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Information technology (IT) permeates all aspects of IT Security. Safeguarding information and information systems is essential to preserving the ability of the corporate to perform its missions and meet its responsibilities to students, faculty, staff, and the citizens whom it serves. We as an Digital Edge practices this with real IT Terminologies that been driven by IT Experts and yet they remain the best practices too.
Familiarity with the following terms will help users of information technology to better understand their responsibilities for IT security.
The degree to which a security failure has the potential to result in harm or loss. The impact of a potential risk may be identified by the responses to the following questions:
Incidents that cause limited damage to operations or assets and that do not involve risk for individuals. These incidents require minor corrective actions or repairs within the designated custodial structure and communication is frequently required only within the affected unit.
Incidents that cause short-term degradation or partial loss of the Organization's mission capability; that affect or disadvantage only subsets of the Organization community; or result in limited loss or damage to significant assets. These incidents require corrective actions or repairs that can normally be handled within the designated custodial structure, usually involves only internal communications, and normally will not require the involvement of high-level administration.
Incidents that cause an extensive loss of the Organization's mission capability; result in a loss of major assets; pose a significant threat to the well-being of large numbers of individuals or to human life; or damage the reputation of the Organization. These incidents require substantial allocation of human resources to correct; may require communication to external agencies or law enforcement and the public; and often require the involvement of high-level administration within the Organization.
A source of danger; a possibility of incurring loss or damage. In general, risk is a composite of three factors: threats, vulnerabilities, and impact (see definitions of these terms in this section).
In information technology security, a systematic process used to determine the potential for any given information system to be subject to loss and to assess the impact of that loss. Risk assessment involves determining potential for and impact of a negative event by evaluating the nature of the information and information systems.
Factors used to determine the level of risk include the effect of the loss on the Organization's strategic missions; the extent of loss to major information systems; the potential for injury or damage to individual(s); the inconvenience or loss of productivity for subsets of the Organization community; the potential for damage to the Organization's reputation; the level of administrative involvement required; and the level at which the security problem can be resolved.
Action taken to reduce risk to an acceptable level. An analysis evaluating costs, benefits, and impacts to the Organization will be critical in determining what, if any, action should be taken. Some options to reduce risk include:
Accepting the potential risk and continuing operations of the IT system.
Risk mitigation by eliminating a risk cause and/or consequence.
Risk mitigation by implementing controls reducing the negative impact of a threat exercising a vulnerability.
Risk mitigation by using other options to compensate for a loss due to a security incident.
The state of being free from unacceptable risk. IT security focuses on reducing the risk of computing systems, communications systems, and information being misused, destroyed, or modified, or for information to be disclosed inappropriately either by intent or accident.
An accidental or malicious act that exercises a vulnerability resulting in the potential of a negative impact.
Actions or events that potentially compromise the confidentiality, integrity, availability, or authorized use.
These threats may be human or non-human, natural, accidental, or deliberate. Examples:-
Acts of malice by individuals or groups; purposeful or malicious use of information or information systems.Natural or physical disasters such as fire, flood, hardware failures. Unintentional oversight, action, or inaction; data left open to unauthorized access; accidental deletion of data files; inadequate data backup procedures.
Security exposures that increase the potential for a failure of security. A narrow technical definition includes only those exposures created by software or hardware design. However, a broader definition includes exposure that can be inherent to an activity or practice. Examples:
Software or hardware that allows unauthorized access to information or information systems.
Business practices such as collecting and storing personal information that could, if revealed, be damaging to individuals.
Personal practices or procedures such as improperly protecting one's password or providing inadequate physical environments for IT systems.
All faculty members, staff, students, and others using Organization-owned and affiliated IT systems have the responsibility to protect information and resources as indicated by the following objectives:
Confidentiality provides protection of information from either intentional or accidental attempts to access personal or Organization information by unauthorized entities. Confidentiality covers data in storage, during processing, and in transit. State and federal laws and regulations require the Organization to take reasonable steps to ensure security of some classifications of data (e.g., FERPA, HIPAA, GLBA).
Integrity requires protection against either intentional or accidental attempts by unauthorized entities to alter data or modify information systems to impede it from performing its intended function. Integrity requires maintaining the Organization's reputation to manage the resources entrusted to it.
Availability ensures timely and reliable access to and use of data and information technology resources to carry on the mission of the Organization. These resources include assets such as intellectual property, research and instructional data and systems, and physical assets.
Authorized use guards against use of Iowa State Organization systems and infrastructure for malicious acts against its own systems as well as attacks against other individuals and organizations.
