GDPR compliance

How to Improve Data Security & Data Privacy

What are the biggest challenges currently facing data security and privacy? 

As organizations embark on digital transformation, there is a clear need for enterprise data privacy and protection. New data privacy laws and the growing enforcement of existing regulations challenge organizations. And most organizations face rapid data growth and proliferation across the enterprise. Organizations have more data, more use cases, and more locations than ever before

First what is data privacy?

Data privacy and data protection are very closely interconnected, so much so that users often think of them as synonymous. But the distinctions between data privacy vs. data protection are fundamental to understanding how one complements the other. Privacy concerns arise wherever personally identifiable information is collected, stored, or used.

Second what is data security?

Data security is about securing data against unauthorized access. Data privacy is about authorized access — who has it and who defines it. Another way to look at it is this: data protection is essentially a technical issue, whereas data privacy is a legal one.

Data encryption ensure only privilege users has access

Data encryption isn't just for the technical advanced; modern tools make it possible for anyone to encrypt emails and other information. "Encryption used to be the sole province of geeks and mathematicians, but a lot has changed in recent years. In particular, various publicly available tools have taken the rocket science out of encrypting (and decrypting) email and files. based on what your need are our firm can help you implement the right technologies to ensure data security.

Stronger Password and Multi-factor Authentication

Password and Multi-Factor are essential when protecting data and data privacy from unauthorized users, or attackers. unfortunately many user don’t understand the importance of passwords. So much so that the 20 most commonly used passwords not only contain highly insecure passwords like the word “password”, they also account for a whopping 10.3% of all passwords that are being used. CyberSecOp recommend creating passwords that contain a minimum of 8 characters. If your password protects something sensitive, like access to your bank account, then use a minimum of 12 characters. all password should contain at lease one upper and lower case, and a symbol. don’t use the same passwords for every site, you can use difference variations of the password making it easier to recall. Example: Chase Bank : Iwanttolive1o8chase% Facebook:Iw@nttoliv3fb.

Enable two-factor authentication.

On top of having good passwords, consider enabling two-factor authentication when you sign into your email, bank website or any other sensitive account. When using two-factor authentication, a code will be sent to your phone when you sign in. You then input the code to access your account. Hackers likely don’t have access to your phone, so this can be a great way to add a layer of password security and data security. It may feel like additional work, but the extra protection can go a long way.

All organization needs an Ethical Hacker team like CyberSecOp

An ethical hacker is one who mimics the actions of a malicious hacker so as to detect security risks in advance and thus prevent breaches and attacks.

Any organization or business can hire the services of an ethical hacker to test/monitor the organization’s defenses, perform IT health checks and penetration tests, to assess the security of the systems and to evaluate the overall security of the organization’s network. An ethical hacker can provide valuable help to an organization by detecting vulnerabilities in a system/network on time and thus prevent the exploitation of data (customer data, financial data and other sensitive data), which could happen as a result of cybercriminals exploiting the vulnerabilities.

Backup is an essential part of data security

Backups are most often overlooked, data protection and backing up your data is essential when you have a major security event such has ransomware. Basically, this creates a duplicate copy of your data so that if a device is lost, stolen, or compromised, you don't also lose your important information. It's best to create a backup on a different device, such as an external hard drive, so that you can easily recover your information when the original device becomes compromised. It is critical that once the backup has complete to physically disconnect the backup device for the system, if the backup drive stay connected and your system becomes affect by ransomware, your backup data could also be affected.

Data Security, Data Privacy & Compliance

CyberSecOp can provide guidance and assistance with addressing privacy and data security practices, as well as to ensure that the practices and program implemented are compliant with relevant laws and regulations. The EU and some US Federal agencies, including the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), have been promulgating updated guidelines and recommendations for privacy and data security best practices in a variety of industries, including some of the newer Internet of Things and peer platform (sharing economy) marketplaces. Additionally, several industry groups have adopted self-regulatory programs and rules, including certification programs, to which a company can voluntarily abide.

