This post introduces a common measure you can take to protect your digital assets and systems; an Information Security Management System, or ISMS.

What is an ISMS?

So what exactly is an Information Security Management System (ISMS)?

Organisations concerned with the management of information use an ISMS as the framework for providing guidance in all aspects of the security of their information and systems.

It is a detailed description of what systems, processes and policies are in place to protect your technology assets. In other words – guidelines on what you need to do to maintain secure systems.

A well constructed ISMS can: prevent security breaches, minimise the impact of breaches, speed the recovery from security incidents.

Does this apply to me?

On the face of it, an ISMS appears to be something that is valid only for large corporate organisations. After all, large companies typically have policies on just about anything to enable them to navigate the complex world of legislation and compliance. The myth is that smaller because companies don’t have the same compliance obligations, they don’t need to get bogged down by unnecessary policy and procedure.

Larger organisations do tend to need a more complex framework because they have more moving parts to them. But a security framework can be scaled to fit mid-size organisations and even small businesses, so there is value for everyone from having a formal structure to combat the threat of cyber-breach.

Benefits of an ISMS

In addition to providing a robust security framework, there are four obvious business benefits that a company can achieve with the implementation of an ISMS:

  • Comply with legal requirements– there is an ever-increasing number of legislations,  regulations and contractual requirements relating to information security. Most of the challenge can be resolved by implementing an ISMS, giving you a methodology to comply with all of these.
  • Achieve competitive advantage– if your company is seen to be certified or aligned to  an established ISMS to protect its systems and technology, you may have an advantage over competitors who are not. This is especially important when dealing with customers who are sensitive about keeping their information safe.
  • Lower costs– the under-pinning philosophy of an ISMS is to prevent security incidents from happening. By preventing them, or having mechanisms to recover quickly, your company will save money. Investment in an ISMS is potentially far smaller than the cost savings you’ll achieve.
  • Better organisation– typically, fast-growing companies don’t have the time to stop and define their processes and procedures. As a consequence, very often employees are unsure what needs to be done, when, and by whom. Implementation of an ISMS helps clarify such situations because it encourages companies to define their main security related processes, reducing hesitation and delay for their employees when incidents do occur.

More To Come...

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