WHAT IS INFORMATION ASSURANCE: THE FIVE PILLARS OF INFORMATION ASSURANCE – EXPLAINED
Most e-commerce companies and organizations these days have records of sensitive information such as customers’ email addresses, company account details, and users’ credit card numbers in their system networks.
If ever this sensitive set of data were to end up in the hands of a cybercriminal, things would take an alarming turn for both the customers and the company’s reputation. Customers could slowly un-subscribe from their services, and the firm’s entire revenue would be at stake.
According to Radware Report, organizations tend to lose more than $1M to repair the damages done by data breaching. This is precisely why every organization needs an Information Assurance framework to secure their customers’ data and their reputation along with creating a healthy and trustworthy environment among partners and customers.
When vital business information is transmitted over multiple networks, a solid procedure is required to maintain the privacy of the enterprise. The crucial information within the system must not be jeopardized in any way.
In this article, we will explore what Information Assurance is and what principles maintain the dynamics of Information Assurance. First, let’s explore the five pillars of Information assurance.
What Is Information Assurance (IA)?
Information Assurance, also known as IA, is a proactive approach to managing sensitive information-related risks and procedures involved in making information systems secure.
The transmission of sensitive data can become quite risky when it is done without any protective approach.
First, let’s see how the US government defines Information Assurance (IA).
How Does US Government Describe Information Assurance (IA)?
According to IT Governance USA, Information Assurance is a set of security measures that protect and defend user-sensitive information and every other information system by ensuring their Availability, Integrity, Authenticity, Confidentiality, and Non-Repudiation.
These are the five pillars of Information Assurance that we will be analyzing. By incorporating these principles into a business model, we can achieve the perfect protection standard for consumers.
What Does Information Assurance Framework Protect?
We have discussed how Information Assurance helps organizations secure their information systems from cybercriminals.
Now, let’s examine how the whole process works and what exactly the Information Assurance process is meant to protect.
The Information Assurance Framework is made up of sound methods that are used to create, transmit, and store customer’s sensitive information.
Typically, these protective measures should detect potential threats before they attack information systems.
Since most organizations store valuable information in digital form, it is important to understand Information Assurance as it relates to digital assets. However, most people are surprised to find out that the physical aspects of a business also come under the protective umbrella of Information Assurance.
Proactive monitoring, another function of IA, detects the location of data centers and the number of endpoint devices linked to an information system.
How to Get Started with Information Assurance Implementation?
Information Assurance infrastructure doesn’t work on its own. The formulation of a well-flowing system is required to have the information systems monitored and secured in the best way.
The entire framework begins with a thorough review of the information network. It is important to document all the locations where business data is created, processed, stored, and transmitted.
Following this strategy will help to determine the flow of sensitive information throughout the organization. This also helps to keep the potential damage that can be caused to the business in view, so we have a clear map of what to do later.
Once the evaluation is done on what sensitive parts of the business need the most protection, we can deploy the principles of Information Assurance within the business model.
Now that we’ve been thoroughly educated with the bits and dynamics of Information Assurance, let’s dive into its main drivers – the five pillars of Information Assurance.
The Five Pillars of Information Assurance (IA) – Explained
A secure information system is built on a solid foundation and every organization needs a robust procedure to secure sensitive information.
The solution for that is Information Assurance.
These are the five pillars of Information Assurance as disseminated by the US Department of Defense:
Now, let’s do an in-depth analysis of these principles, one by one.
PILLAR 1: Integrity
Vital information within any organization must be fully complete and accurate. It should never be altered or deleted without the proper permissions.
The Integrity principle demonstrates that the state of any data must not be altered, whether by hackers or due to any working error.
Security measures such as penetration testing and antivirus programs are used to ensure that an information system’s integrity stays intact.
In this step, the Information Assurance framework instantly alters the sensitive data upon detecting a malicious attack.
However, your cyberspace must devise methods that keep intruders away in the first place.
Besides the protection, Integrity is also linked to the improvement of privileged users. It ensures that they have enough understanding of how to handle sensitive data over multiple networks.
The Integrity principle must be deployed during the transmission phase since most data theft happens in this stage.
PILLAR 2: Availability
Another crucial principle of Information Assurance is Availability. It refers to the employees’ or privileged users’ access to the sensitive data within your enterprise.
When sensitive data is readily available to unauthorized users, it allows unintended parties to access essential data.
Only authorized users should be given access to any given system. However, it is important to provide authorized users with access in a timely manner otherwise work operations might suffer due to lags in accessing data.
The Availability pillar also refers to the IT resources’ instant actions towards adverse situations like fallouts and database problems.
Their instant actions involve protection against hackers, malicious code messages, and other incoming threats. They achieve it by allowing selective security professionals to generate measures such as load balancers and firewall programs.
PILLAR 3: Authenticity
This protective method is used to verify the user’s authorization to access specific files and information. The Authenticity principle stresses that the user first provides evidence of their roles before they access the confidential information.
If the user doesn’t turn out what they claim to be, they are kept out of the information system.
There are several methods of user authentication such as multifactor authentication checks, user passwords, ID cards, biometric tools to scan your fingerprints and face, etc.
It is a straightforward principle as the privileged user’s identification is readily available for scanning.
PILLAR 4: Confidentiality
It is not surprising that Confidentiality is the most crucial pillar of Information Assurance, as everything else starts with confidential assurance.
Let’s tell you how.
The Confidentiality principle ensures that the sensitive data won’t be exposed to unauthorized users, groups, and devices. Otherwise, there would be high-end data decryption of confidential data by unauthorized third parties.
Due to confidentiality, unauthorized users only get to see alphabets and digits that don’t make sense to them at all through Hashing.
However, users with granted data encryption keys would be able to skim through the confidential information.
PILLAR 5: Non-Repudiation
By now, we would have discussed almost every crucial building block there is for an information system’s security. However, this entire procedure would be incomplete without the final step which is none other than Non-Repudiation.
Non-Repudiation refers to the confirmation of particular action performed promptly on both the sender and receiver’s end. It is a highly formal term usually used in legal contexts only. Information Assurance is one of those legal approaches.
Non-Repudiation asserts that there must be some proof to justify the completeness of any informational task done between two parties. This helps in collecting factual proof that would solve future conflicts within an organization.
Another thing that Non-Repudiation helps with is the truthfulness of users’ claims about who they are and what tasks they performed. It also enables us to know if the user has altered the information during the transmission phase.
Cross-network data exchange systems and log files are the sites where you could track down the user’s claim.
It is true that Information Assurance (IA) is now an integral component of every enterprise’s information systems management strategy. This proactive approach helps large organizations to keep their Confidentiality, Authenticity, Integrity, and Availability intact.
All the concepts that were mentioned come under the five pillars of the Information Assurance framework. Going forwards organizations must make sure to obtain the services of a dedicated IT company that specializes in this strategy.
This way, your organization’s information system is sure to be secure in this modern age.
Keywords: Information Assurance, what is Information Assurance, five pillars of Information Assurance
Meta Description: A defensive procedure – Information Assurance protects all the valuable and sensitive user information kept inside information systems. The entire process is comprised of five pillars or principles: Availability, Integrity, Confidentiality, Authenticity, and Non-Repudiation.