In view of these guidelines and others, companies are further encouraged to establish internal policies and procedures to ensure compliance. Business policies may include a top-level information security and privacy policy, which expresses a commitment to data security and privacy from the top-level officers of a company, a risk management program, an acceptable use policy, access compartmentalization, communications monitoring, breach reporting, a document retention policy and outsourcing policies. Technical policies may include a variety of commitments to technical controls to ensure the protection of data, including encryption, passwords, authentication protocols, disaster recover, intrusion detection, physical security, patching and the like.

Addressing Cyber Threats and Enabling Security in your Enterprise

Cybersecurity threats from hacktivists, criminals, and hostile nation states are enough to keep government officials, businesses, and consumers up at night. These attacks are growing in sophistication and frequency and pose serious threats to our national and economic security.

Everyone impacted by these vicious and dangerous acts must work together to help prevent, protect against, and effectively respond to them.

What are the biggest cyber threats CISOs are worried about in 2019? In today's age of breaches, staying ahead of cyber threats is becoming more critical than ever. Dive into how organizations are addressing the threat of cyber attacks, how they are measuring risk, and what they are doing about improving security from some of the top experts in the field.

  1. Ransomware is still a large risk, affecting a large number of businesses

  2. Data Loss and Data Breach based on information available on dark web, proves that organization can’t protect customers data.

  3. Small business with no security program are at risk more than large organization.

  4. All industry need to have some type of cyber regulations based on secure standards such as NIST or ISO.

What can business do, to enable a stronger security posture in their enterprise

Businesses adopt standalone cyber insurance policies as boards and executives wake up to cyber liability. As boards and executives experience and witness the impact of cyber attacks, including reduced earnings, operational disruption, and claims brought against directors and officers, businesses will turn to tailored enterprise cyber insurance policies, rather than relying on “silent” components in other policies. Adoption will spread beyond traditional buyers of cyber insurance, such as retail, financial, and healthcare sectors, to others vulnerable to cyber-related business disruption, including manufacturing, transportation, utility, and oil and gas.

As the physical and cyber worlds collide, chief risk officers take center stage to manage cyber as an enterprise risk. As sophisticated cyber attacks generate real-world consequences that impact business operations at increasing scale, C-suites will wake up to the enterprise nature of cyber risk. In 2018, expect CROs to have a seat at the cyber table, working closely with chief information security officers (CISOs) to help organizations understand the holistic impact of cyber risk on the business.

Regulatory spotlight widens and becomes more complex, provoking calls for harmonization. EU holds global companies to account over General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) violation; big data aggregators come under scrutiny in the U.S. In 2018, regulators at the international, national and local levels will more strictly enforce existing cybersecurity regulations and introduce new regulations. Expect to see EU regulators holding major U.S. and global companies to account for GDPR violations. Across the Atlantic, big data organizations (aggregators and resellers) will come under scrutiny on how they are collecting, using, and securing data. Industry organizations will push back on regulators, calling for alignment of cyber regulations.

Criminals look to attack businesses embracing the Internet of Things, in particular targeting small to mid-sized businesses providing services to global organizations. In 2018, global organizations will need to consider the increased complexities when it comes to how businesses are using the IoT in relation to third-party risk management. The report predicts large companies will be brought down by an attack on a small vendor or contractor that targets the IoT, using it as a way into their network. This will serve as a wake-up call for large organizations to update their third-party risk management, and for small and mid-sized businesses to implement better security measures or risk losing business.

As passwords continue to be hacked, and attackers circumvent physical biometrics, multi-factor authentication becomes more important than ever before. Beyond passwords, companies are implementing new methods of authentication – from facial recognition to fingerprints. However, these technologies are still vulnerable and as such, the report anticipates that a new wave of companies will embrace multi-factor authentication to combat the assault on passwords and attacks targeting biometrics. This will require individuals to present several pieces of evidence to an authentication instrument. With the new need for multi-factor authentication, and consumer demand for unobtrusive layers of security, expect to see the implementation of behavioral biometrics.

