How to Establish and Maintain Information Security Architectures




The increasing number of cases related to cyber-crime and data breach has made it not just important but extremely crucial for organizations across industries to establish and maintain seamless information security architectures. According to Insights report on Ransomware by BitSight, Ransomware is rapidly becoming the most common type of malware affecting security systems worldwide. Ransomware is a serious and legitimate threat to organizations.

The US Justice Department estimated that over 4000 Ransomware cyber-attacks occur daily ever since the beginning of 2016. These attacks rolled in nearly $1 billion at the end of 2016. Internet Security Threat Report 2017 published by Symantec revealed that Ransomware authors earned $1,077 average profit per victim last year with the profit margin increasing by 266% since 2015. In 2017 Ransomware shifted dramatically by introducing two new self-propagating threats—Petya and WannaCry. Both outbreaks have caused global panic by catching hundreds of organizations off-guard—infecting corporate networks and security architectures badly.

These reports and figures are indicative of a dire need for foolproof information security architecture. Here’s what your cyber security team of IT and penetration testing engineers should focus on when developing information security architecture for your business:

Step 1 — Perform Security Assessments

Security assessment is performed to check the current status of your security architecture by evaluating threats against & vulnerabilities within the system. This is a comprehensive evaluation covering all levels of security architectures including data, application and infrastructure. It involves:

  • Identification of all security components (critical and non-critical) such as IDS, applications, databases, Firewalls, proxy and etc
  • Identification of vulnerabilities, security issues and potential threats to every component    
  • Implementation of BIA (Business Impact Analysis) to determine adequate administrative and technical controls
  • Performing security risk analysis

As each component of the security architecture is assessed individually it helps develop architectures within the information security architectures thereby allowing the analytical team to view at security from a hierarchical perspective, and also, an independent viewpoint.  

Step 2 — Formulating Target Designs for Security Architecture

Based on the findings from step 1, target designs are formulated. These designs help make much needed architectural changes to the current information security architecture design, and policies. It is vital to create 2 types of security designs—logical and physical for layered protection.

Let’s dig deeper for better understanding:

Firstly, a logical architecture is needed to implement security in all the identified architectures. This structure mostly includes technology, people and processes. It comprises of antivirus policies, perimeter security, DRP (Disaster Recovery Plan), security administration, data security, application security and infrastructure security.

Physical architecture target designs are inclusive of diagrams illustrating mail gateways, modem pools, DMZ (Demiliterized Zone), Firewalls, proxies and IP addressing schemes.

Step 3 — Defining Procedures and Policies  

Once you have determined the proposed design and security components to be integrated, the third step is construction of procedures and polices stating what information system components need to be protected. It should be laid down in a systematic format starting with organizational policies, and then departmental policies. These policies will help in security compliance much needed to maintain the established information security architectures keeping potential cyber security attacks and threats at bay.

According to Global Threat Intelligence Center (GTIC) Quarterly Threat Intelligence Report the most common vector for nearly 67 percent of malware intrusion was email.

So, this is the phase where you need to clearly define the policies laying down the security ground rules about phishing emails, browsing illegal sites and downloading material that could be malicious.

Step 4 — Implementation of the Security Architecture Target Design

Once the design and policies are finalized, act upon it and implement. However, make sure that you have a plan that clearly defines funding, timelines, and resources to implement the necessary changes in a timely manner. Remember, timing is key because delaying can hurt your business as hackers could be planning to break into your systems before you know it.

To ensure the entire process is smooth, quick and stress-free, you need a multifaceted team comprising of security analysts and auditors, security architects, penetration testing engineers, and security system engineers. This is the team you need to create, implement and maintain information security architecture.

However, if you’re a startup or a small sized business owner, having such a multifaceted team can take time. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t strengthen your system security. What you can do is provide cyber security training to your staff members. Enroll them in cyber security training courses available online such as Information Systems Security Officer certification program.

CISSP certification is one of the popular and recognized cyber security certification programs. This cyber security certification online course provides deep technical and managerial knowledge to effectively create, design, engineer and manage strong security architectures. This certification program covers a broad spectrum of security topics and simultaneously ensures its relevancy across all the disciplines in information security. It covers the eight main and most important security domains including:

  • Software Development Security
  • Security Operations
  • Security Engineering
  • Security Assessment & Testing
  • Security and Risk Management
  • Identity & Access Management
  • Communications & Network Security
  • Asset Security

By enrolling your team in this certification program, you’ll make a great investment for the safety and security of your organization. As it provides complete information and knowledge, you can be confident that upon completion of the program, you’ll have a team of certified staff ready to protect your organization from hackers and potential cyber security threats.

About The Author
Muzzammil
Product Manager at QuickStart

Muzzammil Hanif

With over 8 years of experience in the IT industry, Muzzammil is a tried and tested expert at product management. He has a special interest in InfoSec related certifications and courses, and has his finger on the pulse of the latest developments in the cyber security industry. When he is not working, he likes to watch movies and spend time with his family.