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Information Security Policy sample essay

1. Executive Summary

Due in Week Nine: Write 3 to 4 paragraphs giving a bottom-line summary of the specific measureable goals and objectives of the security plan, which can be implemented to define optimal security architecture for the selected business scenario.

The goal of this security policy is to lay out a basic plan for a secure information system to be used by Bloom Design Group. This policy will protect the company’s systems from threats that can come from humans and from natural disasters as well. The policy will also put into consideration the privacy, reputation, intellectual property and productivity of the Bloom Design Group. The continued operation of this company depends on being able to access and use resources within the organization and being able to remote access with security. Each persons role in the company will be considered and appropriate access will be given to ensure the efficient operation of the business, while not giving access to those who are not authorized. This policy will also help in the company’s adherence to any governmental regulations. Any disruptions of service or security related issues will be dealt with immediately by means of system software that is automated to handle certain threats. More serious issues will be dealt with by the IT staff whose responsibility it is to oversee the everyday operation of the information system.

2. Introduction

Due in Week One: Give an overview of the company and the security goals to be achieved.

2.1. Company overview
The Bloom Design Group is a company that offers interior design services to businesses and individuals around the world. There corporate office is located in New York with a secondary office in Los Angeles for handling operations on the West coast. They have a web site that offers their customers the ability to work up their designs online and then purchase them through a electronic order processing system. Also, the designers use secure logins and passwords to access the web site. A large number of the workforce work remotely possibly using tablets or ipads connected to secure VPNs or Virtual Private Networks.

2.2. Security policy overview
Bloom Design group already provides secure logins and networks to their employees so they already have some type of system setup already. However, this does not mean it is a system that works efficiently. I think the appropriate security policy to implement for this project would be system specific.

2.3. Security policy goals
As applies to your selected scenario, explain how the confidentiality, integrity, and availability principles of information security will be addressed by the information security policy.

2.3.1. Confidentiality
The policy I plan to implement will help to protect information by reviewing how the company stores sensitive information such as employee and client records, trade secrets, and other sensitive data.

2.3.2. Integrity
Since the company will be using passwords and secure logins the system will not be accessible to the public. So the primary focus should be on the employees. Authentication and verification can be done using a data log to keep records of employees activity while on the company’s VPN. Also, the use of a firewall will help with integrity as it will prevent employees from unknowingly accessing damaging websites.

2.3.3. Availability
The policy I plan to use will help with back-up and recovery by the possible use of cloud storage or a central data storage center. Although they are already using secure logins for access control the whole system needs to be reviewed. This is to make sure only authorized personnel have access to sensitive areas.

3. Disaster Recovery Plan
Due in Week Three: For your selected scenario, describe the key elements of the Disaster Recovery Plan to be used in case of a disaster and the plan for testing the DRP.

3.1. Risk Assessment
3.1.1. Critical business processes
The mission-critical business systems and services that must be protected by this DRP are: Payroll, Human Resource Data, POS backup media, and Web Servers and their services.

3.1.2. Internal, external, and environmental risks
Examples of internal risks that may affect business are unauthorized access by individuals who are employed by the company, and those who aren’t employed by the company but still have access to individual store’s computer systems, applications, or areas where the servers and backup media are located. Other external and environmental risks include fire, floods, power outages, hardware failure, software glitches and failure, storms, and other acts of nature.

3.2. Disaster Recovery Strategy
Most cases, having an alternative site (a hot site, or cold site depending on the disaster) would be the correct way of dealing with most disasters. With Bloom design group I think having a warm site facility would be the best option. Warm sites are cheaper than hot sites but require more effort. On the other hand, they are more expensive than cold-site facilities but less labor intensive and more likely to be effective in a disaster. Also, having a backup and retention site to work from, and recover from for the main servers and web services is a good idea.

3.3. Disaster Recovery Test Plan
For each testing method listed, briefly describe each method and your rationale for why it will or will not be included in your DRP test plan.

3.3.1. Walk-throughs
This test plan would be a great way for the key personnel to come together and formulate a plan of action in the event of an emergency. Due to Bloom Design group being spread across a large area it might require some video conferencing and traveling on the part of some employees.

3.3.2. Simulations
I think this test plan is the most effective when compared to the others. Simulating an actual emergency is a great way for people to get used to operating in a critical time under pressure. This will show you where your people have their strengths and weaknesses when trying to recover from a disaster.

3.3.3. Checklists
This passive type of testing would be a good system to implement on a weekly or monthly basis depending on the needs of the company. This will help in detecting problems before they become a major issue.

3.3.4. Parallel testing
Since Bloom Design group is updating their security parameters and do not have an equal type of system already implemented parallel testing would not be appropriate for this security policy.

