What is information security? Definition, Principles and Jobs (2023)

special feature

Information security is a set of practices aimed at protecting data from unauthorized access or modification. Here's a high-level overview of the policies, principles, and people employed to protect data.

VonJosh Springer

contributing author,CSO |

What is information security? Definition, Principles and Jobs (2)
(Video) What is Information Assurance vs Information Security vs Cyber Security?

Definition of information security

Information security, sometimes abbreviated toinfosec,is a set of procedures aimed at protecting data from unauthorized access or modification, both when it is stored and when it is transferred from one machine or physical location to another. You will sometimes see it labeleddata security.As knowledge has become one of the most important commodities of the 21st century, efforts to secure information have become correspondingly more important.

The SANS Institute offersa slightly broader definition:

Information security refers to the processes and methods designed and implemented to protect printed, electronic or other forms of confidential, private and sensitive information or data from unauthorized access, use, misuse, disclosure, destruction, alteration or interruption.

Information security vs. cyber security

Weilinformation technologyhas become the accepted corporate buzzword, which basically means "computers and stuff like that," as you'll see at timesinformation securityAndInternet securityused interchangeably. Strictly speaking, cybersecurity is thebroader practice of defending IT resources from attack, and information security is a specific discipline under the cybersecurity umbrella.network securityAndapplication securityare Infosec's sister practices that focus on networks and app code, respectively.

Obviously there is some overlap here. You cannot back up data transmitted over an insecure network or tampered with by a leaky application. In addition, there is a lot of information that is not stored electronically and also needs to be protected. Therefore, the infosec professional's area of ​​responsibility is necessarily broad.

Information Security Principles

The basic components of information security are most commonly summarized by what is known as the CIA triad:confidentiality, integrity,AndAvailability.

(Video) Information Security Management Principles Part 1

  • confidentialityis perhaps the element of the triad that comes to mind most when you think of information security. Data is confidential if it can only be accessed by those who are authorized to do so; To ensure confidentiality, you need to be able to identify who is trying to access data and block attempts by unauthorized people. Passwords, encryption, authentication, and defense against penetration attacks are techniques designed to ensure confidentiality.
  • integritymeans keeping data in its correct state and preventing it from being accidentally or maliciously modified. Many of the techniques that ensure confidentiality also protect data integrity - after all, a hacker can't modify data they can't access - but there are other tools that help defend integrity comprehensively: checksums can help you Checking data For example, integrity and version control software and frequent backups can help you restore data to a correct state when needed. Integrity also includes the concept ofNichtablehnung: you have to be able toprovethat you have maintained the integrity of your data, especially in legal contexts.
  • Availabilityis the reflection of confidentiality: while you need to ensure that your data cannot be viewed by unauthorized users, you also need to ensure thismaycan only be accessed by people with the appropriate permissions. Ensuring data availability means matching network and computer resources to the expected volume of data access and implementing a good backup policy for disaster recovery.

In an ideal world, your data should always be confidential, correct, and available; In practice, of course, you often have to decide which information security principles you want to emphasize, and this requires your data to be assessed. For example, if you store sensitive medical information, your focus is on confidentiality, while a financial institution may value data integrity to ensure that nobody's bank account is miscredited or debited.

Information Security Policy

The means by which these principles are applied to an organization take the form asecurity policy.This is not security hardware or software; Rather, it is a document that a company creates, based on its own specific needs and idiosyncrasies, to define what data needs to be protected and how. These policies guide the organization's decisions to procure cybersecurity tools and also dictate the conduct and responsibilities of employees.

Your organization's information security policy should include the following:

  • A statement describing the purpose of the Infosec program and yoursoverall goals
  • The definitionof the key terms used in the document to ensure a common understanding
  • AAccess Control Policywho has access to which data and how they can assert their rights
  • APassword Policy
  • Adata support and operationsPlan to ensure the data is always available to those who need it
  • employee roles etc responsibilitieswhen it comes to data protection, including ultimate responsibility for information security

One important thing to keep in mind is that in a world where many companies outsource some computing services or store data in the cloud, your security policy needs to cover more than just the assets you own. You need to know how to deal with everything from personal data stored on AWS instances to third parties who need to authenticate themselves to access sensitive company information.

Information security measures

As should be clear by now, almost all technical measures related to cybersecurity touch on information security to some extent, but that's where it's worth thinking about infosec measures in the big picture:

  • Technical Measurescontain the hardware and software that protects data - everything from encryption to firewalls
  • Organizational measuresThis includes the establishment of an internal information security unit as well as the inclusion of infosec in the responsibilities of some employees in all departments
  • human measuresinclude providing user awareness training on appropriate infosec practices
  • physical measuresinclude controlling access to office locations and particularly to data centers

Information security jobs

It's no secret that cybersecurity jobs are in high demandIn 2019, information security was at the top of every CIO's hiring wish list, according to the Mondo IT Security Guide. There are two main reasons: there have been many high-profile security breaches that have caused damage to the company's finances and reputation, and most companies continue to hoard customer data and give more and more departments access to it, increasing their potential attack surface and always doing so more likely that they will be the next victim.