Criminals will target transactions that use reward points as currency, spurring mainstream adoption of bug bounty programs: Companies beyond the technology, government, automotive and financial services sectors will introduce bug bounty platforms into their security programs. As criminals target transactions that use points as currency, businesses with loyalty, gift and rewards programs –such as airlines, retailers, and hospitality providers– will be the next wave of companies implementing bug bounty programs. As more organizations adopt the programs, they will require support from external experts to avoid introducing new risks with improperly configured programs.

Ransomware attackers get targeted; crypto currencies help ransomware industry flourish. In 2018, ransomware criminals will evolve their tactics. The reports predicts that attackers utilizing forms of benign malware—such as software designed to cause DDoS attacks or launch display ads on thousands of systems— will launch huge outbreaks of ransomware. While attackers will continue to launch scatter-gun-style attacks to disrupt as many systems as possible, the report predicts an increase in instances of attacks targeting specific companies and demanding ransomware payments proportional to the value of the encrypted assets. Crypto currencies will continue to support the flourishing ransomware industry overall, despite law enforcement becoming more advanced in their ability to trace attacks, for example through bitcoin wallets.

Insider risks plague organizations as they underestimate their severe vulnerability and liability while major attacks fly under the radar. In 2017, businesses under invested in proactive insider risk mitigation strategies, and 2018 will be no different. According to the report, a continued lack of security training and technical controls, coupled with the changing dynamics of the modern workforce, the full extent of cyber attacks and incidents caused by insiders will not become fully public. Many companies will continue to reactively responding to incidents behind closed doors and remain unaware of the true cost and impact of insider risk on the organization.

Facebook Data Taken- Breach

SAN FRANCISCO – Facebook says 30 million fewer accounts were breached than originally thought in one of the worst security incidents at the giant social network – 30 million instead of 50 million – but attackers made off with sensitive personal information from nearly half of those users that could put them at serious risk, including phone number and email address, recent searches on Facebook, location history and the types of devices people used to access the service.

Hackers got their hands on data from 30 million accounts as part of last month's attack, Facebook disclosed Friday. Facebook originally estimated that 50 million accounts could have been affected but the company didn't know if they had been compromised.

For about half of those whose accounts broken into – some 14 million people – the hackers looted extensive personal information such as the last 10 places that Facebook user checked into, their current city and their 15 most recent searches. For the other 15 million, hackers accessed name and contact details, according to Facebook. Attackers didn’t take any information from about 1 million people whose accounts were affected. Facebook says hackers did not gain access to financial information, such as credit-card numbers.

The company would not say what the motive of the attackers was but said it had no reason to believe the attack was related to the November midterm elections.

Facebook users can check if their data was stolen by visiting the company's Help Center. Facebook says it will advise affected users on how they can protect themselves from suspicious emails and other attempts to exploit the stolen data. Guy Rosen, Facebook's vice president of product management, said the company hasn't seen any evidence of attackers exploiting the stolen data or that it had been posted on the dark web.

Affected users should be on the lookout for unwanted phone calls, text messages or emails from people they don't know and attempts to use their email address and phone number to target spam or attempts to phish for other information. Facebook users should also be wary of messages or emails claiming to be from Facebook, the company said.

Third-party apps and Facebook apps such as Instagram and WhatsApp were not compromised, according to Facebook. Hackers were not able to access any private messages but messages received or exchanged by Facebook page administrators may have been exposed.

Security experts say the 14 million users who had extensive personal information swiped are now extremely vulnerable. Colin Bastable, CEO of Lucy Security, which focuses on cybersecurity prevention and awareness, painted an especially grim scenario.

"The truth is that, as a result of this news, millions of phishing attacks will now be launched, pretending to be from Facebook. Up to 20 percent of recipients will click and a large number of those will be successfully attacked, many of them using work computers and mobile devices," Bastable said. "Businesses and governments will lose money, ransomware attacks will result from this leak, and the attack will reverberate over many months."

