In the arena of IT, there’s no such thing as an end destination. Information tech is constantly evolving, growing, and adapting to new advances in technology as well as potential threats.
Because of this, data security is enmeshed within a cycle known as the information security lifecycle. It’s a way of viewing processes so as to mitigate any potential risks your vital information could encounter.
Identify Your Data and Assets
The first step in the information security lifecycle is to identify what data has to be protected. You can’t simply declare “everything” and call it a day.
You must ensure proper mapping of your network, starting with high-level information and narrowing down to the other materials. This can be done with a thorough audit of your data.
Study such facets as your server, physical assets, and all the applications your company uses. Conduct interviews with various departments to understand what their specific systems are and how they employ various software throughout their daily activities.
Assess the Risks
Once you know what you have to protect, you can assess which potential risks might threaten your operations. This can be an extensive process that requires the help of a professional security team that knows all the threats your data could undergo.
Knowing where all your vulnerabilities are will help to identify the necessary IT security measures that have to be taken, and in the best places.
Design Solutions and Implementation
The solutions necessary to protect your data will require a unique design based upon your risk assessment. These will consist of such tools as security layering through firewalls and multi-factor authentication procedures, compliance, policies, security products, and other procedures.
Once you’ve finalized a blueprint for your security measures, you’re ready to implement them. This shouldn’t be the sole responsibility of your IT department or security team.
Every team member of your firm ought to be involved in this process because it will have a direct impact on how they conduct their work.
Monitor and Reassess
As much as you’d love for everything to function flawlessly, no data security system may be launched and left to run unattended. This is why we refer to it as a lifecycle.
Data security measures have to be regularly monitored and reassessed. As mentioned above, security threats from cyber-attacks evolve constantly.
What works now might not do the job in the future. The information security lifecycle regularly returns to the first step where you must identify your data and assets.
You probably have new employees, new clients, or new documents and data that have gathered and necessitate evaluation of your assets.
Why Information Security is Crucial
According to a survey conducted by PWC, 64% of CEOs declared the way their firm will manage data will be a “key differentiator for them in the coming years.” Not only does this make sense to protect customers, employees, and the company at large, but it will also help to generate revenue.
The more customers may trust your operation to take responsibility for holding and managing their personal and financial data, the more likely they’ll become and remain returning customers. The higher your client retention, the more revenue you can anticipate, obviously.
Many other privacy regulations are factors if you work with individuals outside of the United States. The EU developed its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2016.
That became the legal framework that sets regulation guidelines for the collection and processing of personal information for residents of the European Union. Although there are no federal data privacy laws that approximate the GDPR in the U.S., there’s a U.S. Privacy Act that specifically focuses on data held by U.S. government agencies.
To be compliant with these privacy laws and to protect sensitive data from cyber attacks, your company likely needs to focus more of its attention on information security.