Insights in Security

A Comprehensive Look at 7 Different Types of Information Security

Knowing different types of information security is essential for professionals amid the many threats organizations...

Christopher Eller

Nov 25, 2023

Knowing different types of information security is essential for professionals amid the many threats organizations have to deal with. From data breaches to malware attacks, it’s essential to be aware of these security types and have robust defense mechanisms. 

The projection that the global information security market will reach $174.7 billion by 2024 highlights the importance of safeguarding digital assets. In addition, the average cost of a data breach increased by almost 10% in 2021, reaching a staggering $4.24 million. This underscores the critical need to stay up-to-date with the latest security measures to protect against evolving threats. 

In this ISMS Connect guide, we will explore the different types of information security, equipping professionals with the necessary knowledge to effectively safeguard their organization’s valuable data.

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What Is Information Security?

Information security (InfoSec) is the practice of protecting information by mitigating information risks.  

It involves protecting information systems and the information processed, stored, and transmitted by these systems from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction.

Organizations usually implement security controls through policies or technologies to mitigate information security risks. These controls combine to form information security management systems (ISMSs), which are composed of people, processes, and technology. ISMSs enable organizations to protect their information assets effectively.

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Principles of Information Security

The principles of Information Security are often summed up by the so-called CIA triad— confidentiality, integrity, and availability:

  • Confidentiality: This principle is designed to prevent unauthorized disclosure of information. It ensures that data is accessible only to those individuals who are authorized to access it.

  • Integrity: This principle includes protection against unauthorized changes (additions, deletions, alterations, etc.) to data. It ensures that data is accurate and reliable and is not modified incorrectly, whether accidentally or maliciously.

  • Availability: This principle protects a system’s ability to make software systems and data fully available when a user needs it (or at a specified time). The purpose of availability is to make the technology infrastructure, the applications, and the data available when needed for an organizational process or an organization’s customers.

Why Is Learning the Types of Information Security Important?

Everyone Has Information That Needs Protection

Safeguarding your data is of utmost importance. The proliferation of sensitive information stored and transmitted digitally has heightened the threat of data breaches and cybercrime. Consequently, individuals and businesses must proactively implement security measures to shield sensitive data from unauthorized access, theft, and misuse.

Information Security Threats Are Very Common

Information Security threats can encompass various forms, such as software attacks, theft of intellectual property, identity theft, theft of equipment or information, sabotage, and information extortion. These threats exploit vulnerabilities to breach security and potentially alter, erase, or harm objects of interest. 

Cyber-Attacks Increase During Challenging Times

During challenging times like the global pandemic, cyber threats have surged alarmingly. Businesses experienced 50% more cyberattacks per week in 2021 compared to 2020, and with the persistence of ransomware threats, this trend seems to continue into this year.

Information Security Is Required

The ISO® 27001 standard offers companies of any size and from all sectors guidance on establishing, implementing, maintaining, and continually improving an information security management system. 

Conformity with ISO® 27001 signifies that an organization or business has established a system to manage risks associated with the security of data owned or handled by the company.

Explayn

Strategy Consulting • 20+ Employees • TISAX® • Germany

We aimed for a lean and powerful information security management system to secure but not overwhelm our small consulting business.

Marvin Müller

Information Security Officer at explayn consulting GmbH

Passed the audit successfully

Proudly TISAX® certified

Security Breaches Are Expensive

Security breaches are undeniably costly. 

The global average data breach cost in 2023 saw a 15% increase to $4.45 million over three years. The average cost in the United States amounted to $9.48 million. These expenses encompass direct losses, including funds allocated for professional services, lost contracts, and downtime.

7 Types of Information Security

1. Application Security

Application security refers to the measures taken to protect software applications from threats. It involves designing, coding, and configuring applications to defend against cyber threats. This includes using security measures during all phases of application development, including design, development, and deployment. 

Example Controls: 

  • Authentication: This feature verifies the identity of users and ensures that only authorized individuals can access the application or its resources.

  • Authorization: It controls the actions and privileges of each authenticated user within the application. It defines what resources they can access and what operations they can perform.

  • Encryption: Encryption protects sensitive data by converting it into a coded format that can only be decrypted with the correct encryption key. It helps ensure that data remains confidential and secure during storage or transmission.

