Infosec, shortened from information security, is the field of protecting digital data and information from unauthorized or malicious access or use. While often used interchangeably with cybersecurity, infosec is more about protecting data and information than overall device and network security.
Three core principles of Infosec
The “CIA” triad of infosec—Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability—summarizes the three key principles of proper data security.
Businesses, governments, and individuals have a reasonable expectation that their data is treated as confidential by those who collect, use, and store it. Therefore, defining who does and doesn’t have access to the data is a crucial element of infosec. To ensure confidentiality, those entrusted with the data must manage password strategies, encryption, and access authentication, as well as detection and defense against attack threats are pivotal.
Integrity enforces the necessity that data remains its original state while preventing it from alteration, even if well-meant. Several techniques, such as encryption and password protection are used to protect the confidentiality of data and can also protect its integrity. The goal of achieving data integrity is that it’s critical to prevent unauthorized users from modifying the contents of the data.
The availability of data ensures that authorized users and individuals can access their data quickly and efficiently. Ensuring data availability requires matching network and computing resources to the anticipated volume of data access while implementing a robust data backup policy for disaster recovery purposes.
Why does infosec matter?
In addition to the infosec triad, there are several other equally important components to consider. When looking at more well-known data breaches to date, companies and IT departments need to consider how the everyday end-user can impact infosec issues. For example, the 2013 Target data breach was discovered to have occurred due to a malware encrypted email opened by an employee at a third-party vendor. That one error from an end-user created a domino effect that resulted in over 100 million consumers having their information stolen from that data breach.
Utilizing Infosec Effectively
To utilize infosec effectively, organizations should aim to increase employee training emphasizing the core principles of infosec and increase end-user awareness. Furthermore, implementing more vigorous security protocols and policies within the organization and regularly reviewing access management controls. Organizations that systematically utilize infosec with importance create a more hearty and secure environment for their business, consumers, and end-users.