The culprits behind the massive hack have not been publicly identified. The FBI is actively investigating the hack and asked Facebook not to disclose any information about potential perpetrators, Rosen said. When they disclosed the breach two weeks ago, Facebook officials said they didn't know who was behind the attacks.

The latest disclosure, another in a series of security lapses that have shaken public confidence in Facebook, may intensify political heat on the company. An investigation is underway by Ireland's Data Protection Commission, and Rosen said Facebook is also cooperating with the Federal Trade Commission and other authorities. The FTC declined to comment if it's investigating.

“Today's update from Facebook is significant now that it is confirmed that the personal data of millions of users was taken by the perpetrators of the attack," Ireland’s Data Protection Commission, the watchdog agency charged with privacy protection in the European Union, said in a tweet.

The extent of the personal information compromised by attackers delivered a blow to the public relations campaign Facebook has been waging to convince the more than 2 billion people who regularly use the service that it's serious about protecting their personal information after the accounts of 87 million users were accessed by political targeting firm Cambridge Analytica without their consent and Russian operatives spread propaganda during and after the 2016 presidential election.

This week, Google acknowledged that half a million accounts on its Google + social network could have been compromised by a software bug. The admission prompted lawmakers to call for an FTC investigation. Both incidents could further fuel a congressional push for a national privacy law to protect U.S. users of tech company services.

"These companies have a staggering amount of information about Americans. Breaches don't just violate our privacy, they create enormous risks for our economy and national security," Federal Trade Commission Commissioner Rohit Chopra told USA TODAY after Facebook disclosed the data breach last month. "The cost of inaction is growing, and we need answers."

More: Facebook breach puts your identity at risk. Here's what you can do to protect yourself

More: Largest Facebook hack ever turns up heat on Mark Zuckerberg

More: Facebook's 50 million account breach is already its biggest ever -- and may get even worse

More: Midterms: 'Furious' Democrats purchase blitz of Facebook ads on Kavanaugh, far outpacing GOP spending

After the accounts were compromised last month, more than 90 million users were forced to log out of their accounts as a security measure.

Facebook says attackers exploited a feature in its code that allowed them to commandeer users' accounts. Those accounts included Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his second-in-command, Sheryl Sandberg.

The attack began Sept. 14. A spike in traffic triggered an internal investigation. More than a week later, on Sept. 25, Facebook identified the vulnerability and fixed it two days later.

The vulnerability was introduced in July 2017 when a feature was added that allows users to upload happy birthday videos.

Attackers exploited a vulnerability in Facebook’s code that affected "View As," a feature that lets people see what their own profile looks like to someone else. The feature was built to give users more control over their privacy. Three software bugs in Facebook's code connected to this feature allowed attackers to steal Facebook access tokens they could then use to take over people's accounts.

These access tokens are like digital keys that keep people logged in to Facebook so they don’t need to re-enter their password every time they use Facebook.

Here's how it worked: Once the attackers had access to a token for one account, call it Jane's, they could then use "View As" to see what another account, say Tom's, could see about Jane's account. The vulnerability enabled the attackers to get an access token for Tom's account as well, and the attack spread from there. Facebook said it has turned off the "View As" feature as a security precaution.

Last month, Facebook reset the tokens of nearly 50 million accounts that it believed were affected and, as a precaution, also reset the tokens for another 40 million accounts that had used "View As" in the past year. Resetting the tokens logged the affected Facebook users out of the service.

A breach of this kind is not a single, isolated event, warned Adrien Gendre, CEO of Vade Secure North America, an email security company. Hackers don't profit from breaking into Facebook accounts. Money's made, he noted, by launching spear phishing attacks using the data they've purloined, an increasingly common form of cyberattack where hackers spoof someone's identity to get them to complete a write transfer or share confidential information.

And that's very bad news for the 14 million Facebook users who had intimate personal information stolen.

A Step-by-Step Guide to a Successful SIEM Deployment

SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) deployment based on firsthand experience implementing SIEM for a broad range of customers.

