Top 3 Components of a Healthy Security Program

There’s a lot of moving parts to a security program, and trying to keep track of what’s important and what isn’t can quickly become overwhelming.

Although there are lots of things to consider when you’re building, retrofitting, or managing an existing security program, there are three main components that to any healthy information security program:

1. The structure of the security program.

The way your security program is structured is important to establishing the foundation of the entire program.

Will there be one security officer for the whole organization or one for each business unit? What are the scope of the program, its mission and mandate, and overall roles and responsibilities?

In most organizations, the structure of the security program will be written out in the information security program charter document, as well as in the security governance section of an organization’s security policies.

2. The functional capability of the security program.

One of the most important security program components, regardless of its structure, is its ability to repeatably perform four core functions:

Read: Learn more about security programs and the core components of how to develop them.

a) Set a benchmark for security.

  • The benchmark is established through a suite of security policies, standards, as well as program and process documentation.
  • Your benchmark will serve as a point of measurement for any future changes, and to identify any gaps in future security efforts.

b) Measure against your benchmark.

  • Establish processes to consistently measure your security environment against the benchmark.
  • Utilize an effective risk management program to measure the environment and identify any areas that need your attention.

c) Enable management decisions.

  • Any reports you generate should involve data and information gathered from your measurements against the benchmark.
  • Dashboards and meetings will enable management to make informed decisions.

d) Support the execution of decisions.

  • Your security program should support the performance of security-specific tasks.
  • The program should also help the business implement any security remediation activities as needed.

3. Establish and manage the security architecture for the organization.

Security architecture in an organization is the people, process, and technical safeguards that either prevent potential incidents from occurring (preventive safeguards) or detect if they have occurred (detective safeguards).

An example of preventive safeguards is a lock on the door or password to get into a system, while an example of a detective safeguard is a video monitoring system or logging of access to an application.

Why Utilize these Security Program Components?

Your security program is meant to manage and measure how effective any existing safeguards are, and to ensure that they’re appropriate for your environment.

Actively measuring and managing risk will identify any gaps in the data, which enables CISOs to provide management with the information they need to make informed decisions.

If you have any questions and need support with building a healthy information security program, contact us.