Information Security (InfoSec) is the practice of protecting information from unauthorised access.
We need to protect our information for many reasons: to protect our privacy and dignity, to protect our finances, to protect our business assets, and so on.
These days, much information security threats are online, in the form of cyber criminals, but we should also be aware about information security best practice for physical spaces, e.g. our desk, filing cabinets, and waste paper bins.
What Counts as a Threat to Information Security?
A threat in terms of information security refers to anyone that has the potential to access information they are not authorised to see or use. Threats have the potential to cause serious damage to organisations of all sizes and often comes as a result of failing to train employees about information security best practices and to raise awareness about the topic. Failure to prepare members of staff really does mean that organisations are leaving themselves vulnerable to hackers by making it easier for them to infiltrate systems and networks.
Wherever information is stored and processed, threats to its privacy will remain. Many of these come in the form of cyber criminals or hackers looking for weaknesses and security vulnerabilities to exploit for profit. Organisations can take steps to mitigate these threats, such as using antivirus software, email gateways, and offering cyber security training to all employees. Many threats to security can be avoided by simply being prepared and by not being easy targets.
Threats can come from all angles, so organisations ought to be on the lookout for signs of a hacker trying to get close. They may pretend to be someone they're not, either over the phone or through emails, or social media. Vigilance is key when it comes to spotting a fake in these situations. Additionally, employees should be trained about the dangers of phishing emails and ransomware (with plenty of instances in the news to act as warnings). Organisations should make it easy for staff to report suspicions, empowering them to keep their guard up.
Whilst organisations can never presume security, remaining vigilant and nurturing a compliance culture where everyone takes responsibility for information security can go a long way towards mitigating threats.