Critical Success Factors and Indicators to Improve Information Systems Security Management Actions

Critical Success Factors and Indicators to Improve Information Systems Security Management Actions

Jose M. Torres (TECNUN University of Navarra, Spain)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-855-0.ch042
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Abstract

This chapter presents an Information Systems Security Management Framework (ISSMF) which encapsulates eleven Critical Success Factors (CSFs) along with a set of 62 indicators to properly manage and track the evolution of security management models. These CSFs have been identified as the most cited key factors published in the current information security literature. The set of indicators has been strictly designed for organizations seeking simple and fast alternatives to estimate current information systems security status. Furthermore, the authors have found that current organizations, particularly small and medium size enterprises, use reactive and irresponsible security strategies due to the scarcity of human and economic resources. Therefore, this chapter approaches security from a managerial perspective allowing systems administrators, especially those with a more technical profile, to build their personal balanced security scorecard choosing the CSFs and indicators that fit best in every case.
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Introduction

For how long can an organization survive without efficiently working information systems (IS)? Although the answer varies from one organization to another, undoubtedly information has become the main resource for current organizations. They no longer compete based on tangible resources, but rather base their competition on intangibles such as innovation and knowledge where information is an indispensable ingredient (Sveiby, 1997). We have reached a point where a few hours or even seconds of IS unavailability could represent large economic and reputation losses. We are also facing a situation where insecure IS acquisitions, connections or networks can become as deadly as a backpack full of explosives (Sherman, 2005).

The urgency to correctly manage and secure IS has been triggered by two main factors. Firstly, the rapid acquisition of IS across all business sectors, reflected by the average IT operational budgets growth from 2.5 percent in 2005 up to 4.1 percent in 2006 (IT Spending, 2006), has increased IS dependency and complexity. On the one hand, IS dependency compromises business continuity since large amount of critical data gets digitally stored and it can be found, modified or stolen if it is not properly secured. On the other hand, connectivity among departments as well as with external agents such as customers, suppliers, information sources, administration, and so on, creates new security holes making systems vulnerable and hard to manage.

In addition, lack of awareness and human resources cause security design and implementation tasks to fall behind schedule because security is perceived as a non-functional requirement1. As a result, the gap between IS acquisition and IS Security implementation leaves the system exposed to potential risks.

The widespread use of automated attack tools has caused the incident rate to increase exponentially (see Figure 1). The increment has been so drastic that security incident response centers such as CERT-CC2 has stopped counting them since 2003. Such indicator not longer provides relevant information to assess the scope and impact of attacks.

Figure 1.

Reported incidents by CERT-CC

Therefore, if we combine the factors mentioned above with new hacking trends, no longer based on fame but based on money making endeavors, it can be concluded that organizations are presently significantly exposed to higher risks. Information security is no longer a choice but a necessity if organizations want to keep enjoying acceptable IS performance that enables them to accomplish their business objectives.

Now, knowing the road towards information security and finding it are two different stories. Information security has traditionally been approached by managers and researchers as a merely technical issue. For instance, in a recent information security conference, the 9th ISC 2006 (ISC, 2006), approximately 77 percent of the papers accepted to the conference touched technical issues, while 18 percent touched policies or procedures issues and only 5 percent addressed human-related security issues. In fact, it has been found that security management’s prominence is surprisingly decreasing into the research community (Botha & Gaadingwe, 2006) showing strong evidence that technical research and improvements still prevail over organizational ones.

Initiatives such as the ISO 270023, CE Directives4, Basel II5, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act6 and the new Companies Act7 are trying to align technical and organizational discrepancies by offering sets of business-oriented solutions. Curiously, organizations have not reacted to this challenge in the same way. Some organizations still rely on technical equipment and technological solutions while others, with higher degree of awareness, have made some progress. Despite the progress made on awareness, there is still confusion and uncertainty, especially in small and medium size enterprises (SMEs), about the needed security level.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Information Security: A well-informed sense of assurance that information risks and technical, formal and informal security controls are in dynamic balance (Torres et al, 2006).

Indicator: Taking measurements over time and comparing two or more measurements with predefined baselines (Kajava & Savola, 2005).

Critical Success Factors: Important components of a strategic plan that must be achieved in addition to the organization’s goals and objectives. Their successful execution must drive the organization towards accomplishing its mission (Caralli & Wilson, 2004).

Information Systems Security Management: The process of developing, implementing and monitoring an organization’s security strategy, goals, and activities (Caralli & Wilson, 2004).

Social engineering: Acquiring information about computer systems through non-technical means (Winkler, 1996). Also defined as the practice of obtaining confidential information by manipulation of legitimate users (Wikipedia, 2006).

