What Is IT Security?
Were you told by your organization that you can’t use Zoom, Slack, your preferred mail client, etc?
IT security encompasses a broad range of strategies and technologies to safeguard computer systems, networks, and data from unauthorized access, malware, and data breaches. That involves implementing different measures like vulnerability assessments, access control, data encryption, intrusion detection systems, and network segmentation, just to mention a few. Read on to learn more about IT security measures.
Types of IT Security in an Organization
The first line of defense against external threats is perimeter security. In order to monitor and control the organization's network, a variety of measures need to be implemented, including firewalls, intrusion detection systems (IDS), and intrusion prevention systems (IPS).
- Firewalls act as a barrier between the internal network and the external world, It’s meant to filter incoming and outgoing traffic based on predefined rules.
- IDS and IPS are designed to detect and prevent unauthorized access attempts or malicious activities within the network.
It’s intended to secure individual devices ‒ laptops, desktops, smartphones, and tablets ‒ that connect to the organization's network. The goal is to detect and prevent malware infections, unauthorized access attempts, and data breaches on these devices. Endpoint security involves implementing antivirus software, anti-malware solutions, as well as host-based intrusion detection systems (HIDS).
This fundamental IT security measure makes sure that only authorized individuals have access to sensitive resources and information. How do you achieve this? You need to implement authentication mechanisms like passwords, two-factor authentication (2FA), and biometric authentication. That’s a secure way to verify the identity of users. In addition, access control includes role-based access control (RBAC) and privilege management as well.
To protect sensitive information from unauthorized access or interception, data encryption involves converting data into an unreadable format using encryption algorithms and keys. This way, data will become unintelligible to anyone without the decryption key. Organizations commonly implement encryption for:
- Data at rest (stored data)
- Data in transit (data transmitted over networks), and
- Data in use (data processed by applications or users)
Security Awareness and Training
Despite being an overlooked aspect of IT security, the human factor plays a vital role. This is where security awareness and training programs come in! The aim is to educate employees about the importance of IT security, common threats, and best practices for securely handling data. Through these programs, employees can find out how to recognize potential security incidents, avoid phishing attacks, and adhere to security policies.
Incident Response and Management
Even though the best preventive measures are implemented, security incidents can still occur. That’s why incident response and management should be employed. With a well-defined plan and processes in place, it’s much easier to detect, respond to, and recover from security incidents. This includes establishing incident response teams, conducting regular security audits, analyzing security alerts, and implementing incident response tools.
It’s a good idea to divide an organization’s network into smaller, isolated segments so that each of them has its own security controls and access restrictions. That can help contain the impact of a security breach by limiting lateral movement within the network. It can be achieved through the use of virtual local area networks (VLANs), firewalls, and access control lists (ACLs).