Information security (IS) is, quite simply the process of protecting data. While for the most part the term is used to describe the measures and methods of increasing computer security, it does in fact refer to the protection of any type of computer system data that is considered important. This could include someone’s personal diary or an organisation’s payroll details.
When we talk about data protection, we mean its confidentiality, its integrity, its authenticity and its availability. Information security aims to manage these elements so as to protect the system in question from those with malicious intentions.
The increasing popularity of things like shared networks, mobile devices and cloud computing all contribute to an organisation’s level of vulnerability. While no system is completely safe from attack, employing different means of information security can significantly lower the risk and minimise any consequences of a data breach.
Even the simplest steps can help to prevent a system from being compromised. For example, using password protection for each and every device as well as for individual accounts and files, instantly limits access to valuable data and increases system security. As does installing security software such as antivirus and malware protection, though these must be updated regularly.
Implementing a cohesive policy is also a worthwhile task, though its effectiveness will depend on employees’ awareness of the rules and regulations put in place, and their own individual roles in protecting company data.
This latter point falls under security literacy – an area growing in prevalence as more organisations realise the consequence of unnecessary and avoidable human error.
Aside from all the basic steps that can be taken to help improve your information security, it is also recommended having a professional security firm come and assess your network and systems to see if there are any further precautions worth taking.
The reason that information security is so important for businesses is because even the slightest blip can result in disastrous consequences if gone unnoticed or ignored. All it takes is a single piece of important data to fall into the wrong hands and an entire organisation can become compromised. Be it customers’ bank details or confidential correspondence between employees – data is an asset that can be used to extort and defame. So keeping it safe should be of paramount importance for any organisation.