Information Technology Security for Business Data Assets

Introduction

Information technology security in organizations has been a top priority for established businesses and start-up executives alike. Data privacy is essential to a firm’s operational success, both in terms of securing competitive advantage and protecting the customers’ personal information. As stated in the instructions, the assignment is written from the standpoint of the Information Security Strategy representative, who aims to optimize and secure the organization’s data assets. The position of the Chief Information Security Officer in an organization generally entails a variety of functions, and different qualifications are required to perform the role up to due standard. This paper examines the responsibilities and competencies of the CISO positions, as well as the accountability functions, security assurances and processes of implementing the security functions into organizational process. Furthermore, it comments on the role of the digital forensics in the cybersecurity operational processes and the technical resources digital forensics requires.

CISO Functions

The Chief Information Security Officer, commonly referred to as CISO, is the ultimate protector of the data privacy in the organizational context. They are commonly responsible for establishing and navigating the cyber risks of common operations, as well as facilitating the safe environment and protecting the existing data from informational theft. The three main functions of the position can be identified as risk and compliance management, technical operations, and vendor communication.

Risk and compliance management may be characterized as the most general key role of the CISO, as its specifics depend heavily on the organization’s nature of operations and overall capacity. It involves monitoring the organization’s security protocol and ensuring it meets the local legal requirements of the country of operation. Particularly when a firm operates on an international level, a CISO must engage in compliance management and policy adaption. In certain cases, such as the varying GDPR regulations, the compliance management entails significant corporate expenses. Consecutively, a CISO has to balance the security interests with the financial well-being of the company.

The technical operations side of the CISO responsibilities involves carrying out the running check-ups of computing systems, vulnerability tests, data scans, and web application security risk assessments. Given their managerial position in an organization, CISO is expected to delegate the emerging tasks in the data security department on a technical level (Karanja, 2017). This includes ensuring all the necessary equipment is functioning as intended, as well as identifying early security threats and data breaches. Since the latter are in the majority of cases caused by a human error, at least to some capacity, CISO’s technical operations function overlaps with the HR management. CISO might be an organization’s point of contact for educating and training the firm’s employees on the topic of the latest cyber security protocols and regulations.

Finally, vendor communication involves navigating the relationships between the different departments within the company and the third parties it is partnering with. In particular when corporate secrets and private information on the firm’s chief stakeholders is concerned, the partnering third parties might act as a threat to the firm’s cybersecurity (Karanja, 2017). Thus, a CISO navigates the official partnerships with the third parties on the external level, as well as reports on the subject of cyber security to the Board of Directors on the internal level.

CISO Competencies

A successful CISO is in need of possessing a wide variety of organizational, scientific, and interpersonal skills to ensure the firm’s data assets are being protected up to the highest standard possible. However, for the purposes of this assignment the three key competencies were selected as the essential requirements for a person to be qualified for a position. These competencies include discretion, strategical thinking, and risk management.

As the head of the cyber security department, a CISO is required to be discrete, ensuring the organizational processes and latest commercial innovations of the firm are protected from its competitors and the general public. The element of surprise is often a requirement for corporate projects and tactical maneuvers to work, and their efficiency becomes severely compromised when it’s removed. This factor aside, CISO’s commitment to discretion determines the firm’s performance on the front of the cyber security at large (Knowels et al., 2017). It is important to consider the recent increase in the online crime, and the ransomware offenses targeting the valuable. Evidently, the position of CISO today involves navigating multi-layered and delicate issues in the areas of trade secrets and contract compliance.

Strategical understanding is required of CISO to ensure that the firm’s data protection and cyber security procedures do not contradict the direct commercial interests and the general direction of the firm. Ideally, since CISO is often engaged in policy development and policy testing, their understanding of the company’s priorities should be aligned with those of the other top managers (Knowels et al., 2017). Despite the somewhat isolated position of the cyber security department, caused by its IT nature and lack of connection to profitability, an effective CISO should possess an accurate strategical understanding.

Finally, risk management is the pillar competency that ensures a CISO’s efficiency in their functions outlined above: compliance management, technical operations, and vendor communication. With the digitalization of the majority of important business processes and data sets, the cyber security systems are usually the main focus point of the corporate protection mechanisms. Yet for many industries the image of an over-secretive firm with endless regulations is contradictive to their brand name and the qualities that consumers and other stakeholders associate with it. Thus, a CISO is constantly walking a fine line between ensuring the data privacy to the largest possible degree and decreasing the security intensity somewhat in favor of a better brand image. As a result, good understanding of balance, risk and managerial qualities are required for a candidate to be successful at this job.

Accountability Functions

Accountability in cyber security concerns transparency with data protection operations and IT system applications in the employee’s daily usage. Functionally it involves every individual working with an information system, tasking them with a role in the informational assurance. According to the EBK guideline, accountability principle further elaborates on the CISO functions, including design, implementation, evaluation and in-context management. CISO is tasked with designing the appropriate cyber protection policies, implementing them in the running state of business operations, managing the stakeholders’ influence on these policies and evaluating their efficiency.

Security Assurances

The importance of cyber security trainings for general employees and managers cannot be overstated for the modern business environment. Oftentimes, such programs are required to even out the lack of prior computer knowledge at staff members, who have not yet caught up with the pace and importance of ongoing business digitalization. Among the multiple security assurances that come with the training initiatives, two can be specified: frequency decrease for human error and maintenance cost reduction. As per 2019, the human error factor accounted for 90% of data breaches and information leaks. It is currently irregular for businesses to provide cyber security trainings to non-cyber employees, yet by doing so the company could ensure the emergence of culture of Internet discretion. By extension, the second security assurance lies in prevented maintenance and recovery costs, which can vary depending on the scale of security breach, but are known to have been devastating for small and medium enterprises.

Digital Forensics: Concept & Role

Digital forensics generally operates as an important step in the cyber crime investigation process, and thus becomes relevant within the organizational process if the data breach has already occurred. It involves identifying, preserving, and analyzing digital evidence, being thus the most difficult step the cyber security system (Arnes, 2017). Generally, requires substantial amounts of expertise and technical resources since the acquisition of the frequently compromised data is a multilayered and often expensive process. Additionally, digital forensics techniques can be applied to enhance the security of e-commerce, particularly regarding consumers’ data safety. The data forensics personal’s operational duties can be divided into preparing, acquiring, analyzing, and reporting. The teams involved are comprised of the IT professionals, investigators, and incident handlers, and are therefore frequently invited from outside of the firm. The resources provided to the teams include access control alterations, report & administrative areas and forensic software facilitation programs.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the position of CISO stands at the centre of the multi-layered and resource-demanding ecosystem of the corporate cybersecurity within a firm. Considering the ongoing digitalization of the commercial operations and data sets, the extensive investments into data protection tools are generally warranted in the long run. An affective CISO is instrumental in guaranteeing the protection of both employees and customers of the firm, which is crucial to a business’ reputation.

References

Arnes, A. (2017). Digital Forensics. John Wiley & Sons.

Karanja, E. (2017). The role of the chief information security officer in the management of IT security. Information & Computer Security, 25(3), 300-329. doi: 10.1108/ics-02-2016-0013

Knowles, W., Such, J., Gouglidis, A., Misra, G., & Rashid, A. (2017). All That Glitters Is Not Gold: On the Effectiveness of Cybersecurity Qualifications. Computer, 50(12), 60-71. doi: 10.1109/mc.2017.4451226

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NerdyRoo. (2022, August 12). Information Technology Security for Business Data Assets. Retrieved from https://nerdyroo.com/information-technology-security-for-business-data-assets/

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