3.3.5. Full interruption
I think this is another very effective way to test the system in the event of an emergency. However, to minimize inconveniences to the customers it would have to be done during off hours.

4. Physical Security Policy
Due in Week Five: Outline the Physical Security Policy. Merkow and Breithaupt (2006) state, “an often overlooked connection between physical systems (computer hardware) and logical systems (the software that runs on it) is that, in order to protect logical systems, the hardware running them must be physically secure” (p.165). Describe the policies for securing the facilities and the policies of securing the information systems. Outline the controls needed for each category as relates to your selected scenario. These controls may include the following:

Physical controls (such as perimeter security controls, badges, keys and combination locks, cameras, barricades, fencing, security dogs, lighting, and separating the workplace into functional areas) Technical controls (such as smart cards, audit trails or access logs, intrusion detection, alarm systems, and biometrics) Environmental or life-safety controls (such as power, fire detection and suppression, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning)

4.1. Security of the building facilities
4.1.1. Physical entry controls
At the two office locations (Los Angeles, New York) for Bloom Design Group I would use employee badges that double as an electronic key to access the building and other sensitive locations. This will work in conjunction with an access control system that limits entrance/exit to the offices through one main entrance. There will be an employee entrance as well also to be accessed by an electronic badge.

4.1.2. Security offices, rooms and facilities
For the security offices I would implement biometric scanners due to the sensitive equipment inside. Other rooms and facilities of a sensitive nature will utilize electronic badges with a photo and name of the employee.

4.1.3. Isolated delivery and loading areas
For these areas I would implement electronic key card access with the use of a CCTV system recording to a DVR. With a CCTV camera located on the driver door in the loading area the person responsible for deliveries will know when a delivery is being made and can observe he outside environment before opening the door.

4.2. Security of the information systems
4.2.1. Workplace protection
For this part of the security policy I would utilize pre-employment screening and mandatory vacation time. This prevents people from hiding illegal activities while performing their duties. Also, I would setup privileged entity controls so operators and system administrators have special access to computing resources.

4.2.2. Unused ports and cabling
For unused ports I would use a piece of security equipment that can be plugged into the unused port and can only be removed by someone with a special key. This will help prevent unauthorized access into the network. For unused cabling I would secure it in a secure storage room which can only be accessed by authorized personnel. If the above mentioned equipment isn’t available then the port should be removed.

4.2.3. Network/server equipment
Being that this is some of the most critical equipment for business operations I would use biometric locks and scanners on any room that contains this equipment. Also these rooms will be environmentally controlled with air conditioners and dehumidifiers to allow the equipment to operate at peak efficiency.

4.2.4. Equipment maintenance
Since a lot of the equipment is spread across a large region I would utilize remote communication connections to troubleshoot issues. If the maintenance need is more severe than I would have a small centrally located facility that specializes in assessing and repairing malfunctioning equipment.

4.2.5. Security of laptops/roaming equipment
For laptops and roaming equipment I would install all devices with a GPS tracker and encryption software to protect against unauthorized access. The equipment itself would be stored in a secure storage room with access being tightly controlled.

5. Access Control Policy
Due in Week Seven: Outline the Access Control Policy. Describe how access control methodologies work to secure information systems

5.1. Authentication
Authentication credentials permit the system to verify one’s identification credential. Authenticating yourself to a system tells it the information you have established to prove that you are who you say you are. Most often, this is a simple password that you set up when you receive the privilege to access a system. You may receive an assigned password initially with the requirement that you must reset it to something more personal—something that only you can remember. However, passwords are the easiest type of authentication to beat. Free and widely available programs are available on the Internet to break the security afforded by passwords on most of the commonly used systems.

With two or three factors to authenticate, an information owner can gain confidence that users who access their systems are indeed authorized to access their systems. This is accomplished by adding more controls and/or devices to the password authentication process. Biometric scanning uses unique human characteristics to identify whether the person trying to gain access is authorized to enter or not. One common approach to managing IDs and passwords is to create a password or PIN vault. These programs use secure methods to locally store IDs and passwords that are protected by a master password that unlocks the vault when it’s needed.

5.2. Access control strategy
5.2.1. Discretionary access control
The discretionary access control system will be used for Bloom Design Group because this is the favored approach in the corporate environment and due to the wide area of operations this will allow several authorized users to have access to the system at any given time. The principle of least privilege is the predominant strategy to assure confidentiality. The objective is to give people the least amount of access to a system that is needed to perform the job they’re doing. The need-to-know dictates the privilege (authority) to perform a transaction or access a resource (system, data, and so forth). An information owner is one who maintains overall responsibility for the information within an information system. For the Bloom Design Group the information owner is going to be the corporate head of IT operations.