SIEM-2.jpg

 

Discovery Phase - Laying the Groundwork

  1. Review the organizational security posture and the initial business case for SIEM. Then prioritize the goals of the SIEM implementation from the most critical to the optional—taking into account the tasks that must be performed in order to support the effort.
  2. Review in detail the organizational security policy to consider the intent behind the policy. Separate those policies from a priority standpoint. Determine what’s critical, what’s necessary for mandatory compliance and what policies are best practices to ensure a secure environment.
  3. Identify current controls that are auditing those policies to determine compliance level. Ideally, a SIEM implementation should not be the first time the organization identifies that its security policy or how it’s implemented isn’t working according to plan. The reality is that these deployments often expose gaps in security execution that must be remediated before those elements can be integrated into a daily alerting and reporting structure.  
  4. Identify a smaller representative subset of the current policy and devices where SIEM can be applied and enough data can be gathered to determine what changes need to occur.
     

Pilot Phase - Beginning the Implementation

The primary goal of this phase is to determine which specific SIEM project goals can be implemented in order to establish initial ROI while creating a baseline operational model and run-book.

  1. The lessons learned from the discovery phase are used to implement a larger subset of technology.
  2. The assumptions developed during the discovery phase are tested in real time.
  3. The list of devices should be expanded to incorporate a wider set of technologies and numbers.
  4. The information developed from this phase is used to determine the final steps of controlled deployment and maturity phase.


Controlled Deployment Phase - Building Capacity

The primary goal of this phase is to develop a deployment workflow that enables the organization to build capacity as full deployment approaches. This phase also serves as the initial production test run and the completion of operational run-books necessary to manage a full deployment.

Maturity Phase - Continuing to Evolve

Significant work must be performed in order to mature the organization’s security posture and implement the finer points of the deployment. This phase never has an end point—since SIEM must continually evolve.

Cyber-Digital Task Force

The Department of Justice’s internal “Cyber-Digital Task Force,” created by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in February, will release its first-ever public report later this month at the Aspen Institute’s annual Security Forum, a department spokesperson told CyberScoop.

The report is expected to detail a series of security recommendations that the government should consider to protect future U.S. elections from a myriad of different threats, including foreign hacking attempts.

A statement by the DOJ previously explained that the Task Force will “prioritize its study of efforts to interfere with our elections; efforts to interfere with our critical infrastructure; the use of the Internet to spread violent ideologies and to recruit followers; the mass theft of corporate, governmental, and private information; the use of technology to avoid or frustrate law enforcement; and the mass exploitation of computers and other digital devices to attack American citizens and businesses.”

When Sessions launched the group earlier this year, he requested that an initial report be completed by June 30. The recommendations were submitted ahead of time, according to DOJ spokesperson Ian Prior. The answers are currently being reviewed ahead of publication.

The DOJ’s disclosure was made hours after the Democratic National Committee (DNC) issued a press release criticizing the department and Trump administration for missing various cybersecurity policy deadlines, including the June 30 submission. The agency contends that it in fact made the deadline, although the publication won’t occur for a few weeks. The Aspen Security Forum begins on July 18.

The creation of the Cybersecurity Task Force on Feb. 20 came less than a week after Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted a group of Russian internet trolls for interfering in U.S. politics. The Russians allegedly ran an extensive social media campaign that worked to trick American voters in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, the indictment claims.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is expected to make “an exclusive policy announcement” on July 19 at the Aspen Institute event.

Data Protection Officer- Consultants

Why do I need a Data Protection Officer?

While the desire to protect company, customer, and vendor information isn’t new, there are new laws that are requiring organizations to take a more active role in protecting their data.  The EU recently passed the General Data Protection Regulation that requires certain businesses to have a Data Protection Officer.  In order to comply with the rule, it has been estimated that nearly 28,000 DPOs will be needed by the end of 2018.

Specifically, the General Data Protection Regulation requires companies that process data with a public authority or that regularly monitor data subjects on a large scale to have a DPO and a plan in place to protect that data.  It’s important to note that the rule not only effects companies that are biased in the EU, but also those that conduct business with its partner countries.

