Companies today leverage technology in every facet of their business. Whether to increase employee mobility, increase productivity, reach potential customers or store critical business information, the ability of IT to store and process information is making our lives easier. Wilfrid Laurier University’s online Master of Computer Science program, one of the most esteemed programs of its kind in Canada, has recognized that modern innovations, while helping businesses in countless ways, also pose a serious threat to private information stored on devices. Information security is a vital concern to protect individuals’ information. In this article we take a look at what information security is, what is the need for information security and why it’s important to develop IT systems that ensure the security of information infrastructure.
What is Information Security?
Information security ensures good data management. It involves the use of technologies, protocols, systems and administrative measures to protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information. Information is the most valuable asset of an organization, and any breach can destroy its reputation and continuity.
How Cyber Crimes Affect Information Security
Cybersecurity has become a top concern for organizations today. According to Cisco, the number of connected devices could increase to 50 billion by 2020. Since these connected devices contain a huge volume of data that need to be protected, cybercrime could become a major threat to every business in the world.
Although cybersecurity initiatives are being undertaken by national and international governments, ultimately it is organizations that are responsible for protecting their own data. As a result, businesses are now focusing on developing secure systems that enhance information security.
Need for Information Security
Companies have realized the need and importance of information security and taken steps to be included among organizations known to have the most secure IT infrastructure. As a result, enormous capital is spent every year from companies’ budgets to protect the critical information that forms the foundation of their business. Below are a few reasons why information security is critical to the success of any organization.
1) To prevent data breaches
A data breach resulting in the loss of critical business information is quite common. Due to a large amount of data stored on company servers, businesses often become the main target of cyber-criminals if the network is unprotected. The breaches involving business secrets, confidential health information, and intellectual property can greatly impact the overall health of a business.
2) To check for compromised credentials and broken authentication
Data breaches and other cyber attacks are usually a result of lax authentication, weak passwords, and poor certificate or key management. Companies often struggle with assigning permissions to appropriate users or departments, resulting in identity theft.
3) To avoid account hijacking
Phishing, fraud, and software exploitations are still very common. Companies relying on cloud services are especially at risk because they are an easy target for cybercriminals, who can eavesdrop on activities, modify data and manipulate transactions. These third-party applications can be used by attackers to launch other attacks as well.
4) To mitigate cyber threats from malicious insiders
An existing or former employee, a cunning business partner, a system administrator or an intruder can destroy the whole information infrastructure or manipulate data for their own purpose. Therefore, it is the responsibility of an organization to take effective measures to control the encryption process and keys. Effective monitoring, logging, and auditing activities are extremely important to keep everything under control.
Types of Information Security Controls
There are three different types of information security controls used to protect data.
Physical Control: Physical controls are the simplest form of information security. These are the things that can actually be touch and seen, such as password-protected locks to avoid unauthorized entry to a secure server room, alarm systems, fences and more.
- Administrative Control: These controls mainly involve manual efforts to ensure data security. These include enforcing policies, standards, guidelines and following procedures to ensure business continuity and data protection. Some of the examples of administrative controls include disaster recovery plans, internet usage policies and termination procedures.
- Technical Control: These controls are considered the most effective of all because they make use of the latest technologies and systems to limit access to information. Some of the examples of technical controls include firewalls, anti-virus software, file permissions, access control lists and cutting-edge data security technologies that are hard to penetrate.
Since more and more businesses are now realizing the importance of information security, computer science professionals can build their career in this rapidly evolving field by applying to an online Master Level Program at Wilfrid Laurier University. This program is designed to enhance the skills of IT professionals and help them design and develop secure systems that contain private information. Students learn to develop information security systems through advanced learning methodologies, effective online learning environment, and immersive projects.
Do you want to know how to improve network security? Check out How Can You Improve Network Security and Software Reliability?