Information Security Management System (ISMS)
The emergence of information technology has significantly enhanced data management at an organizational level. The streamlined collection, analysis, presentation, and storage of data has transformed organizational operations, including communication, strategic decision making, product development, and marketing, among others. However, the proliferation of information technology into all spheres of life at individual and organizational levels come with an increased threat to private and confidential information. With an increased number of hackers and nefarious individuals with advanced information technology skills, information security has become an important operational policy. Putting in place an information security management (ISMS) is not only a fulfillment of a government directive; rather, it is an important strategy for gaining the much-needed competitive edge in a business environment that is increasingly become reliant on data and metadata.
ISMS: Pro-active Approach to Information Security Management
As an information tool, information security management system (ISMS) is a set of systemized and structured procedures, physical controls, organizational structures, policies, and processes aimed at managing and protecting sensitive organizational information. Such a framework for protecting sensitive company information against identified and unidentified internal and external threats requires the input of both human and non-human components such as software and hardware. Businesses put in place ISMS based on their assessment of the various threats to the security of their information assets (ISO, n.d). These assets include third party information, which the business is a trustee, and the company’s financial information. Additionally, a company’s information assets include intellectual property, especially those involved in product development and manufacturing as well as strategic business plans and employee details.
Unauthorized access to these information assets can lead to numerous repercussions that can threaten the very existence of the organization. One of the primary ramifications of business information and data breach is litigations and sanctions. Legal woes are usually costly financially through fines and settlement fees and reputational damage. It is not uncommon for the value of shares of companies embroiled in data breach controversies due to waning investor confidence. When they manifest, internal and external threats to a company’s information can also pose significant challenges to its competitiveness and market penetration, particularly when the security of product development, strategic plans, and intellectual property information is breached. Employee retention and attraction of new talents can also be hampered due to a lack of trust in the ability of the company to guarantee the safety and security of employee details. In some cases, such breaches can paralyze company operations. Therefore, becoming pro-active in managing company information has far-reaching benefits that principally translates into growth of the company’s bottom line.
How ISMS Affect the Everyday Life of Individuals
Pro-actively safeguarding information security through ISMS can significantly transform the everyday life of individuals. The software, hardware procedures, processes, protocols, and physical controls that come with ISMS require greater caution at the individual level. With ISMS, individuals, especially company employees, are required to be information security conscious, which translates to added workplace responsibility. Individuals have to be conscious of how they store and safeguard their passwords and access codes to the firm’s information as these information security protocols are the primary targets of internal and external threats. Passwords and access codes add to the growing list of what constitutes individual space, whether at work or at home.
In addition to being aware of these procedures, processes, and physical controls that come with ISMS, people also have to aware of common technology-based threats and risks. Due to the evolving nature of these threats and risks, it is imperative to develop strategies and skills to adapt to these changes constantly. Such added responsibility requires frequent training to acquire skills and competencies required to deal with these threats and risks. Moreover, frequent assessment of such threats, risks, and general information management become normalized activities within an organization. When entrenched within the organizational culture, information security, including ISMS, becomes an important part of the organization’s DNA that individual employees have to contend with daily.
People seeking to protect their personal information are required to spend extra funds in the form of subscription fees and purchase of the required hardware and software. ISMS significantly increases everyday life through increased expenditure on data and information protection. Therefore, ISMS calls for not only information security self-awareness but also taking pro-active initiatives at the individual level to safeguard sensitive individual information.
The emergence of information and data as some of the primary drivers of organizational success in the modern era has seen a ballooning growth in importance and size of information assets. Businesses are increasingly becoming reliant on information assets to gain a competitive edge and foster growth and development. However, information threats and risks have also grown parallel to the growing importance of information and data. Putting in place a pro-active tool to identify and manage these risks and threats can be the lifeline any business requires to forge ahead in an increasingly competitive business landscape. Information security management system (ISMS) helps in safeguarding information security. ISMS shape both individual lives and business activities daily.
ISO. (n.d). ISO/IEC 27000 family – Information security management systems. International Organization for Standardization. Retrieved from https://www.iso.org/isoiec-27001-information-security.html