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Table of Contents
Preface
Jatinder N. D. Gupta, Sushil Sharma
Acknowledgment
Jatinder N. D. Gupta, Sushil Sharma
Chapter 1
Xin Luo, Qinyu Liao
In computer virology, advanced encryption algorithms, on the bright side, can be utilized to effectively protect valuable information assets of... Sample PDF
Ransomware: A New Cyber Hijacking Threat to Enterprises
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Chapter 2
Joon S. Park
E-commerce has grown immensely with the increase in activity on the Internet, and this increase in activity, while immeasurable, has also presented... Sample PDF
E-Commerce: The Benefits, Security Risks, and Countermeasures
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Chapter 3
Pamela Ajoku
Even though weapons and money are considered important factors for running a modern world, at the end of the day, it is all about controlling and... Sample PDF
Information Warfare: Survival of the Fittest
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Chapter 4
Gaeil An, Joon S. Park
In this chapter, we discuss the evolution of the enterprise security federation, including why the framework should be evolved and how it has been... Sample PDF
Evolution of Enterprise Security Federation
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Chapter 5
Roy Ng
The hypergrowth of computing and communications technologies increases security vulnerabilities to organizations. The lack of resources training... Sample PDF
A Holistic Approach to Information Security Assurance and Risk Management in an Enterprise
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Chapter 6
John D’Arcy, Anat Hovav
A number of academic studies that focus on various aspects of information security management (ISM) have emerged in recent years. This body of work... Sample PDF
An Integrative Framework for the Study of Information Security Management Research
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Chapter 7
Aditya Ponnam
Organizations worldwide recognize the importance of a comprehensive, continuously evolving risk assessment process, built around a solid risk... Sample PDF
Information Systems Risk Management: An Audit and Control Approach
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Chapter 8
Udaya Kiran Tupakula
In this chapter we discuss Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks in networks such as the Internet, which have become significantly prevalent... Sample PDF
Distributed Denial of Service Attacks in Networks
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Chapter 9
Andy Luse
This chapter describes various firewall conventions, and how these technologies operate when deployed on a corporate network. Terms associated with... Sample PDF
Firewalls as Continuing Solutions for Network Security
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Chapter 10
Jamie Twycross
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An Immune-Inspired Approach to Anomaly Detection
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Chapter 11
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This chapter introduces cryptography from information security phase rather than from deep mathematical and theoretical aspects, along with... Sample PDF
Cryptography for Information Security
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Chapter 12
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The chapter introduces and describes representative defense mechanisms to protect from both basic and advanced exploitation of low-level coding... Sample PDF
Memory Corruption Attacks, Defenses, and Evasions
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Chapter 13
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This chapter presents the design and the implementation of a decentralized firewall. The latter uses autonomous agents to coordinately control the... Sample PDF
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Chapter 14
Tom Coffey
This chapter concerns the correct and reliable design of modern security protocols. It discusses the importance of formal verification of security... Sample PDF
A Formal Verification Centred Development Process for Security Protocols
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Chapter 15
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Edge-to-Edge Network Monitoring to Detect Service Violations and DoS Attacks
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Chapter 16
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A "One-Pass" Methodology for Sensitive Data Disk Wipes
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Chapter 17
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Chapter 18
Li Yang, Raimund K. Ege, Lin Luo
This chapter describes our approach to handle security in a complex Distributed Virtual Environment (DVE). The modules of such an environment all... Sample PDF
Aspect-Oriented Analysis of Security in Distributed Virtual Environment
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Chapter 19
Information Availability  (pages 230-239)
Deepak Khazanchi
This chapter describes the concept of information availability (IAV) which is considered an important element of information security. IAV is... Sample PDF
Information Availability
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Chapter 20
Siraj Ahmed Shaikh
The purpose of this chapter is to introduce the reader to the research area of formal analysis of authentication protocols. It briefly introduces... Sample PDF
Formal Analysis and Design of Authentication Protocols
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Chapter 21
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Access Control Frameworks for a Distributed System
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Chapter 22
Manish Gupta, JinKyu Lee, H. R. Rao
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Chapter 23
Sue Conger
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Chapter 24
Sushma Mishra
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Chapter 25
William H. Friedman
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IT Continuity in the Face of Mishaps
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Chapter 26
Yvette Ghormley
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Chapter 27
Yvette Ghormley
The number and severity of attacks on computer and information systems in the last two decades has steadily risen and mandates the use of security... Sample PDF
Security Policies and Procedures
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Chapter 28
Arjmand Samuel
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Enterprise Access Control Policy Engineering Framework
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Chapter 29
Sushil K. Sharma, Jatinder N.D. Gupta
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Information Security Policies: Precepts and Practices
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Chapter 30
Paul D. Witman
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A Guide to Non-Disclosure Agreements for Researchers
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Chapter 31
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Chapter 32
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Chapter 33
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Chapter 34
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Six Keys to Improving Wireless Security
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Chapter 35
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Chapter 36
Wm. Arthur Conklin
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Chapter 37
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Chapter 38
Tom Clark
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Data Security for Storage Area Networks
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Chapter 39
Edgar Weippl
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Chapter 40
Manish Gupta
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Chapter 41
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Chapter 42
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Critical Success Factors and Indicators to Improve Information Systems Security Management Actions
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Chapter 43
Rebecca H. Rutherfoord
This chapter will deal with issues of privacy, societal, and ethical concerns in enterprise security. Security for a company is defined as... Sample PDF
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Chapter 44
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An MDA Compliant Approach for Designing Secure Data Warehouses
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Chapter 45
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Survivability Evaluation Modeling Techniques and Measures
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Chapter 46
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Chapter 47
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About the Contributors