natural disasters, or when client devices fail, availability might be lost.
Now that you know the benefits of writing an information security plan, let’s go over the steps involved in writing one!
How to Write an Information Security Plan? Follow these steps:
Follow these steps to ensure your information security plan is thorough and fits your company’s needs:
Step 1. Create a Security Team
The first step is to put together a dependable team. Without the people to execute the plan, there isn’t much a plan can do on its own.
Organize a team that is solely focused on information security. They’ll be in charge of developing and executing your policy, as well as responding to an ever-changing panorama of cybersecurity threats, defining risk thresholds, and even coordinating funding.
Make sure that your team knows their stuff and is constantly updated about all the things that are happening, both in your organization and in the fast-evolving world of cyber security.
Step 2. Evaluate Security Risks, Threats, and Vulnerabilities
Examine how your existing system is vulnerable to threats to get a sense of the situation. What does your data consist of? Where is it stored, and how can it be compromised?
Look out for and make note of flaws, such as outdated software and inadequate training, and test your system to ensure it is operating as it should and doesn’t have loopholes or gaps that can be taken advantage of.
Step 3. Identify Current Protective Measures
Assess how well your present system protects your data and that of your clients, as well as the scope for any improvements you can make.
Security features in your business software, physical security such as guarded access, and procedural procedures such as having representatives log out while leaving a computer are all useful safeguards to have in place.
Make sure the security measures that you already have in place are enforced and do not get ignored as time passes. Remind your employees and other stakeholders of the importance of these protective measures.
Step 4. Conduct a Cyber Risk Analysis
Examine the impact of cybersecurity issues and breaches on your company. Would a breach put the company’s operations on hold? Would damage control be required? Are you in a position to take care of these damage control procedures? What about regulatory penalties?
Determine which elements are linked to the cybersecurity dangers that your company faces. Make note of these issues so you can create an information security plan that fits your needs and requirements as an organization.
Step 5. Conduct Risk Assessment
While it’s important to keep an eye on internal risks, third-party providers can also be dangerous. Check that their policies and procedures are in compliance with your information security plan at least once a year.
Make a list of requirements that potential partners must meet in order to work with your company. The essentials, such as System and Organization Controls (SOC) II compliance, should be included on this list and turned into regular policy.
Step 6. Manage and Classify Data Assets
If you don’t know what you have, you can’t protect it.
Identify and categorize your assets based on variables such as the vulnerability of the information, the mediums of access and the people who can access it, and storage needs for that particular kind of information.
This classification data is used to design rules and procedures that account for the relative risk and handling requirements of various assets.
Step 7. Determine Regulatory Standards
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has several requirements that financial institutions must follow. These include stringent documentation requirements as well as a variety of measures for safeguarding client confidentiality and minimizing risk.
Depending on where you are located and based on the work you do, keep in mind the requirements and standards that relevant regulatory boards and institutions expect.
Examine the regulations and determine which ones apply to your company. You should also think about what your stakeholders require.
Step 8. Develop a Compliance Plan
Following the identification of regulatory requirements, you’ll need to create an information security plan in compliance with it that also fits your needs.
These two will rarely ever clash and in fact, regulatory board requirements often help cover elements in an information security plan that you may have missed out on in the other stages of planning.
Outline how you’ll meet regulatory requirements and your own organization’s needs and gather all of the required paperwork.
Step 9. Create Disaster Recovery and Incident Management Plans
Begin developing your reaction strategy once you’ve evaluated your needs and hazards. Make a detailed outline of the procedure so that your team can respond to cybersecurity breaches in a calm and orderly manner.
Include diverse departments, third parties, and clients in your plan so that everyone can do their bit to remedy the breach. This is the most important stage of creating an information security plan as all the previous stages lead up to this point where you make the actual plan.
Step 10. Train and Evaluate Employees
Employees are a great asset in the fight against cyber threats, but if they aren’t properly trained, they can also end up becoming a threat. So, once your plan is in place you need to make sure your team knows how to execute it.
