Information Security: Is your business running on fumes?
Many organizations are still failing to recognize the importance of Information Security to the continued success of their business operations and as a result, only recognize the importance at the time that their important information is suddenly unavailable.
If you think of your business as being the engine of a motor vehicle, the information being the fuel that keeps the engine running, and the information systems being the supporting fuel system; Information Security is the process by which the fuel system is used correctly, to ensure that the fuel continues to be safely collected, transmitted, processed, stored and displayed (fuel gauge).
The fuel system needs to be correctly used and maintained to ensure that the right type and quality of fuel is delivered to keep the engine running.
Fuel System Maintenance
Imagine, if you will, a poorly maintained fuel system or someone that has not been taught which type of fuel is the most appropriate for the engine.
Imagine if you were to put diesel fuel into the fuel tank of a vehicle with a petrol (gas) fueled engine (or vice versa), the wrong grade of fuel, or to try running an engine on old degraded/contaminated fuel.
The performance of that engine would be severely impacted.
Fuel Filler Cap
The integrity and security of the fuel filler cap is essential to ensure that access to the stored fuel is strictly limited, preventing potential contamination or theft and ensuring that there are no blockages that could prevent the refilling of the fuel tank, as the fuel levels get low.
A compromise of the fuel filler cap could compromise the integrity and availability of the fuel.
The fuel tank is an integral part of the fuel system, safeguarding the stored fuel and needs to be maintained to help prevent corrosion or puncturing.
A compromised fuel tank could lead to the leakage of fuel, which would lead to additional costs (refueling), safety concerns (ignition), and engine starvation.
Fuel Lines & Fuel Pump
The continual delivery of fuel to the engine is reliant on the integrity of the fuel lines, disseminating the fuel from the fuel tank, at the opposite end of the vehicle, to the engine.
Inoperable Fuel Lines and Fuel Pumps prevent the availability of fuel for the engine.
The fuel gauge provides a quick indication as to the status of the vehicle's fuel, allowing the driver to risk assess whether they are at a greater risk of running out of fuel and breaking down.
With this information, they can make an informed decision as to when they might need to stop to refuel the vehicle. As the risk of fuel starvation increases, the fuel gauge will provide an additional notification, by way of a warning indicator light.
A faulty fuel gauge increases the probability of the vehicle running out of fuel and the engine coming to a grinding halt.
Start looking at your business as being a vehicle to get you from point A to point B. In order to achieve this, you need good quality fuel (data) and a well-maintained supporting fuel system. Consequently, these are an extremely important part of your business's ability to perform at its best.
With the importance of these supporting Information Systems, you should consider a maintenance program that involves continual systems monitoring, a program of periodic inspections, and the management of good quality data.
An effective Information Security management strategy should provide appropriate assurances to the business leaders (driver), in regard to the data and information systems status.
If you want to maintain performance, you need to have an effective maintenance program to ensure continual delivery of the right type and quantity of fuel, when it is required.
Without such a program, it is only a matter of time until your fuel system becomes compromised and you end up stranded at the side of the road, delaying your journeys, as you face the additional impact and costs from waiting for recovery or the lengthy delays of having to walk to the nearest fuel (gas) station.
Appropriate investment in the maintenance of your business' information systems should be an integral part of your business operations.
That is, of course, unless you do not appreciate the value of good maintenance!