There is aVariety of different job titles in the infosec world. The same job title can have different meanings in different companies, and you should also keep in mind our caveat from above: A lot of people just use “information” to mean “computer stuff,” so some of these roles aren’t limited to pure information security in the narrower sense. But there are general conclusions that can be drawn.

Information Security Analyst: Responsibilities and Salary
Let's take a look at one such job: information security analyst, which is generally at the entry level of an infosec career. Christina Wood from CSOdescribes the activity as follows:

Security analysts typically deal with information protection (data loss prevention [DLP] and data classification) and threat protection, including security information and event management (SIEM), user and entity behavior analysis [UEBA], intrusion detection system/intrusion prevention system (IDS/IPS), and penetration testing . Key responsibilities include managing security measures and controls, monitoring security access, conducting internal and external security audits, analyzing security breaches, recommending tools and processes, installing software, training security awareness, and coordinating security with external providers.

Information security analysts are definitely one of those infosec roles where they existare not enough candidates to meet the demand for them: In 2017 and 2018, there were more than 100,000 vacancies for information security analysts in the United States. That means the infosec analyst is a lucrative job: The Bureau of Labor Statistics has put the median salary at $95,510 (PayScale.com has it slightly lower,at $71,398).

(Video) The PRINCIPLES of Information Security EXPLAINED

Training and courses on information security

How to Get a Job in Information Security? A bachelor's degree inComputer science certainly doesn't hurt, although it's by no means the only way in; Tech remains an industry where, for example, participating in open source projects or hacking collectives can serve as a valuable calling card.

Still, Infosec is becoming increasingly professionalized, meaning institutions are offering more formal credentials. Many universities now offer itCompleted studies with a focus on information security. These programs may be best suited for those who are already in the field and want to expand their knowledge and prove they have what it takes to climb the corporate ladder.

At the other end of the spectrum are infosec free and low-cost online courses, many of which are fairly narrowly focused. The world of online education is something of a wild west; Tripwire breaks downeleven renowned providersOffer information security courses that could be worth your time and effort.

Information security certifications

If you're already in this field and want to keep up to date with the latest developments - both for yourself and as a signal to potential employers - you might want to look into an information security certification. Top information security analyst certifications include:

Many of the online courses Tripwire lists are designed to prepare you for these certification exams. Good luck with your exploration!


(Video) Top 20 Information Security Analyst Interview Questions and Answers for 2023

  • Data and information security
  • Security

Josh Fruhlinger is a writer and editor based in Los Angeles.


Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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Why is information security important answer? ›

The Importance Of Information Security

Every organization needs protection against cyber attacks and security threats. Cybercrime and malware are constant threats to anyone with an Internet presence, and data breaches are time-consuming and expensive.

What is information security definition principles and jobs? ›

Information security refers to the processes and methodologies which are designed and implemented to protect print, electronic, or any other form of confidential, private and sensitive information or data from unauthorized access, use, misuse, disclosure, destruction, modification, or disruption.

What is information security short answer? ›

Information security, often referred to as InfoSec, refers to the processes and tools designed and deployed to protect sensitive business information from modification, disruption, destruction, and inspection.

What are the three most important principles of information security? ›

The CIA triad refers to an information security model made up of the three main components: confidentiality, integrity and availability. Each component represents a fundamental objective of information security.

What is information security with example? ›

Passwords, network and host-based firewalls, network intrusion detection systems, access control lists, and data encryption are examples of logical controls.

What is the role of information security? ›

Security and Information Compliance Officers

Ensure related compliance requirements are addressed, e.g., privacy, security, and administrative regulations associated with federal and state laws. Ensure appropriate risk mitigation and control processes for security incidents as required.

What is your definition of information security? ›

The term 'information security' means protecting information and information systems from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction in order to provide integrity, confidentiality, and availability.

What are the 5 principles of information security management? ›

There are 5 principles of information assurance:
  • Availability.
  • Integrity.
  • Confidentiality.
  • Authentication.
  • Nonrepudiation.
Mar 31, 2022

What are the 6 principles of information security? ›

The Six Principles of Information SecurityManagement•The fundamental principles of informationsecurity include:•Confidentiality•Privacy•Quality•Availability•Trustworthiness•Integrity (Twomey, 2010).

What is information security quizlet? ›

Information Security. The protection of information and information systems from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, modification, disruption, removal or destruction.

How do you manage information security? ›

Information security management involves identifying the potential risks to an organization, assessing their likelihood and potential impact, and developing and implementing remediation strategies designed to decrease risk as much as possible with available resources.

How do you ensure information security? ›

Here are some practical steps you can take today to tighten up your data security.
  1. Back up your data. ...
  2. Use strong passwords. ...
  3. Take care when working remotely. ...
  4. Be wary of suspicious emails. ...
  5. Install anti-virus and malware protection. ...
  6. Don't leave paperwork or laptops unattended. ...
  7. Make sure your Wi-Fi is secure.
Aug 8, 2022

What are the three important types of security? ›

These include management security, operational security, and physical security controls.

What are 2 examples of security? ›

Equity securities – which includes stocks. Debt securities – which includes bonds and banknotes. Derivatives – which includes options and futures.