Because of the non-specific wording of the GDPR, one of the first steps that any company operating within the EU will need to take is to determine whether or not they are subject to the regulations in the law.  It may be necessary to hire a security consultant on a short-term basis to determine this.  Fortunately,  CyberSecOp has plenty of experience in helping companies comply with EU law and IT security background that this position would require.

What is a Data Protection Officer?

In order to comply with the new regulation, a Data Protection Officer must have, “expert knowledge of data protection law and practices”.  Additionally, the DPO must have a good understanding of the organizations' technical structure, organization, IT infrastructure, and technology.

It’s important to note that as long as an employee is capable of performing the basic functions of the role, there is no formal training requirement.  This means that the job can be assigned to an existing employee.  It is also permissible for an organization to hire an outside consultant or security firm to take on this role.

How will this affect my company?

Due to the massive penalties involved with ignoring the new GDPR, any company that meets the criteria and operates in at least some capacity in the EU will need to appoint a Data Protection Officer.  For larger companies, this role is most likely already filled by a data security team.  Small companies will most likely find it to be the most cost-effective to hire an outside company to handle its data security issues.

Mid-size companies, however, will likely struggle to come into compliance with this rule.  Keeping a full-time Data Protection Officer on staff might prove to be cost prohibitive, but it’s also possible that contracting with an outside firm may also run up costs beyond a sustainable level.  In many cases, the solution might be to find a professional with multiple skill sets who could act as the company’s Data Protection Officer while also performing other duties. CyberSecop have a team of security professionals dedicated to helping an organization in comping with GDPR and other data security frameworks.

BENEFITS OF IMPLEMENTING AN INFORMATION SECURITY

THE BENEFITS OF IMPLEMENTING AN INFORMATION SECURITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (ISMS)

 

SECURES YOUR INFORMATION IN ALL ITS FORMS

An ISMS helps protect all forms of information, including digital, paper-based, intellectual property, company secrets, data on devices and in the Cloud, hard copies and personal information.

INCREASES RESILIENCE TO CYBER ATTACKS

Implementing and maintaining an ISMS will significantly increase your organisation’s resilience to cyber attacks.

PROVIDES A CENTRALLY MANAGED FRAMEWORK

An ISMS provides a framework for keeping your organisation’s information safe and managing it all in one place.

OFFERS ORGANISATION-WIDE PROTECTION

It protects your entire organisation from technology-based risks and other, more common threats, such as poorly informed staff or ineffective procedures.

HELPS RESPOND TO EVOLVING SECURITY THREATS

Constantly adapting to changes both in the environment and inside the organisation, an ISMS reduces the threat of continually evolving risks.

REDUCES COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH INFORMATION SECURITY

Thanks to the risk assessment and analysis approach of an ISMS, organisations can reduce costs spent on indiscriminately adding layers of defensive technology that might not work.

PROTECTS CONFIDENTIALITY, AVAILABILITY AND INTEGRITY OF DATA

An ISMS offers a set of policies, procedures, technical and physical controls to protect the confidentiality, availability and integrity of information.

IMPROVES COMPANY CULTURE

The Standard’s holistic approach covers the whole organisation, not just IT, and encompasses people, processes and technology. This enables employees to readily understand risks and embrace security controls as part of their everyday working practices.

 

Corporate Information Security Steering Committee

Organizations are becoming increasingly aware that if they fail to implement successful security management processes, it could expose them to untenable risk.

The role of the corporate information security steering committee has become an important tool in the quest for a coordinated corporate security strategy, for reducing duplication in security spending, for taking control of complex infrastructures and ultimately, for reducing security risk. 

One of the first steps for many organizations has been to set up a common security team and to embark on enterprise-wide information security programs. However, many of these teams have struggled to align corporate business objectives with strategic security investment.

META Group's research indicates that the majority of new security teams struggle to define and establish their corporate missions, scope, influence and power bases. Furthermore, these security teams have poorly defined executive charters and operate without effective communications plans. The unfortunate result of such poor grounding is the temptation for newly established teams to immerse themselves in technology quests, searching for elusive enterprise-wide technical solutions.

