Why You Need a Formal Security Program

Most business entities today, at minimum, do at least something to protect their proprietary data, sensitive business operations, and critical systems but is something really enough? More than likely, it’s not.

While doing something is a little better than nothing at all, this type of approach falls short in providing comprehensive enterprise information security. When it comes to protecting critical, private information that has been entrusted exclusively to your organization, simply having an “ok” security program is risky business. A well thought-out security program is critical to providing high-level information assurance.

A security program is a comprehensive plan to manage risk effectively. Achieving this objective is possible through the use of information security industry standards such as those developed by NIST.

There is no one-size-fits-all type of security program that can meet the needs of every organization out there. Instead security programs are tailored to fit the specific organization they are built for and each security program is shaped strategically to support that organizations unique goals. Every organization has a different level of risk they are comfortable accepting and this level of risk depends greatly on the value of that organization’s assets. As this is the case, one can understand why a one-size-fits-all security implementation for effectively managing risk is not realistic, nor achievable.

Each program must be custom and as unique as the organization it is structured to protect. Anything less and the security program falls short of achieving true security for the organization’s assets.

In order for an organization to build an efficient security program they must take a holistic view of the organization and determine the following:

  • Identify, classify, and categorize business assets
  • Identify and evaluate threats to those assets
  • Identify and assess where those assets are vulnerable
  • Manage the resulting risk to those assets through mitigation, transference, avoidance, and acceptance.

However, in order to even begin the risk management process, an organization must prioritize the necessity of implementing a formal security program. It is critical (and legally required in certain instances) that organizations manage risk responsibly.

There is simply no way to operate in today’s world with zero risk and this is where the need for a formal security program must be realized and acted upon. Failure to do so often results in highly publicized security breaches. This type of negative publicity results in broken business relationships, loss of public trust, loss of revenue and can be devastating to an organization’s future.

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