5.2.2. Mandatory access control
In a system that uses mandatory access control (MAC; also called nondiscretionary access control), the system decides who gains access to information based on the concepts of subjects, objects, and labels, as defined below. Since the Bloom Design Group is spread out over such a large area I do not think this is the best choice for this scenario. MAC is better suited for military or governmental systems.

5.2.3. Role-based access control
Role-based access control (RBAC) group’s users with a common access need. You can assign a role for a group of users who perform the same job functions and require similar access to resources. This would also be appropriate for this scenario because it will allow the information owner to easily assign access to certain groups such as designers, office personnel, customer service associates and so forth.

5.3. Remote access
Remote Access Dial-In User Service (RADIUS) is a client/server protocol and software that enables remote access users to communicate with a central server to authenticate dial-in users and authorize their access to the requested system or service. RADIUS allows a company to set up a policy that can be applied at a single administered network point. Having a central service also means that it’s easier to track usage for billing and for keeping network statistics. A virtual private network (VPN) is another common means for remote users to access corporate networks. With a VPN, a user connects to the Internet via his or her ISP and initiates a connection to the protected network (often using a RADIUS server), creating a private tunnel between the end points that prevents eavesdropping or data modification.

6. Network Security Policy
Due in Week Nine: Outline the Network Security Policy. As each link in the chain of network protocols can be attacked, describe the policies covering security services for network access and network security control devices.

6.1. Data network overview
Due to the large geographic distances between Bloom Design Group offices a WAN is going to be utilized. WAN covers a larger geographic area than a LAN (technically, a network that covers an area larger than a single building). A WAN can span the entire nation or even the globe using satellites.

6.2. Network security services
6.2.1. Authentication
Access to documents can be restricted in one of two ways: by asking for a username and password or by the hostname of the browser being used. For Bloom Design Group employees will need to enter a user ID and password to access restricted documents and sites.

6.2.2. Access control
Unlike authentication, which is security-based on the user’s identity, restricting access based on something other than identity is called “access control.” For Bloom Design group access control to physical locations will be done by controlled by electronic badges. More sensitive areas such as the server rooms will utilize biometric scanners.

6.2.3. Data confidentiality
This service protects data against unauthorized disclosure and has two components: content confidentiality and message flow confidentiality. For Bloom Design group all messages transmitted and received through company offices will be encrypted to prevent the unauthorized viewing of sensitive company documents.

6.2.4. Data integrity
The goal is to protect data from accidental or malicious modification whether during data transfer, data storage, or from an operation performed on it, and to preserve it for its intended use. For Bloom Design Group the only people who will be authorized to make changes or modifications will be the Head of the IT department and anyone else they deem necessary.

6.2.5. Nonrepudiation
A service guaranteeing that the sender of a message cannot deny having sent the message and the receiver cannot deny having received the message. I do not think this will be necessary for Bloom Design group. However, if it does then the proper modifications can always be made.

6.2.6. Logging and monitoring
These services allow IS specialists to observe system activity during and after the fact by using monitoring and logging tools. These include operating system logs, server records, application log errors, warnings, and observation of network, switch and router traffic between network segments. I do not think this will be necessary for Bloom Design Group as a whole. However, it will be utilized for any programs having to do with the servers due to its sensitive business content.

6.3. Firewall system
Outline the roles of the following network security control devices and how these basic security infrastructures are used to protect the company’s network against malicious activity. Provide a description of each type of firewall system and how it is used to protect the network. Include how the firewall system is or is not applicable to the company’s network configuration in your selected scenario.

6.3.1. Packet-filtering router firewall system
The most common Internet firewall system consists of nothing more than a packet-filtering router deployed between the private network and the Internet. A packet-filtering router performs the typical routing functions of forwarding traffic between networks as well as using packet-filtering rules to permit or deny traffic.

6.3.2. Screened host firewall system
The second firewall example employs both a packet-filtering router and a bastion host. This firewall system provides higher levels of security than the previous example because it implements both Network-Layer security (packet-filtering) and Application-Layer security (proxy services). Also, an intruder has to penetrate two separate systems before the security of the private network can be compromised. This will be the option chosen for Bloom Design Group based on needs and cost. Since Bloom Design group is not a governmental or military related company then it doesn’t require the most elaborate form of firewall protection.

6.3.3. Screened-Subnet firewall system
The final firewall example employs two packet-filtering routers and a bastion host. This firewall system creates the most secure firewall system, as it supports both Network-Layer and Application-Layer security while defining a “demilitarized zone” (DMZ) network.

7. References
Cite all your references by adding the pertinent information to this section by following this example. American Psychological Association. (2001). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

Information Security: Principles and Practices, by Mark S. Merkow, CISSP, CISM and Jim Breithaupt.

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