In contrast, the most effective security organizations are those with clear responsibilities and well-defined processes, based upon five primary organizational roles:

  • Leadership - this is the role of the chief information security officer who deals with both the day to day management of the security team as well as continuous communication of the importance and value of security measures
  • Analysis/design - these security analysts help information owners develop meaningful security policy as well as effective security solutions
  • Security administration - these people look after the day to day administration of access rights, passwords, etc
  • Security operations - resources that continuously monitor the security status of the organization, and manage incident response procedures.
  • Awareness communication - resources that design and manage ongoing security awareness and training programs. 
    Executive custody and governance -represented by an information security committee

The role of the corporate security steering committee is to coordinate corporate security initiatives at the executive level and thus enable an organization to optimize spending, manage their infrastructure and minimize security risk. Obtaining consensus and support for corporate-wide security initiatives is especially difficult in highly decentralized and multinational organizations with a high level of devolved authority and autonomy. In this type of organization, an executive governance body becomes essential.

Corporate information security steering committees (CISSC) must have a clear charter with a range of functions that should include:

  • Managing the development and executive acceptance of an enterprise security charter.
  • Assessing and accepting corporate-wide security policy (e.g., the corporate policy on security incident response, general behavioral policy). A major objective of this function is ensuring that business requirements are reflected in the security policy, thus ensuring that the policy enables rather than restricts business operations.
  • Assessing any requests for policy exceptions from individual business units.
  • Assessing, accepting, and sponsoring corporate-wide security investment (e.g., identity infrastructure deployment, remote access infrastructure), as well as requests to be excluded from common investment.
  • Providing a forum for discussion and arbitration of any disputes or disagreements regarding common policy or investment issues.
  • Acting as custodian and governance body of the enterprise security program by ensuring visible executive support, as well as monitoring progress and achievements. The role of a permanent governance structure reinforces the message that enterprise security becomes an ongoing, long-term initiative.
  • Assessing and approving the outsourcing of common security services, as well as coordinating investment in appropriate relationship management resources. As the lack of skilled resources increases the need to outsource operational services, executive due diligence, risk assessment, and ongoing effectiveness assessment must be coordinated through the steering committee.
  • Initiating ad hoc projects to investigate the advantages, disadvantages, risks, and cost of common security initiatives, and advising the committee with appropriate recommendations.
  • Representing the executive (board of directors) or its nominated information governance body (e.g., an information executive board) in all corporate security matters. Reporting back to these forums on the activities and effectiveness of corporate security programs and investments.
  • Acting as custodian of corporate-wide strategic security processes (e.g., role analysis, data classification) by validating process ownership, responsibilities, and stakeholders.
  • Acting as respondent to enterprise-level audit exceptions (i.e., those audit exceptions where a specific individual cannot be found to be responsible).
  • Coordinating and validating any external, security-related corporate communications plans and activities (e.g., in the event of a high-profile, publicized security breach).
  • Tracking major line-of-business IT initiatives to identify opportunities for synergy or to leverage security investment.
  • Governing trust relationships with major e-business partners.

It is very important that steering committee members can make decisions at meetings. This requires the active participation of senior executive business managers or it must be a permanent subcommittee of an executive information board. To prevent the committee becoming an ineffective 'debating society' or forum for driving political agendas, the scope, powers and objectives of the committee should be clearly documented and measured.

Typical members of an information security steering committee include: line of business managers, application owners, regional managers, IT managers, the IT director, the chief security officer, the corporate risk manager and the chief internal auditor. A clear distinction must be made between the role of the CISSC (i.e., executive custody and governance) and the leadership role (i.e., day-to-day management of the security team) of the chief information security officer.

By developing the emerging role of the chief security officer (CSO) and the security team, enterprises can foster a holistic approach to information security - one that recognizes that policy, process, and communication are as important as technology.

GDPR Questions Answered: Do We Need Consent to Hold Information in a Database?

