What is a Security Program?
A cyber security program is a documented set of your organization's information security policies, procedures, guidelines, and standards. Your security program should provide a roadmap for effective security management practices and controls. Having a strong security program helps your organization ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of your client and customer information, as well as other private data.
Security Program Purpose
A security program provides a documented set of your organization's cyber security policies, procedures, guidelines, and standards. Your information security program ensures the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of your client and customer data through effective security management practices and controls. Security programs are critical to proactively protecting data while maintaining compliance with both regulatory and customer requirements.
Today, the risk of security incidents and potential breaches is higher than ever before. Breaches affect large numbers of financial organizations, healthcare organizations, public-sector entities, and organizations of every industry. Effectively maintained and adaptable security programs can mitigate these risks and respond to incidents quickly.
Protect Your Data with a Strong Information Security Program
Whether or not you deal with sensitive data such as customer financial information or healthcare information, your organization could be targeted by an attack. Your own financial records, critical information, or other confidential data could be an attractive target for attackers as the information they could potentially sell or manipulate in other ways to make a profit. Regardless of your organization's size or the type of data that you handle, your responsibility is to mitigate the risk of having it lost, altered, or stolen.
Your information security program will establish the policies and processes that you'll use to protect your information. Program areas such as incident management plan, enterprise security architecture, and threat and vulnerability management are a few components that will help you understand where your data lives in your environment and what processes and technology solutions are in place to protect it. Thorough security program development will help you identify additional program areas your organization needs to stay on top of risks.
Measure Your Security Program Maturity
Understanding the current state of your security program environment is the first step to effective security.
The Foundation of a Healthy Information Security Program
A well-built information security program will have multiple components and sub-programs to ensure that your organization's security efforts align to your business objectives. The four characteristics of a successful security program should make up the foundation of your security program development efforts:
- Establish a benchmark for security. Security should be defined in your environment through your security policies, standards, program, and process documentation. Your benchmark is the current state of your information security program, which will be what you measure against in the future.
- Measure against the benchmark. As your organization conducts assessments, you should measure against the initial benchmark to see how effective changes to your security program are.
- Enable informed decision-making. Your security program should have an effective communication system in place to provide vital information to key stakeholders and members of your organization's management. The system should relay the results of your measurements and other information they need to make informed decisions about your security program.
- Support the execution of decisions. Once organizational leadership has made a decision, your security program should enter an execution state. Begin the security projects that have been approved, and regularly track the progress and results.
Components of a Successful Security Program
The individual components and sub-programs of your information security program will vary based on your organization's objectives and regulatory requirements. As you undertake your security program development efforts, there are certain components and documentation that your security program should include such as your framework, charter, policies, processes, and a way to measure these.
Each security program component and its corresponding documentation should be applied to specific domains. Different domains include information security governance, risk management, compliance, incident management, and other sub-programs that your organization identifies as a priority. Your information security program should be tailored to your specific organization.
Your framework acts as the foundation for your organization. Often derived from best practices, regulatory requirements, and industry-specific certifications, your framework should be customized to meet your organization's goals and needs.
Your charter is an organizationally-approved document that defines how your security program will work in the context of the overall organization, with things such as scope, mission, mandate, and other things.
These define how your organization will address security issues. Policies are derived from your requirements and establish the standards and guidelines for your program.
Your processes are the procedures that ensure your security program is both repeatable and efficient. This document will help you identify the business rules, roles and responsibilities, and tools your organization will use to perform security activities.
This is one of the most important security program components. Measuring how your program is performing in your environment will help you determine what improvements need to be made.
Secure Your Environment
Start taking the steps to establishing a better security program for your environment.
Learn More About Other Security Program Elements