  • Logging: Logging involves capturing and recording events, errors, and activities within the application. It helps in monitoring and troubleshooting issues, as well as providing an audit trail for security analysis.

  • Application security testing: Application security testing involves vulnerability assessments and penetration testing to identify security weaknesses and potential vulnerabilities before exploitation.

2. Infrastructure Security

Infrastructure security is the practice of protecting critical systems and assets against physical and cyber threats. It safeguards hardware and software assets such as end-user devices, data center resources, networking systems, and cloud resources. 

By implementing access controls, encryption technologies, and training programs, organizations can mitigate the risks posed by cyber-attacks, natural disasters, and human error, ensuring the integrity and continuity of their technology infrastructure.

Example Controls:

  • Access controls: Access controls refer to measures used to manage and restrict access to computer systems or networks, such as passwords, user authentication methods, and permission management.

  • Surveillance systems: Surveillance systems are used to monitor and record activities in a specific area for IT security. These systems can include CCTV cameras, motion sensors, and other monitoring tools.

  • Security guards: Physical security personnel responsible for protecting an organization's physical infrastructure. They may be stationed at entrances, monitor security cameras, and respond to security incidents.

  • Perimeter security: Involves implementing measures to secure the boundaries of an organization’s IT infrastructure. This can include physical barriers, such as fences or walls, and digital security measures, like intrusion detection systems and access controls.

  • Firewalls: These are network security devices that monitor and control incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security rules. Firewalls act as a barrier between internal and external networks, helping to prevent unauthorized access.

  • Penetration testing: Also known as ethical hacking, this involves simulating real-world attacks on an organization’s IT infrastructure to identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses. This helps organizations strengthen their security defenses.

  • Network monitoring: Continuously monitoring network traffic and devices to detect and respond to potential security threats. Network monitoring tools provide visibility into network activity, helping to identify anomalies or suspicious behavior.

  • Virtual private networks (VPNs): VPNs provide secure, encrypted connections over public networks like the Internet. They allow remote users to securely access an organization’s internal network, protecting sensitive data from unauthorized access.

3. Cloud Security

Cloud security refers to the cybersecurity policies, best practices, controls, and technologies to secure applications, data, and infrastructure in cloud environments. It provides storage and network protection against internal and external threats. Cloud security also involves access management, data governance and compliance, and disaster recovery.

Example Controls:

  • Encryption: Encryption is a powerful method of converting data into an unreadable format, ensuring that even if unauthorized individuals gain access to your cloud data, they won’t understand it without the encryption key.

  • Configuration: Proper configuration of your cloud systems is essential to prevent vulnerabilities and data breaches, as misconfiguration errors can leave your systems open to attacks. By ensuring correct configuration, you can significantly enhance the security of your cloud environment.

4. Cryptography

Cryptography is the process of encoding information so that only the intended recipient can decipher it. This technique has been utilized throughout history to secure messages, and it continues to be crucial in modern-day applications such as banking, computer security, and e-commerce.

 Modern cryptography techniques include algorithms and ciphers that enable the encryption and decryption of information.

 Example Controls:

  • Single-key or symmetric-key encryption: A type of encryption where the same key is used for both encryption and decryption processes. The key must be shared among the communicating parties.

  • Public-key or asymmetric-key encryption: A type of encryption that uses a pair of mathematically related keys - a public key for encryption and a private key for decryption. The public key can be freely shared, while the private key must be kept secret.

5. Incident response

Incident response refers to the set of processes and technologies an organization employs to detect and respond to cyber threats or security breaches.  

The ultimate aim of incident response is to prevent cyberattacks from occurring and to reduce the cost and disruption to business operations resulting from any such attacks.

Example Controls:

The Modern Incident Response Life Cycle diagram outlines the steps once a cybercrime threat is identified. Example

The prepare phase involves working to prevent incidents. The next phase, detect and identify, follows the OODA (observe, orient, decide, act) loop. From the loop, contain and eradicate come next. After these phases, recovery begins to restore systems and services. The final phase is lessons learned, where improvements are highlighted to protect the network in the future.

6. Vulnerability management

Vulnerability management is a continuous process that keeps your computer systems safe from cyberattacks and data breaches. It involves identifying, assessing, reporting on managing, and remediating cyber vulnerabilities across endpoints, workloads and systems. 

