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Preparing Your Enterprise for Tighter Security

The authors of Securing Business Information show you how to ready your business for crucial security measures, including building the proper organization and marketing the mission within the business.
This chapter is from the book

Preparing the enterprise for the necessary security changes is the first step of the Enterprise Security Plan (ESP) process. This most crucial step is, perhaps, the easiest to neglect because it involves managing more than technology. Step 1 shows how to build a foundation on the basis of the enterprise's need for security management, how to establish appropriately structured security organization to support the security systems, and how to ensure the entire enterprise is motivated to support security efforts.

Enterprises that are looking to improve their security must build, approve, and publish a security policy. Without a policy, full support for the mission cannot be generated and this support becomes crucial when the project is begun.

Before an enterprise can develop and market specific security projects, a strong base of support for the security mission among both the executive leadership and all end users must be established. This internal effort is not after-the-fact marketing based on telling IT customers what IT has to offer and trying to persuade them to like it. Instead, enterprises must conduct an internal market analysis of IT customers' business objectives to find out what they think they need. Security management then must package the enterprise security program so that it supports those objectives. To accomplish this analysis and packaging of results, IT must understand the needs of users and resource owners, communicate with them clearly, and motivate them to support the enterprise security concepts.

In effect, marketing is a philosophical approach that infuses many different steps in the ESP process—gaining support from executives and users for the security program is the first marketing task. Successfully completing this first step and continuing to reinforce this support greatly enhances the security manager's ability to develop and market specific security projects. Security managers should refer to Step 6 for detailed information on marketing specific security projects.

Implementation of ESP also requires an effective organizational structure. If that structure does not exist, enterprises must develop such an organization in parallel with the ESP efforts. The responsibilities of resource owners, the vice president or director of security, security managers, and security administrators must be spelled out and made clear. This structural development will be discussed shortly.

The Enterprise Security Charter

A single, short document stands at the top of the hierarchy of all security activity within the enterprise: the enterprise security charter. It summarizes the organization's attitude and intent regarding security. It must be clear and concise. The top executive officer and possibly the board of directors should approve it. The enterprise security charter is the justification and approval for everything that is done to improve security. Without it, or with a poor one, every action taken in the name of security will require individual justification and approval, so almost nothing will get done. A policy that is too strong is just as ineffective.

Because perfect security is impossible, the enterprise security charter must define how the company will determine acceptable risk.

Many people need to understand the enterprise security charter:

  • The CEO, to approve it

  • Executive management, because they must enforce it

  • Middle and lower management, to put the business processes in place that create the secure environment

Gaining CEO-level approval and communicating security needs to the staff are two aspects of the marketing skills that organizations require from security managers. In fact, the strong ability to communicate and convince (that is, market) is now the primary differentiator between security managers and security administrators.

Ideally two to five pages long, the enterprise security charter should do the following:

  • Identify the business need for security

  • Define the scope of the policy

  • List the job titles of the staff responsible for various security functions and their responsibilities

  • Describe violation reporting and escalation

  • Give the scope of contingency and disaster recovery

  • Specify legal or regulatory requirements

On the following pages, the "Model for a Security Charter" provides a template that you can use as a model to create a security charter.

Model for a Security Charter

  1. Business need for security

    Example 1. X Company owns significant assets in the form of information. Some of these assets lose significant value if they are improperly disclosed. Similar disclosure of other assets could result in significant harm to the corporation. Further, unauthorized changes to the information content of these assets can damage the corporation's ability to perform business. Even preventing authorized access to these assets can do significant harm.

    Example 2. X Company management has a fiduciary duty to preserve, improve, and account for company information and information systems, which are recognized as critical and important company assets. Management must ensure that information and information systems are properly protected from a variety of threats, including error, fraud, embezzlement, improper disclosure, sabotage, terrorism, extortion, industrial espionage, privacy violation, service interruption, and natural disaster.

  2. Scope of the policy

    This policy covers all employees, contractors, part-time and temporary workers, and those employed by others to perform work on company premises or granted access to company information or systems. Any person not covered by this policy (for example, visitors) must be supervised by an employee at all times while they are on the company's premises. Information regarding this policy and its implementation must be made available to all affected staff by the X Company manager responsible for the performance of that staff member.

  3. Job titles and duties of the staff responsible for various security functions

    All employees, contractors, and temporary and part-time workers are responsible for ensuring that company information assets are used only in proper pursuit of the company's business; information is not improperly disclosed, modified, or endangered; and access to company information resources is not made available to any unauthorized person.

    The Director (or Vice President) of Security is responsible for ensuring that appropriate security controls are in existence and in force throughout the company. The Security Administrator is responsible for ensuring that all authentication and authorization management systems are current and accurate. The Security Manager is responsible for determining methods of implementing and enforcing security policies and for advising resource owners on forming appropriate security policies.

    Application design and development staff members are responsible for ensuring that security policies are implemented effectively and efficiently within their applications and that those policies are administered.

    Any employee involved in selecting or purchasing computer system or application software is responsible for ensuring that this policy can be implemented effectively for that system or application.

    X Company management must evaluate all stored information, applications, and information systems to determine the appropriate controls required to protect the information asset on the basis of its criticality to the business, value to X Company, and potential value to competitors. These evaluations will be documented and reviewed at least once annually. In addition, the X Company central Computer Security Department conducts ongoing reviews of risks to company information and systems.

    Each organization unit director assigns one or more managers the responsibility for resource ownership of those information assets housed or managed within their divisions, as determined by the Computer Security Department.

  4. Violation reporting and escalation

    Any person covered by this policy is obligated to report apparent violations of this policy to the responsible X Company manager. If the violation does not appear to be resolved in a timely manner, the Director of Security must be notified by the person observing the violation.

  5. The scope of contingency and disaster recovery

    An inability to make use of information assets is as damaging to X Company as destruction of that asset. A plan for continuing business operations while information assets are unusable because of natural or man-made disasters must be documented and tested annually for all information assets identified as critical by the appropriate resource owner. The central Computer Security Department is responsible for assisting in the creation of such plans and in managing the testing process.

  6. Legal or regulatory requirements

    Any external requirements that are specific to the company's industry or country should be referenced in this policy.

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