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INFORMATION SECURITY MANAGEMENT. Lecture 4: Information Security Policy. You got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there. – Yogi Berra. Principles of Information Security Management. Chapters 2 & 3. Chapter 4.

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Lecture 4:

Information Security Policy

You got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going,

because you might not get there. – Yogi Berra

principles of information security management
Principles of Information Security Management

Chapters 2 & 3

Chapter 4

Include the following characteristics that will be the focus of the current course (six P’s):

  • Planning
  • Policy
  • Programs
  • Protection
  • People
  • Project Management

“The success of an information resources protection program depends on the policy generated, and on the attitude of management toward securing information on automated systems”

Policy is the essential foundation of an effective information security program

  • Explains the will of the organization’s management in controlling the behavior of employees
  • Policies are the least expensive means of control and often the most difficult to implement
policy standards and practices
Policy, Standards, and Practices
  • Policy & Types
    • Enterprise
    • Issue-specific
    • Systems-specific
  • Standards
  • Practices
enterprise information security policy eisp
Enterprise Information Security Policy (EISP)
  • Sets strategic direction, scope, and tone for organization’s security efforts
  • Assigns responsibilities for various areas of information security
eisp elements
EISP Elements
  • Overview of the corporate philosophy on security
  • Information about information security organization and information security roles
    • Responsibilities for security that are shared by all members of the organization
    • Responsibilities for security that are unique to each role within the organization
example uncw security policy
Example: UNCW Security Policy


  • Enterprise Information Security Policy

Additional Examples:

example esip components
Example ESIP Components
  • Statement of purpose
  • Information technology security elements
  • Need for information technology security
  • Information technology security responsibilities and roles
  • Reference to other information technology standards and guidelines
issue specific security policy issp
Issue-Specific Security Policy (ISSP)
  • Provides detailed, targeted guidance
  • Protects organization from inefficiency and ambiguity
  • Protects organization from inefficiency and ambiguity (cont’d.)
  • Indemnifies the organization against liability for an employee’s inappropriate or illegal system use
issue specific security policy cont d
Issue-Specific Security Policy (cont’d.)
  • Every organization’s ISSP should:
    • Address specific technology-based systems
    • Require frequent updates
    • Contain an issue statement on the organization’s position on an issue
issp topics
ISSP - Topics
  • Email and internet use
  • Minimum system configurations
  • Prohibitions against hacking
  • Home use of company-owned computer equipment
  • Use of personal equipment on company networks
  • Use of telecommunications technologies
  • Use of photocopy equipment
example of issp
Example of ISSP


Acceptable Use of Systems Policy

components of the issp
Components of the ISSP
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Authorized Access and Usage of Equipment
  • Prohibited Usage of Equipment
  • Systems management
  • Violations of policy
  • Policy review and modification
  • Limitations of liability
implementing the issp
Implementing the ISSP
  • Common approaches
    • Several independent documents
    • A single comprehensive document
    • A modular document that unifies policy creation and administration
system specific security policy
System-Specific Security Policy
  • System-specific security policies (SysSPs) frequently do not look like other types of policy
  • SysSPs can be separated into:
    • Management guidance
    • Technical specifications
    • Or combined
managerial guidance syssps
Managerial Guidance SysSPs
  • Created by management to guide the implementation and configuration of technology
  • Applies to any technology that affects the confidentiality, integrity or availability of information
  • Informs technologists of management intent
technical specifications syssps
Technical Specifications SysSPs
  • System administrators’ directions on implementing managerial policy
  • General methods of implementing technical controls
    • Access control lists
    • Configuration rules
technical specifications syssps cont d
Technical Specifications SysSPs (cont’d.)
  • Access control lists
    • Include the user access lists, matrices, and capability tables that govern the rights and privileges
    • Enable administrations to restrict access according to user, computer, time, duration, or even a particular file
technical specifications syssps cont d1
Technical Specifications SysSPs (cont’d.)
  • Access control lists regulate who, what, when, where and how
    • Restricting what users can access, e.g. printers, files, communications, and applications
  • Administrators set user privileges
    • Read, write, create, modify, delete, compare, copy
technical specifications syssps cont d2
Technical Specifications SysSPs (cont’d.)
  • Configuration rules
    • Specific configuration codes entered into security systems
  • Rule policies are more specific to system operation than ACLs
    • May or may not deal with users directly
technical specifications syssps cont d3
Technical Specifications SysSPs (cont’d.)

