Mar 20, 2019

Aligning Business Operation and Security

As organizations grow, their operational divisions become more isolated, where each group has its own set of objectives, priorities, and KPIs. Ensuring business security and compliance requires a proper alignment of all operational divisions. The best-working alignment is attained when security objectives and priorities are driven through the mesh of Business Operations in the first place, other groups will follow.

Conflict of Priorities

The purpose of IT department has always been the same – to grow business productivity through technology. The number one priority for IT is facilitating business operation and providing its continuity. Their priorities mostly come from the business processes they support.

On the other hand, the business operation teams strive to agile delivery. Their top priority is getting business operation processes moving as fast as possible, even if it strains IT resources beyond extreme.

Security department balances in the middle trying to fulfil their core mission: to ensure business security and maintain compliance.

Business operation supported by IT team strives to deliver as fast as possible. They all often view security as inhibitor. Why? Because it takes extra time to check the processes, products and supporting infrastructure against vulnerabilities and known threats, verify that apps configurations meet requirements, and that adopted security policies and standards are complied with.

By establishing policies, identifying threats and vulnerabilities security urges IT to follow baseline configurations, timely apply patches, and run updates. However, taking into account its limited resources, IT gives the security initiatives lower priority than the needs of current business operation for agile delivery.

Mapping Security Priorities onto Business Operations

When no security incidents happen during a long time, security unit is pushed into the shadow underestimated. However, when adverse security event happens, they are first to blame. That explains why security department should place the focus on tight collaboration with the business leadership to deliver ideas that resonate well with them.

For many business leaders a security breach is a mere possibility. Their major expectation from security team lies in providing business continuity. Given that, security team should present:

  • Security metrics relevant to business development
  • Security risks and associated damages
  • Industry best practice benchmarks
  • Opportunities for the business goals: for instance, a reduced cost due to standardized configurations, which meet security compliance requirements

The challenge is to make business leadership understand and agree on the acceptable level of risk. Then, security requirements associated with the accepted level of risk must be fixed in the roadmap. IT unit will have to follow the adopted initiatives and focus on mitigating the risk while working on delivery. Thus, security department changes its position from alleged inhibitor to a partner of business development and IT units.

Focusing on Business Efficiency and Continuity

With the growing security risks, technology organizations opt to use modern security platforms to improve their operations and efficiency. To have effective and intelligent Information Security Management Systems (ISMS) in place is critical. Investing in the security software solutions is as important as it is in the other components of security system.

Driving the security through the mesh of business daily operations, modern security solutions improve organization’s efficiency and business continuity in several dimensions:

Mitigating Organizational Risk

Businesses housing thousands of employees and petabytes of sensitive or mission-critical information residing inside a giant infrastructure face the whole gamut of security challenges. Given the growing amount of data stored and processed, organizations must be aware of activities taking place inside and outside their offices, so that they could quickly recognize the unfolding adverse event and take appropriate response action.

Meeting Security Standards Compliance

Security standards like ISO/27K Series are the core of any information security system, but implementing and maintaining compliances with them is a longtime pain for many organizations. Automation is the key word, but most of existing compliance management solutions either have too limited functionality or critically tooled for a specific application.

All-encompassing solutions, such as Infopulse Standards Compliance Manager (SCM), integrating regulatory and industry-specific standards, create a clear-cut and easy path to get control over all compliance-related processes via one center. By streamlining and leveraging all security-related processes on a global scale, such tools enable reducing costs, mitigating risks and meeting compliance requirements.

Recent stats about security breaches leave no illusion about the consequences of security compliance negligence, in terms of both damages and penalties. Taking into account the severity of breach implications, your best bet is to have more than just a primitive compliance management solution. It has to be a holistic platform enabling prompt and adequate responsive action based on real-time assessment of security status, associated risks and providing live instruction on the required actions.

Overcoming Logistical Bottlenecks

Security event is a challenge for any business, but it is more so for companies with decentralized management often met in law, consulting and technology businesses. Management decentralization with a focus on projects/cases rather than on functional areas hinders fast delivery of emergency response commands through the chain.

Therefore, highly decentralized organizations must take into account their own specific non-hierarchical structure in the security event management and disaster recovery documentation. It refers to your training programs too. It is important to focus on case studies incorporating best practices of crisis management in your industry. This is where modular, highly flexible solutions like Infopulse SCM are indispensable. It enables you to set up, configure or customize any functional component exactly to the needs of your organization. Moreover, you can add your own customer-specific standards, policies or procedures to the system.

Improving Business Operation Efficiency

Consolidation of all security-related processes in one center contributes to streamlining business operations and improving on their efficiency, especially in the organizations with a large physical footprint. Using the industry-leading solutions designed to maintain security operations and compliances, organizations can significantly reduce both response time and a number of false alarms.

Since business continuity and operational efficiency are organization’s top priorities, a proper security platform becomes an invaluable solution for risk mitigation, resolving logistical bottlenecks and cutting costs. Basing on real-time security status monitoring and regular risk assessment the system prompts the best sequence of remedial actions.

Cybersecurity is no Longer a One-field Battle

Massive digitalization and hyper-connectivity of the modern economy became a reality. Governments, businesses, financial institutions, educational establishments, public services – every industry, every facet of society is undergoing a fundamental digital transformation in the era of online search aggregators, booking portals, payment ecosystems, chat bots, robotics and artificial intelligence.

The downside of the technology advancement is the exponential growth of cyber threats to organizations and individuals worldwide. While individuals are exposed to a high risk of privacy breach, identity theft and financial fraud, businesses can experience a disastrous impact from targeted cyber-attacks. Hefty regulatory penalties, plummeting stock prices, production downtime, disappointed customers, lawsuits, and other consequences can be catastrophic.

Organizations have to contend with the new challenges employing different security strategies before they become aware that their systems and networks have been compromised. The general challenge is that employing more lines of defense is resource consuming and demands highly qualified security personnel. Many understaffed companies go the reactive way taking action only after an eventual security event has occurred.

The most crucial mistake is to relegate security function to a single department, whether IT or Security. Today, everyone in the organization must consciously share responsibility for corporate security. Business leaders must accept this idea in the first place, and systemically deliver it down to company’s personnel.

All-encompassing nature of modern cyber threats dictates new rules in creating secure business environments. Given that in most cases end users prove to be the weakest link in security chain, it is obvious that building a corporate security system must begin with an individual, who is the first line of defense against cyber attackers.

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