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Building a Highly Effective Information Security Program

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Does your information security program ever have you feeling like:

  • I'm not following a security program plan.
  • I'm overwhelmed with the number of risks, and I know we are missing some.
  • I don't have time to focus on proactive security.
  • I hope we don't have an audit or incident today.
  • This place would fall apart without me.

These are the most common concerns of clients who approach us for help with their information security program. Through our consulting practice we give IT and security professionals the tools and knowledge to change these pains to:

  • We follow a risk-aligned plan.
  • We take a holistic approach to security.
  • We have time to manage the security program.
  • We are ready for an incident or audit.
  • The program doesn't rely on one individual.

Over the last 14 years of building security programs, we have identified the critical differences that distinguish Highly Effective Information Security Programs.

Highly Effective Information Security Programs are built from smart planning and execution. We have identified seven critical characteristics that are common across highly effective information security programs. These critical characteristics are:

  1. Mindset - Mindset is 90% of what makes a strong information security program. The best mindset mantras are: Security is a process, not a project. Security is an organization challenge not an IT challenge. You cannot do this alone.
  2. Holistic approach - If you are neglecting an area of risk, you are assuming risk. It is critical to follow a framework that paints an organization-wide picture of risk. We really like the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, and we have utilized ISO 27001/27002 heavily in the past.
  3. Risk-Driven - Are you aligning your information security plan with risk? Aligning your activities to tackle your biggest risks first makes a whole lot of sense. Do you have a continuous risk assessment process in place?
  4. Be Prepared - You may have heard the phrase, "Hack yourself first." At TRUE, we like to use the phrase, "Audit yourself first." We coach organizations to document controls and test proactively. The key here is rolling out this process in baby steps.
  5. Reach Your Users - End user training is one of the easiest security wins. You cannot be everywhere at once, so you need your employees to be an extension of the information security team. Effective security programs utilize incentives over punitive action.
  6. Execute - You need a security plan, and better yet, you need to execute to it! Let risk be your guide. Where you lack the internal resources, look to gain an extension of your team through a trusted partner organization like TRUE.
  7. Communicate - How do you measure the success of your information security program? What are the best metrics to begin reporting to leadership? The key here is to measure what you want to improve. Choose a metric that should improve if your security plan is successful.

Notice that on this list you did not see funding or number of full-time information security staff. Highly Effective Information Security Programs come in all sizes and budgets. It really does depend on these seven key characteristics.

On June 20th, TRUE's own Geoff Wilson and Steve Cagle will be doing a deep-dive webinar into all seven of these critical areas, and they will share some of the most effective and innovative approaches we see in practice today.

Click here to sign up for our free webinar on June 20th. TRUE's webinars are value-packed and leave you with tools and techniques that you can implement in your security program. We will be recording the webinar for off-line viewing for those who cannot attend the live presentation.

Register now! And we hope to see you there!