Many security systems require specific configuration scripts telling the systems what actions to perform on each set of information they process

technical specifications syssps cont d4
Technical Specifications SysSPs (cont’d.)
  • Often organizations create a single document combining elements of both management guidance and technical specifications SysSPs
technical specifications syssps case study
Technical Specifications SysSPs:Case Study

Disaster at a University:

A Case Study in Information Security



People Involved

Approach and Resolution



guidelines for effective policy
Guidelines for Effective Policy
  • For policies to be effective, they must be properly:
    • Developed
    • Distributed or disseminated
    • Reviewed or read
    • Understood
    • Formally agreed to
    • Uniformly applied and enforced
developing information security policy
Developing Information Security Policy
  • It is often useful to view policy development as a two-part project
    • Design and develop the policy (or redesign and rewrite an outdated policy)
    • Establish management processes to perpetuate the policy within the organization
developing information security policy cont d
Developing Information Security Policy (cont’d.)
  • Policy development projects should be
    • Well planned
    • Properly funded
    • Aggressively managed to ensure that it is completed on time and within budget
  • The policy development project can be guided by the SecSDLC process
secsdlc process of policy development
SecSDLC Process of Policy Development
  • Investigation phase
    • Obtain support from senior management
    • Clearly articulate the goals of the policy project
    • Acquire a capable project manager
    • Develop a detailed outline of and sound estimates for project cost and scheduling
developing information security policy cont d1
Developing Information Security Policy (cont’d.)
  • Analysis phase should produce
    • New or recent risk assessment or IT audit documenting the current information security needs of the organization
    • Key reference materials
      • Including any existing policies
developing information security policy cont d2
Developing Information Security Policy (cont’d.)
  • Design phase includes
    • How the policies will be distributed
    • How verification of the distribution will be accomplished
developing information security policy cont d3
Developing Information Security Policy (cont’d.)
  • Implementation phase includes
    • Writing the policies
    • Policy distribution
  • Maintenance Phase
    • Maintain and modify the policy as needed
    • Built-in reporting mechanism
    • Periodic review
automated tools
Automated Tools

Figure 4-10 The VigilEnt policy center

Source: Course Technology/Cengage Learning

alternative approaches the information securities policy made easy approach
Alternative Approaches: The Information Securities Policy Made Easy Approach
  • Gathering key reference materials
  • Defining a framework for policies
  • Preparing a coverage matrix
  • Making critical systems design decisions
  • Structuring review, approval, and enforcement processes
alternative approaches guide for developing security plans for federal information systems
Alternative Approaches: Guide for Developing Security Plans for Federal Information Systems
  • NIST Special Publication 800-18, Rev. 1 reinforces a business process-centered approach to policy management
  • Policies are living documents
  • Good management practices for policy development and maintenance make for a more resilient organization

Alternative Approaches: Guide for Developing Security Plans for Federal Information Systems

Management of Information Security, 3rd ed.

  • Policy requirements
    • An individual responsible for reviews
    • A schedule of reviews
    • A method for making recommendations for reviews
    • An indication of policy and revision date
a final note on policy
A Final Note on Policy

Lest you believe that the only reason to have policies is to avoid litigation, it is important to emphasize the preventative nature of policy.

next class
Next Class
  • Read Chapter 5 – Security Programs
  • Case Studies
    • In lieu of discussion, we will be covering the cases during lecture. Be prepared to discuss your assigned case and read the other cases
  • Assessment 1
  • Topic Paper Presentation – Howard/Vince