The above IT security objectives apply to a broad range of Organization assets and activities. The following assets and activities are within the scope of the IT Security policy:
The hardware, software, and IT infrastructure assets of the Organization represent significant monetary investments. The value of these assets is not only in their purchase costs, but also in the personnel time spent to develop them into functioning systems.
Information can include personal records about students, employees, alumni, or others; financial and business information; archives of historic significance; critical, classified, and irreproducible research data; and other information of critical significance to the operation and prestige of the Organization. Legal and policy guidelines impact the security practices that must be exercised for various types of data.
Procedures include the processes, steps, and forms that guide the activities and interactions of faculty, staff, and students. Included are the procedures used by IT support staff and management personnel with regard to systems, data, physical assets, and communication information.
These assets include premises occupied by IT personnel and equipment.
The environment includes environmental controls, power, physical security devices, etc.
Communications systems include communication equipment, personnel, transmission paths, and adjacent areas.
The Office of the Chief Information Officer has overall responsibility for the security of the Organization's information technologies. Implementation of security policies is delegated throughout the Organization to various Organization services (noted below); to colleges, departments, and other units; and to individual users of campus IT resources
Service units within the Organization are charged with the primary responsibility and authority to ensure that Iowa State Organization meets external and internal requirements for privacy and security of specific types of confidential and business information (e.g., student educational records, personnel records, health records, financial transaction data). These units are responsible for other general security issues and for assisting in the development of Organization IT security policies, standards and best practices in the areas of their responsibility. They are also responsible for advising colleges, departments, units, and individuals in security practices relating to these areas:
Colleges, departments, and other units are responsible for securing any information they create, manage, or store, and for any information they acquire or access from other Organization systems (e.g., student educational records, personnel records, business information). This responsibility includes completing periodic risk assessments, developing and implementing appropriate security practices, and complying with all aspects of this policy.
Third party vendors providing hosted services, sometimes referred to as Application Service Providers, and vendors providing support, whether on campus or from a remote location, are subject to Iowa State Organization security policies and will be required to acknowledge this in the contractual agreements. The vendors are subject to the same auditing and risk assessment requirements as colleges, departments, and other units. All contracts, audits and risk assessments involving third party vendors will be reviewed and approved by the Organization service units based on their area of responsibility.
Every member of the Organization community is responsible for protecting the security of Organization information and information systems by adhering to the objectives and requirements stated within published Organization policies. In addition, individuals are required to comply with the additional security policies, procedures, and practices established by colleges, departments or other units. Failure to comply with established policies and practices may result in loss of computing privileges and/or disciplinary action.
Students, faculty, and staff who use personally-owned systems to access Organization resources are responsible for the security of their personally-owned computers or other network devices and are subject to the following:The provisions of the IT Security policy and the standards, procedures, and guidelines established by IT Services for Organization computing and network facilities.All other laws, regulations, or policies directed at the individual user.
Any entity that is a registered user and connected to the Organization network is responsible for the security of its computers and network devices and is subject to the following:
The provisions of the IT Security policy and the standards, procedures, and guidelines established by IT Services for Organization computing and network facilities.All other laws, regulations, or policies directed at the organization and its individual users.
Reporting security breaches or other security-related incidents is an ethical responsibility of all members of the Iowa State Organization community. A critical component of security is to address security breaches promptly and with the appropriate level of action. The IT Security Incident Reporting Policy outlines the responsibilities of colleges, departments, units, and individuals in reporting as well as defining procedures for handling security incidents.
The purpose of risk assessment is to help ensure that threats and vulnerabilities are identified, the greatest risks are considered, and appropriate decisions are made regarding the risks to assume and those to mitigate through security controls. Risk assessments will be conducted at various levels as found under Security Roles and Responsibilities.
The following key factors will guide the process to insure a successful risk assessment program:
A Organization department or unit will be designated as responsible for conducting a risk assessment and at a prescribed frequency in the Schedule of Risk Assessments for Information Security.
Risk assessments will involve both the administrative department responsible for the business operation and the technical staff supporting the systems.
Final sign-off by the department head of the organization doing the risk assessment indicating agreement with risk acceptance and risk reduction decisions.
Documentation of risk assessments and resulting actions will be placed on file for audit and accountability purposes.
All units-from the Organization level through the college, department, and unit level-must provide opportunities for individuals to learn about their roles in creating a secure IT environment. Creating a heightened awareness of the importance of information technology security is an important component in establishing an environment in which each individual feels both responsible and empowered to act in their own and the community's best interests.
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SAMPLE OF THE IT SECURITY POLICY
IT Security Policy redefined