Now just a few weeks remain before the deadline for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), so data protection advisor Jon Baines is here to answer your questions.

Today, Jon was asked:
 
Q: “If our database holds names, email addresses, telephone numbers addresses and job roles of people involved in the classical music industry, of which most of the information is available on their websites, do we have to have specific consent to hold this information, which we use to contact them in terms of business and to occasionally send out a newsletter (twice a year) from which they can unsubscribe? There are a few thousand names involved so it would be good to know whether we need to contact them or not!”
 

A: “I wish my answer could be a simple one, but, regrettably, the law here is rather complex. However, I will try to explain.

“Unfortunately, what we don’t have here are details on how the business gathered this personal data, and whether the marketing they wish to send is by email (I’ve assumed it is). The author says the information gathered appears publicly on websites, so it might be inferred that the business has ‘scraped’ the details from those sites. If that’s the case, then there may be some problems. 
 
“As a general rule people should be aware (or be made aware) that their personal data is being gathered and collated, even if it’s publicly accessible. Furthermore, sending marketing in electronic form to individual recipients (which I think most of the musicians here would be) requires explicit consent from the recipient (or, in some circumstances, and subject to various qualifications, a prior customer relationship). Sending email marketing, therefore, without consent, would almost certainly be a breach of the law.
 
“If, contrary to what I’ve inferred, the business got the musicians’ details direct from the musicians themselves, then the question as to whether they can send them email marketing is a bit different. If the business has their prior explicit consent to receive marketing emails, then they can continue to do so. Or if they got the musicians’ details during the sale (or negotiations for sale) of a product or service, they can send them marketing emails, provided that at all stages they have offered, and continue to offer, the option to opt out of receiving them.

“The irony here is that the law in question is not the GDPR but the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003, which often get overlooked. Over recent years the Information Commissioner has issued plenty of fines for breaches of this 2003 law.

“Generally, the firms getting those fines have sent very high volumes of unlawful electronic marketing, and the Commissioner has not tended to target SMEs. Nonetheless, even if the risk to a small business of big fines may be relatively low, they do need to be aware of the other risks, particularly of legal claims by individuals, and reputational harm.”

Small Business Benefits from Cybersecurity Consulting Services

Cybersecurity news stories are becoming more and more prevalent, especially over the last few years. Whether the stories are about stolen emails or huge data breaches, it has been virtually impossible to ignore them.

While the major stories about compromised corporations and hacked email accounts make the news, cybersecurity is something that concerns everyone who uses a computer. Even small business owners can become victims of cybercrime. In fact, small business owners, in particular, need to be concerned with cybersecurity so they can protect their intellectual property. No matter whether the intellectual property is research or recipes, it is one of the greatest assets a small business has. Intellectual property is a prime target for hackers, whether they are stealing information for a competitor or running a ransomware scheme where a hacker demands something in return for the stolen information.

The trouble is that protecting that intellectual property and keeping other sensitive information, such as client and customer data, isn’t cheap. Many small business owners may not have the available capital to afford a cybersecurity system. Although this puts an owner in a tough spot, you can’t put a price on peace of mind, and neither can a small business owner afford the losses associated with becoming the victim of a cybercrime.

As with most things for small-business owners, cybersecurity comes down to a cost analysis. A cybersecurity system can be a big expense. On the other hand, a small business owner has to consider the cost of not having their systems protected from hackers. It’s hard enough for a large corporation to recover from a cyber attack, even with all the resources and infrastructure they have. According to the U.S. National Cyber Security Alliance, 60 percent of small businesses fold within six months of a cyber attack.

Ultimately, each business owner has to decide if and when a formal data security protection plan is necessary. A consultation with an expert may help you better weigh the pros and cons of taking on this type of business expense. Start with this list of Cybersecurity Consulting Providers as a jumping off point for your research. After comparing the benefits of these companies’ plans, set up a few consultations to see if and how these providers can best help protect your business, and what it costs to do so. You may find that it’s worth the investment.