How important is information security in our daily lives? ›

Cybersecurity is important because it protects all categories of data from theft and damage. This includes sensitive data, personally identifiable information (PII), protected health information (PHI), personal information, intellectual property, data, and governmental and industry information systems.

What is the full meaning of security? ›

1. the state of being or feeling secure; freedom from fear, anxiety, danger, doubt, etc.; state or sense of safety or certainty. 2. something that gives or assures safety, tranquillity, certainty, etc.; protection; safeguard.

What is the types of information security? ›

Types of Information Security

While Information Security can be of numerous types, the most commonly used in the IT sector include: Application Security. Infrastructure Security. Cloud Security.

What is the difference between security and information security? ›

While cyber security deals with protecting the information in cyberspace, information security means protecting the data in cyberspace and beyond. In other words, the Internet or the endpoint device may only be part of the larger picture.

What is the definition of security principles? ›

Security Principles. Security principles denote the basic guidelines that should be used when designing a secure system. Experience shows that a crucial success factor in the design of a secure system is the correct consideration of security principles.

What are basic security principles? ›

There are four basic security principles: access, authentication, authorization, and accounting. Access. Use physical and software controls to protect your hardware or data from intrusion. For hardware, access limits usually mean physical access limits.

What are the 7 types of security? ›

There are essentially seven issues associated human security. These are economic security, food security, health security environmental security, personal security, community security, and political security.

What are the four important roles of information security? ›

It protects the organisation's ability to function. It enables the safe operation of applications implemented on the organisation's IT systems. It protects the data the organisation collects and uses. It safeguards the technology the organisation uses.

What are the 10 principles of cybersecurity? ›

10 steps to an effective approach to cyber security
  • Risk management regime. ...
  • Secure configuration. ...
  • Network security. ...
  • Managing user privileges. ...
  • User education and awareness. ...
  • Incident management. ...
  • Malware prevention. ...
  • Monitoring.

What do you understand the purpose of information security quizlet? ›

Protecting an organization's information and information systems from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction.

What is information security and intelligence? ›

ISI students focus on cybersecurity, information assurance, compliance and auditing, business intelligence, incident response, and project management. The ISI programs are designated as a National Security Agency Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense.

Is information security a part of cyber security? ›

Is cybersecurity a subset of information security? Yes. Information security involves the protection of data across all mediums, and cybersecurity hones in on the protection of data stored in cyberspace.

What are risks in information security? ›

Information security risk comprises the impacts to an organization and its stakeholders that could occur due to the threats and vulnerabilities associated with the operation and use of information systems and the environments in which those systems operate.

What are the information security processes? ›

Although the Information Security process has many strategies and activities, we can group them all into three distinct phases - prevention, detection, and response.

What is the most important thing in security? ›

The Most Important Thing in Security

That is why the most crucial thing in security is security infrastructure. Security infrastructure includes security systems, access control, authentication systems, and surveillance equipment that provide a comprehensive security solution for businesses.

How many levels of information security are there? ›

The security levels are High, Medium, or Low. The security level is used in the Information Security standards to determine whether a security control is required, recommended, or optional at that level.

What is the most important part of security? ›

Visibility, mitigation, prioritization, and encryption — these are the most important elements to security right now.

Why is information security important to employees? ›

It helps protect the company's data, systems, and networks from malicious attacks and cyber threats. Security Awareness Training helps employees understand the importance of cybersecurity and teaches them how to identify potential threats and respond appropriately.

Why is information security important in education? ›

Cyberattacks not only compromise the safety and security of teachers and school administrations, but also the privacy of students—particularly minors in K–12 institutions.

What is the #1 threat to information security? ›

1. Insider threats. An insider threat occurs when individuals close to an organization who have authorized access to its network intentionally or unintentionally misuse that access to negatively affect the organization's critical data or systems.

What is your greatest strength in security? ›

Example: "My ability to follow procedures is my greatest strength as a security officer. For each security job I've had in the past, I've been diligent about learning each company's policies.

What are the basic principles of information security? ›

Confidentiality, integrity, and availability are the core information security principles (CIA). Together, these three principles are read as the CIA triad.

Who is responsible for information security? ›

Information Security analyst Role

Information security analysts are responsible for protecting the digital assets of a company. They ensure that both the online and on-premise data which includes infrastructure, metrics and more are safe from any kind of malicious intervention.

How is information security achieved? ›

Information security is achieved through a structured risk management process that: Identifies information, related assets and the threats, vulnerability and impact of unauthorized access. Evaluates risks. Makes decisions about how to address or treat risks i.e. avoid, mitigate, share or accept.

Why is data and information security important? ›

Data security is also important because if a data breach occurs, an organization can be exposed to litigation, fines, and reputational damage. Due to a lack of adequate data security practices, data breaches can occur and expose organizations to financial loss, a decrease in consumer confidence, and brand erosion.

What is the role of information assurance and security in your daily life? ›

Information assurance security focuses primarily on information in its digital form; however, it also encompasses analog or physical forms. IA is important to organizations because it ensures that user data is protected both in transit and throughout storage.


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