Guidelines for the Security of Information Systems and Networks - Key Aims and Principles
These Guidelines respond to an ever changing security environment by promoting the development of a culture of security - that is, a focus on security in the development of information systems and networks and the adoption of new ways of thinking and behaving when using and interacting within information systems and networks. The Guidelines signal a clear break with a time when secure design and use of networks and systems were too often afterthoughts. Participants are becoming more dependent on information systems, networks and related services, all of which need to be reliable and secure. Only an approach that takes due account of the interests of all participants, and the nature of the systems, networks and related services, can provide effective security.
Each participant is an important actor for ensuring security. Participants, as appropriate to their roles, should be aware of the relevant security risks and preventive measures, assume responsibility and take steps to enhance the security of information systems and networks.
Promotion of a culture of security will require both leadership and extensive participation and should result in a heightened priority for security planning and management, as well as an understanding of the need for security among all participants. Security issues should be topics of concern and responsibility at all levels of government and business and for all participants. These Guidelines constitute a foundation for work towards a culture of security throughout society. This will enable participants to factor security into the design and use of all information systems and networks. They propose that all participants adopt and promote a culture of security as a way of thinking about, assessing, and acting on, the operations of information systems and networks.
These Guidelines aim to:
- Promote a culture of security among all participants as a means of protecting information systems and networks.
- Raise awareness about the risk to information systems and networks; the policies, practices, measures and procedures available to address those risks; and the need for their adoption and implementation.
- Foster greater confidence among all participants in information systems and networks and the way in which they are provided and used.
- Create a general frame of reference that will help participants understand security issues and respect ethical values in the development and implementation of coherent policies, practices, measures and procedures for the security of information systems and networks.
- Promote co-operation and information sharing, as appropriate, among all participants in the development and implementation of security policies, practices, measures and procedures.
- Promote the consideration of security as an important objective among all participants involved in the development or implementation of standards.
1) Awareness: Participants should be aware of the need for security of information systems and networks and what they can do to enhance security.
Awareness of the risks and available safeguards is the first line of defence for the security of information systems and networks. Information systems and networks can be affected by both internal and external risks. Participants should understand that security failures may significantly harm systems and networks under their control. They should also be aware of the potential harm to others arising from interconnectivity and interdependency. Participants should be aware of the configuration of, and available updates for, their system, its place within networks, good practices that they can implement to enhance security, and the needs of other participants.
2) Responsibility: All participants are responsible for the security of information systems and networks.
Participants depend upon interconnected local and global information systems and networks and should understand their responsibility for the security of those information systems and networks. They should be accountable in a manner appropriate to their individual roles. Participants should review their own policies, practices, measures, and procedures regularly and assess whether these are appropriate to their environment. Those who develop, design and supply products and services should address system and network security and distribute appropriate information including updates in a timely manner so that users are better able to understand the security functionality of products and services and their responsibilities related to security.
3) Response: Participants should act in a timely and co-operative manner to prevent, detect and respond to security incidents.
Recognising the interconnectivity of information systems and networks and the potential for rapid and widespread damage, participants should act in a timely and co-operative manner to address security incidents. They should share information about threats and vulnerabilities, as appropriate, and implement procedures for rapid and effective co-operation to prevent, detect and respond to security incidents. Where permissible, this may involve cross-border information sharing and co-operation.
4) Ethics: Participants should respect the legitimate interests of others.
Given the pervasiveness of information systems and networks in our societies, participants need to recognise that their action or inaction may harm others. Ethical conduct is therefore crucial and participants should strive to develop and adopt best practices and to promote conduct that recognises security needs and respects the legitimate interests of others.
5) Democracy: The security of information systems and networks should be compatible with essential values of a democratic society.
Security should be implemented in a manner consistent with the values recognised by democratic societies including the freedom to exchange thoughts and ideas, the free flow of information, the confidentiality of information and communication, the appropriate protection of personal information, openness and transparency.
6) Risk assessment: Participants should conduct risk assessments.
Risk assessment identifies threats and vulnerabilities and should be sufficiently broad-based to encompass key internal and external factors, such as technology, physical and human factors, policies and third-party services with security implications. Risk assessment will allow determination of the acceptable level of risk and assist the selection of appropriate controls to manage the risk of potential harm to information systems and networks in light of the nature and importance of the information to be protected. Because of the growing interconnectivity of information systems, risk assessment should include consideration of the potential harm that may originate from others or be caused to others.
7) Security design and implementation: Participants should incorporate security as an essential element of information systems and networks.
Systems, networks and policies need to be properly designed, implemented and co-ordinated to optimise security. A major, but not exclusive, focus of this effort is the design and adoption of appropriate safeguards and solutions to avoid or limit potential harm from identified threats and vulnerabilities. Both technical and non-technical safeguards and solutions are required and should be proportionate to the value of the information on the organisation’s systems and networks. Security should be a fundamental element of all products, services, systems and networks, and an integral part of system design and architecture. For end users, security design and implementation consists largely of selecting and configuring products and services for their system.
8) Security management: Participants should adopt a comprehensive approach to security management.
Security management should be based on risk assessment and should be dynamic, encompassing all levels of participants’ activities and all aspects of their operations. It should include forward-looking responses to emerging threats and address prevention, detection and response to incidents, systems recovery, ongoing maintenance, review and audit. Information system and network security policies, practices, measures and procedures should be co-ordinated and integrated to create a coherent system of security. The requirements of security management depend upon the level of involvement, the role of the participant, the risk involved and system requirements.
9) Reassessment: Participants should review and reassess the security of information systems and networks, and make appropriate modifications to security policies, practices, measures and procedures.
New and changing threats and vulnerabilities are continuously discovered. Participants should continually review, reassess and modify all aspects of security to deal with these evolving risks.