Example Controls:

  • Asset discovery and inventory: IT is responsible for tracking and maintaining records of all devices, software, servers, and more across the company’s digital environment.

  • Vulnerability scanners: These tools perform tests on systems and networks to identify common weaknesses or flaws that attackers can exploit.

  • Patch management: Patch management is a software tool used to ensure that computer systems stay updated with the latest security patches to fix vulnerabilities and protect from known threats.

  • Configuration management: Security Configuration Management (SCM) software ensures that devices are configured securely and helps track changes to device security settings to maintain a secure environment.

  • Security incident and event management (SIEM): SIEM software collects, consolidates, and analyzes security information and events in real-time. It helps organizations detect and respond to security incidents more effectively.

  • Penetration testing: Penetration testing software assists IT professionals in identifying and exploiting vulnerabilities in computer systems. This type of testing is conducted to evaluate the security posture of a system or network.

  • Threat intelligence: Threat protection software allows organizations to monitor, analyze, and prioritize potential threats. It helps organizations stay informed about emerging threats and make informed decisions to protect themselves better.

  • Remediation vulnerabilities: Remediation involves prioritizing vulnerabilities, determining appropriate actions, and generating remediation tickets. This allows IT teams to address vulnerabilities effectively and reduce the risk of exploitation.

7. Disaster recovery

Disaster recovery involves securely replicating and backing up critical data and workloads to a secondary location or multiple locations—disaster recovery sites. It is an organization’s plan to protect its IT systems and data from disasters and recover quickly to minimize downtime and losses.

Example Controls:

  • Goals: Set concrete goals for recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs).

  • Personnel: Assign responsible individuals for executing the DR plan, including IT professionals and management personnel.

  • IT inventory: Maintain a list of hardware and software assets, their criticality, and ownership status.

  • Backup procedures: Outline how and where data resources are backed up, specifying devices, folders, and frequency.

  • DR procedures: Establish emergency response measures, last-minute backups, and mitigation steps for cybersecurity threats.

  • DR sites: Maintain a hot disaster recovery site with replicated critical systems in a remote location.

  • Restoration: Define procedures to recover from complete systems loss and restore full operations.

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At ISMS Connect, we're dedicated to empowering organizations of any size to easily and affordably adopt information security management. Our mission is to share our knowledge with all members, ensuring that everyone can benefit from streamlined compliance.

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Bennet Vogel

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Christopher Eller

ISMS Connect's founder, and an InfoSec professional with 13+ years of experience across IT, security, compliance and automotive industries.

Conclusion

Implementing information security measures is crucial in the digital landscape. It protects data, prevents breaches, and ensures compliance. Comprehensive knowledge is essential due to sensitive data and evolving threats. Cyberattacks and legal obligations highlight the need for expertise in this field.

 ISMS Connect is a resource that simplifies information security management for organizations, especially small and medium-sized businesses. We provide templates, guides, and expert assistance to help businesses get certified without high costs or consultants. By following these principles, we can protect critical data and strengthen our defenses in the digital world. 

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At ISMS Connect, we've distilled our extensive consulting expertise into a single, all-encompassing package, enriched with unlimited support.
This enables you to implement your ISMS yourself for a fraction of normal project costs.

Take your first step on your successful ISMS implementation journey with us.

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© 2023 ISMS Connect. Our offer is aimed at corporate customers only. All prices are net.

We are an independent consultancy and not affiliated with ENX® TISAX®,VDA® ISA, ISO® or DIN®.

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ISMS Implementation of ISO® 27001 / TISAX®

At ISMS Connect, we've distilled our extensive consulting expertise into a single, all-encompassing package, enriched with unlimited support.
This enables you to implement your ISMS yourself for a fraction of normal project costs.

Take your first step on your successful ISMS implementation journey with us.

Access our Experts directly in our Pro-Plan

Pay securely online with credit card or SEPA and get access.

Get full year of unlimited expert assistance & support

© 2023 ISMS Connect. Our offer is aimed at corporate customers only. All prices are net.

We are an independent consultancy and not affiliated with ENX® TISAX®,VDA® ISA, ISO® or DIN®.

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