Security Architecture Policies and Standards
The ever-looming threat of cyberattack means that all organizations can benefit from developing and utilizing an enterprise security architecture to create safeguards for the information within their environment, as well as protecting it when it's transmitted to and from third parties. There are many aspects to this architecture - it may include protections such as firewalls or employee training on threats such as phishing - but it all springs up from developing security architecture policies and standards that guide the overall direction of the program.
Those policies and standards are the core of any information security architecture, as they lay out the purpose and mission of the program, as well as give the organization-specific guidance on how to accomplish key security goals. What differentiates security architecture policy from standards? Let's discuss a little bit about each and talk about why they're an essential part of every organization's information security strategy.
Security Architecture Policy
In short, a security architecture policy is a formal statement of the rules that govern an organization's security architecture and those who are given access to its information and technology.
These policies aren't one-size-fits-all and are most effective when they're custom-tailored for each organization. Security architecture policy comes from taking a thorough look at the entire environment in order to determine the various security risks and vulnerabilities that exist, a well as what countermeasures should be taken in order to mitigate those risks and contain them should one turn into a threat.
It's essential that enterprise security architecture policy be endorsed and enforced starting at the top of the organization and moving down through every person who interacts with the environment. This includes non-employees, as well as those who work for the organization. In order to help everyone adhere to the policies that have been put forth, the security architecture team will develop a set of security architecture standards.
Security Architecture Standards
If security architecture policy describes what needs to happen, then security architecture standards explain how it will happen. Security architecture standards are born out of the policy, and they lay out a set of requirements that will allow the organization to implement its policy across the entire enterprise security architecture. The standards help create mechanisms by which the policies are enacted in order to avoid risks, identify threats, and take action should an information security incident occur.
These policies and standards occur in different areas that stretch out across the entire organization. To help organize and manage them, they're laid out as a series of processes that come together to make up a comprehensive enterprise security architecture program. We'll discuss more about security architecture program and processes in our next article.