It is necessary to organize ongoing training for staff and personnel and test them on a regular basis to ensure they understand what to look for and how to deal with any issues that they find.
You are now fully equipped to write a well-structured information security plan. But before you go, we’d like to introduce you to a tool that helps you create information security plans in a jiffy!
The world has become more security conscious, and that awareness extends to laboratories. New guidelines and approaches, driven by legislation and regulation— to say nothing of common sense—are promulgated every year. A laboratory security system is put in place to mitigate a number of risks and is complementary to existing laboratory security policies. In very broad terms, laboratory safety keeps people safe from chemicals, and laboratory security keeps chemicals safe from people. This chapter is intended to provide the reader with an overview of laboratory security concerns and to raise awareness of the issue. Risks to laboratory security include
theft or diversion of chemicals, biologicals, and radioactive or proprietary materials (such materials could be stolen from the laboratory, diverted or intercepted in transit between supplier and laboratory, at a loading dock, or at a stockroom, and then sold or used, directly or as precursors, in weapons or manufacture of illicit substances);
theft or diversion of mission-critical or high-value equipment;
threats from activist groups;
intentional release of, or exposure to, hazardous materials;
sabotage or vandalism of chemicals or high-value equipment;
loss or release of sensitive information; and
rogue work or unauthorized laboratory experimentation.
The type and extent of the security system needed depend on several factors, including
known and recognized threats gleaned from the experience of other laboratories, institutions, or firms;
history of theft, sabotage, vandalism, or violence directed at or near the laboratory, institution, or firm;
presence of valuable or desirable materials, equipment, technology, or information;
intelligence regarding groups or individuals who pose a general threat to the discipline or a specific threat to the institution;
regulatory requirements or guidance;
concerns regarding information security; and
the culture and mission of the institution.
A good laboratory security system should, among other things, increase overall safety for laboratory personnel and the public, improve emergency preparedness by assisting with preplanning, and lower the organization’s liability.
There are four integrated domains to consider when improving security of a facility:
physical or architectural security—doors, walls, fences, locks, barriers, controlled roof access, and cables and locks on equipment;
electronic security—access control systems, alarm systems, password protection procedures, and video surveillance systems;
operational security—sign-in sheets or logs, control of keys and access cards, authorization procedures, background checks, and security guards; and
information security—passwords, backup systems, shredding of sensitive information.
These domains are complementary, and each should be considered when devising security protocols. Any security system should incorporate redundancy to prevent failure in the event of power loss or other environmental changes.
Security systems should help
detect a security breach, or a potential security breach, including intrusion or theft;
delay criminal activity by imposing multiple layered barriers of increasing stringency or “hardening” in the form of personnel and access controls; and
respond to a security breach or an attempt to breach security.
Physical and Electronic Security
There are many systems available for physical and electronic laboratory security. The choice and implementation depends on the level of security needed and resources available. The following sections provide some examples, although new technologies are always under development.
The concept of concentric circles of protection, as shown in , is useful when considering a laboratory’s physical security. Physical and electronic security begins at the perimeter of the building and becomes increasingly more stringent as one moves toward the interior area (e.g., at the intervention zone), where sensitive material, equipment, or technology reside. Note that although physical measures are implemented in the intervention zones, electronic and operational security measures are implemented only under certain conditions, depending on need.
10.B.1.1. Door Locks
Within a laboratory, perhaps the most obvious form of security is the door lock. There are many choices available, including
Traditional locks with regular keys (which are subject to duplication, loss, theft, and failure to return after access) should no longer be utilized in areas where dual-use materials are located.
Traditional locks with keys marked “Do Not Duplicate” have the same drawbacks as above, but may be less likely to be duplicated.
Cipher locks with an alpha or numeric keypad may be vulnerable to thieves who are able to deduce the access code from the appearance of the keys. Access codes should be changed from the factory default when the lock is installed.
High-security cores are difficult to break into and to duplicate.
Card access (dip locks) traditionally have data-logging capabilities that allow those with access to security records to identify which cards were used to gain access.
Card access (swipe cards). These provide a transaction record and can be programmed for different levels and times of access.