What is security management?
Security management is the high-level process of cataloguing enterprise IT assets and developing the documentation and policies to protect them from internal and external threats and cyberthreats. Although the types of identified assets will vary from organisation to organisation, they will often include people, physical facilities, technology and data. Beyond categorisation, this exhaustive analysis helps identify potential security risks and inform procedures for managing, responding and resolving threats, especially as they relate to cybersecurity.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) co-published a series of requirements and recommendations that help inform and certify security management systems, called ISO/IEC 27001. First created in 2003 in the Netherlands and later updated in 2013, it’s now often used as the standard for developing IT and data security strategies.
Why is security management important?
Security management is important because it gives enterprises and organisations a proven, reliable groundwork for protecting their infrastructure from loss, theft and disruption – primarily for cybersecurity purposes. For companies, especially ones working with massive amounts of data, applications and other workloads across distributed networks and multiple locations, thorough risk analysis and assessment can help prevent cyberattacks from happening, minimise downtime during and after an attack and improve recovery time.
Security management also establishes IT roles and procedures through formal documentation, helping eliminate role confusion, human errors and miscues as well as ensuring compliance with industry standards and regulations. Thorough security management can even standardise the process of adding new components and infrastructure.
How does security management work?
The security management process can be broken down into three general phases: assessment, awareness and activation.
During this stage, security leaders establish the policy framework for their IT. The first step is conducting an in-depth itemisation of all IT assets – every device, piece of hardware and software, and beyond – and comparing it to an organisation’s business and compliance needs, as well as vetting existing IT for any vulnerabilities or gaps and assigning credential protocols. Once completed, IT leadership can use those findings to inform policy and procedure creation.
With the security management structure in place, the next step involves sharing the results and educating not only the IT team but all employees in the organisation. The education portion can include anything from basic cybersecurity best practices to detailing roles and responsibilities with third-party providers.
The final phase consists of several important actions, namely strategy enforcement for compliance, comprehensive monitoring and response, and routine maintenance. And while, in some respects, this phase represents a final set of actions, it also includes ongoing revisions as needed, whether for adapting to new business needs, incorporating new technologies or responding to new threats.
What are the risks of forgoing security management?
Not accounting for or protecting your IT structure from end to end can have costly – and catastrophic – consequences. Not only will cyberattackers and other cyberthreats find ways to infiltrate your network and damage, steal and destroy data and resources virtually at will, but those compromises can impact people outside of the organisation. For example, a hacktivist could disrupt an oil and gas producer’s operations, setting off a series of events that could include lost revenue, interrupted supply chains, higher gas prices and, in extreme situations, compromised safety functions that could lead to employees being injured or worse. What’s more, having a reputation for haphazard security measures can hurt your public image, your standing within the industry and your potential for future growth.
Internally, security management makes managing your IT environments more efficient and proactive. Without it, you risk lapses in security oversight that could lead to slower threat identification and response times, unclear protocols and responsibilities, an inability to adapt to evolving cybersecurity issues and, ultimately, stymied innovation potential.
What is cloud security management?
Cloud security management is a sub-specialisation of security management. While developing cloud security policies follows a similar path (e.g. assessment, awareness and activation), it focuses on cloud-specific infrastructure rather than physical assets, with the ultimate goal of securing digital assets via rigorous access controls, data encryption and analysis, and proactive monitoring.
Strong cloud security management enables lots of IT flexibility and opportunities for automation. Like traditional security management, it can help maintain compliance, protect reputations and reduce demand on IT teams. With monitoring and other tasks offloaded to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), IT teams can spend less time on mundane, labour-intensive workloads.
HPE and security management
HPE is well known for its high-performance and secure portfolio of products and services, from powerful hardware to end-to-end solutions. These services are designed for enterprise-level deployments that can reinforce existing security strategies and transform security from a time-consuming obstacle to an accelerator of innovation.
Options such as HPE Security and Digital Protection Services provide edge, cloud and data protection using adaptive models and industry expertise to keep pace with new cyberthreats and technology initiatives, with risk and security management solutions that include modern approaches like Zero Trust security and DevSecOps with industry standards such as NIST. For more infrastructure-specific security, HPE Security Solutions offers silicon-to-cloud defences across distributed networks.
Other HPE security offerings such as Project Cosigno focus specifically on identity authentication. Rooted in Zero Trust protocols, it provides security and infrastructure engineering teams with a web-scale, unified platform to broker and issue service identities. Unlike other approaches, the solution provides scalable, cryptographic, platform-agnostic identities based on open standards (SPIFFE). As a result, it enables companies to boost security operations and developer productivity, reduce application on-boarding and accelerate cloud or container adoption while strengthening overall security.