Security Architecture Policies and Standards
The constant threat of cyberattack means that all organizations benefit from developing and utilizing an enterprise security architecture to establish safeguards for protecting sensitive information within the environment as well as with third-parties. There are many aspects to this architecture — it can include protections such as firewalls or employee training on threats such as phishing — but security architecture policies and standards are the foundations that guide the direction of the program.
These policies and standards are the core of any security program's 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. But what differentiates security architecture policy from standards?
Security Architecture Policy
In short, a security architecture policy is a formal statement of the rules that govern an organization's security architecture and the roles that have access and responsibility in maintaining 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 assessing the entire environment to determine applicable risks and vulnerabilities as well as what countermeasures should be taken in order to mitigate and contain these risks.
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 based on the policy statements and they lay out a set of requirements that show how the organization implements these policies. The standards help create mechanisms by which the policies are enacted in order to avoid risks, identify threats, and take action in the event of an incident.
These policies and standards apply to different areas of the security program 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.