The increasing dependence on information technologies encourages many companies to incorporate security assurance as early as possible. All for the sake of keeping business, customer data protected.
What Is Security Assurance?
A measure of confidence that the security measures, practices, procedures, architecture, and other aspects of information accurately mediate and enforce the security policy.
Security assurance serves as a critical aspect that helps determine the trustworthiness of the company’s information systems. Software engineers can employ well-defined security policy models for assuring the existing security controls. Besides, they can implement structured hardware, software development techniques, and security engineering principles.
So what contributes to the importance of security assurance? Only security engineers can show relevant expertise and experience in information security. That’s why it is challenging to pass external audits on complying with specific legal regulations.
For instance, worldwide known PCI DSS regulation forces businesses require from software vendors:
- designing and implementing a secure Cardholder Data Environment
- performing regular vulnerability scanning
- penetration tests
- security code reviews
How to Pass an External Audit for Compliance with Standard Regulations?
If your company is preparing for an external compliance audit, consider the following practices:
- Conduct research. Analyze requirements for passing an audit and enforce them as obligatory stipulations for employees. Research the audits related to your business operations. Define what you have to do to satisfy the standards.
- Perform a self-audit. For instance, you can appoint an internal team member to run an audit. Choose an independent auditor. Before the audit, spend some time correcting your documentation and follow-up processes. Also, identify critical areas that require improvements.
- Keep updated with regulations. Analyze the emerging enforcement priorities and legal acts to remain compliant.
- Train your personnel. Whether your employees might be remote or in-office, they should be fully aware of security policies. For example, they should know how to create financial statements or store and recover personal data. Besides, they need to create strong passwords, define phishing emails, etc. So when the time comes, they are ready for external audit.
- Maintain high standards. Study the ins and outs of the audits applied to your business or industry. Also, you can utilize specific security assurance tools to meet the changing standards and legal regulations.
How to Set up a Security Assurance Process?
Walkthrough the following activities to implement some critical security assurance processes:
Ensure that your security assurance solution provides reliable compliance management. Of course, different industries deal with varying requirements of compliance. So, specify regulations elated to your company’s products or services first. Then, run a gap analysis and collect the necessary data for a response statement. Finally, your organization can model the suite of technical controls and address the gaps regarding security requirements in your service/product.
Threat modeling and risk assessment
Establish a process to identify potential threats. The convenient security assurance services help understand the most typical risks and analyze their potential influence. Then, based on collected information, your company can plan the mitigation controls and decrease the opportunity of being hacked.
Security requirements management
Use security assurance solutions to integrate current security requirements with risk assessment results into development and configuration guidelines. This process usually includes business analysts who cooperate with cybersecurity professionals to avoid missing critical issues.
Security architecture reviews
Perform security architecture reviews to evaluate the mechanisms suggested by your team. Also, analyze whether these mechanisms address predefined security requirements. On top of that, identify relevant security controls and customize them depending on project needs. Examples of such features are:
- public key infrastructure
- security event logging
- cryptography storage
Besides, you can also hold specific ad-hoc consulting sessions during the onboarding process.
Security testing by QA (Quality Assurance)
QA professionals can validate how developers apply different security requirements in the software. In addition, regular QAs can conduct several tasks during the penetration test or a new release. That can help software go into production quicker.
Pre-release security verification
This is a standard suite of security testing activities that involve secure code review, penetration test, or relevant infrastructure audits.
What Are the Benefits of Security Assurance Management?
Security assurance management provides insights into your business goals, strategies, processes, and employees. So your organization can secure customer data from a significant threat landscape. After all, security assurance management focuses on:
- Minimizing the risk of security pitfalls
- Preparing your organization for various incoming audits
- Offloading your project team from performing repetitive security tasks
- Making your security assurance solution more secure
Customer Security Assurance: Best Practises
Presently, customers are more aware of how different companies handle their data. As a result, companies should work hard to display a commitment to data security and privacy. So how can you prove customer security assurance? Here is what we recommend:
1. Clarify where information lives and how it’s protected
Define what information is available (metadata) and what is not (existing client data). Then explain what protocols your organization uses to secure the small amount of metadata at your disposal.
2. Apply multi-factor authentication and anonymous whitewashing
Implement stronger password requirements and encryption and update all SSL certificates. Besides, you can enable multi-factor authentication on all services with such an option. In addition, you can begin to “whitewash” confidential information to store it anonymously.
3. Provide the users with the needed information and options
Provide users with a choice to opt out if they don’t want to grant access to their personnel data. At the same time, assure customers that their communication and data are secured with end-to-end encryption. Or you can create a frequently asked questions (FAQs) page where your team can address all security concerns.
4. Offer transparency and proactively update your clients on your practices
Stay transparent with your clients and provide clear updates on different business actions and processes regarding customer information. This way, you build a relationship of trust with your customers. Also, you must have consistent updates on the security measurements.
5. Speak plainly to make clients understand your process
Explain your terms of services in plain terms. This way, your customers can reasonably understand how your organization consumes and processes its data.
6. Increase audit activity to demonstrate security to clients
Invest more in well-trained employees with security certifications or backgrounds. In addition, pay for independent security audits and share the results with your clients; customers appreciate security audits conducted by accredited organizations.
How Do Companies Protect Customer Data?
Even before coding, many companies start to work on security. Of course, the approaches to a proper security process may differ from business to business. However, the objective is to build and apply reliable security assurance software.
The software must protect the organization’s information and resources while satisfying all security needs. At the same time, it should stay resilient in the case of different security vulnerabilities or failures. So what else can you do to protect customer data?
The security assurance process might also involve an Automated Security Testing initiative. It allows your team to integrate security checks further into your development flow. Besides, it can provide mandatory security education as a part of an onboarding process. This way, all employees pass general security and compliance awareness training and role-specific courses.
Applying security assurance solutions is necessary as the modern market deals with the increasing reliance on information technologies. So, incorporate them into your software development life cycle as soon as possible. After all, it is critical that all your company’s systems, including security and help desk ones, are efficient. In addition, ensure that they can meet contractual requirements and protect both customers and partners.