Your organization is unique. There is no one-size-fits-all guide to protecting it, however, every strong information security program considers risks within the same three essential pillars of security strategy: people, culture, and technology.
Evaluate your current information security program against these three areas to gain the foundation you need to make security strategy decisions that best protect your organization. Keep reading to learn more about how to consider each pillar.
People: The human power behind your information security program.
While some security practices need to be handled by machines and technology, the strategy and implementation of your security program are built by humans. These people may be employees at your organization, or they may work at outside organizations and services that you use to assess and protect against security risks, like the security experts at ZeroWall. All of these people play a foundational role in defining your security culture by motivating your employees to practice behaviors that protect your organization.
Your security team will grow with your organization.
When it comes to risk, the people who maintain your security investments and the technology that runs your day-to-day operations are a vital part of your security program. The responsibility of running your security program needs to be held by a leader with a solid understanding of how your organization’s systems and members use technology.
For some organizations, the CTO is solely responsible for security planning, while others may retain or hire specialty security roles. Your security program also benefits from having outside reviews from trusted expert vendors. The best solution for your organization depends on your stage of growth and what assets you’re protecting.
Sometimes hiring more employees is the right next step, but strategic use of alternative strategies can also cover some security needs. Even if you’re not ready to make full-time security hires, there are still ways to get the skills and insights you need to optimize your security program without hiring someone, like using risk assessment and recommendation tools like ZeroWall’s Threat Model Engine™ .
Roles to consider adding to your organization as you grow:
- Security Leadership, e.g. a CISO or leadership role
- Individual Contributor, e.g. IT security or product security employees
- Contract, e.g. an incident response firm or penetration testing company
Culture: A set of beliefs your employees share.
A strong security culture is the key to an effective security program.
Security culture is a set of beliefs that employees honor to support the protection of your organization. Security policy is a guide for employees to use as they make decisions for your organization in their everyday work.
An informed security culture distributes the responsibility of protecting the organization across all of its employees. It is inexpensive to strengthen and proactively saves you money.
Distribute the responsibility of protecting your organization.
Employees interact with systems, team members, and outside organizations to complete their job duties, naturally introducing risk into your organization’s ecosystem. Prepare them to instinctually make risk-reducing choices by providing training and comprehensible security policies.
Keep attention on your security plan.
Expand the impact of your security plan beyond just creating policy documents. Keep your policies relevant and top-of-mind across your organization by providing regular training and enforcement of your security policies.
To see your policy grow to be the foundation of informed security culture at your organization, you must promote it, achieve buy-in, and eventually enforce it. Learn how in ZeroWall’s blog post, Connect Your Employees to Your Security Mission by Taking These Three Essential Steps.
Technology: The tools that help you protect your organization.
Right-size your technology program to fit your organization’s needs.
Tools and technology help you manage and scale your security plan, especially in areas where humans create a boundary, like time restraints or computing power. Choose a technology stack for your organization based on your risk profile and the available resources at your organization.
Technology strengthens your security program.
Technology reinforces the foundations of your security program. Technology can protect in ways humans can’t always scale, like building and managing security infrastructure, adding checks in higher-risk situations, and enforcing a security policy.
Examples of security technologies include:
- Tools that protect your data.
- Tools that protect your customer’s data.
- Tools that empower your employees to prioritize security, like mobile device management.
Check in on your organization’s needs regularly and think about how you can use technology to help you as you grow.
Align your technology investments with your organization’s risk priorities.
While it can be tempting to throw money at software to solve problems quickly, investing in technology that isn’t strategically aligned with your organization’s unique risk profile can take away from other investments that may make a bigger positive impact on your security program’s results.
Make time to prioritize your unique risks and understand what you’re solving before you start shopping for solutions. Evaluate the technology you invest in based on how it supports your entire security program. Use your learnings to consider how all of your technology investments work together to protect the most valuable assets at your organization.
The three security pillars work together to protect your organization.
Align your people and technology with your security goals by building an informed security culture. Use these pillars as a discovery and brainstorming framework while you are evaluating your current security profile. Continue to check in with each pillar while you plan for the next stage in your program.
Gain a deeper understanding of your organization’s investments in your people, culture, and technology.
ZeroWall’s tools can help you assess your information security profile and take next steps to optimize your program.
Taking the ZeroWall Assessment™ is the fastest way to get an expert evaluation of your security profile and risks and prove ROI.
ZeroWall’s Threat Model Engine™ works its magic on your answers and delivers you an Insights Report that outlines:
- The gaps in your security program
- How your current investments are addressing risks
- How you compare to similarly-sized organizations in your industry
- Right-sized recommendations catered to your unique organization
Get the information you need to confidently build your organization’s right-sized program. Get started >