Certifying Information Security Management Systems
by Fiona Pattinson - CISSP, CSDP - atsec - Wednesday, 18 July 2007.
An information security management system (ISMS) is focused on managing information security within an organization, a topic that is of growing concern to many organizations as they deal with the challenges presented in the information society including evolving information security and privacy legislation, published guidelines (OECD, cyber security), and threats natural (fire, flood, earthquake, tornados) or human introduced (viruses, spam, privacy, hacking, industrial espionage).

In an ISMS the information protected includes not just that residing in electronic format on computer or network, but includes paper-based information and extends as far as intellectual property. A properly implemented ISMS can be effectively used by either small or large organizations, and can be tailored to support the protection of information in diverse organizations including data processing centers, software development, e-commerce, health care organizations, finance, manufacturing, service organizations, non-governmental organizations, colleges, and not-for-profit organizations.

So, how does an ISMS support information security? Effective implementation of the framework ensures that a management team, committed to information security, provides appropriate resources to support the processes that the organization needs to achieve appropriate information security. It needs to be emphasized that this commitment of senior management is absolute crucial in the success of this - and other - management systems. This inevitably includes processes related to the basic management of the system, and training and awareness. It emphasizes a risk management process that guides the choice of safeguards and that, coupled with the metrics necessary to ensure that the chosen controls are implemented correctly, ensures that the system evolves to manage the changing business and security environment, and that the resulting management system is, and continues to be, effective.

Download the article in PDF format here.

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