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Insights / Blog / Cybersecurity

Future-proof IT security concept: What companies should know

April 12, 2023

An IT security concept may sound like a lot of effort and significant changes at first. At the same time, it is clear that to position oneself for the future, a company must have an eye on its own IT security today, regardless of its size or industry.

The fact that threats are becoming more diverse, cybercriminals are becoming more proficient, and the attack surface is growing through remote work, networks, and cloud is no secret. We repeatedly see reports in the media of attacks, leaks, and data theft.

The consequences of such an incident are multi-layered: On the one hand, they are, of course, financial losses and expenses, especially in extortion cases, but also when revenues are lost due to paralyzed systems. On the other hand, such an event can also lead to a massive loss of trust among customers and, of course, to reputational damage.

Therefore, cybersecurity is essential. But isolated measures and half-hearted intentions such as "We need to better protect our systems and data" are simply not sufficient. For long-term protection, a company can't avoid an IT security concept.

IT security concept – what is it exactly?

An IT security concept regulates information security in the company, in writing, based on defined guidelines. It's not meant as a detailed technical implementation plan or a catalog of measures, but as a holistic consideration of a company's IT with the following objectives:

  • Confidentiality: There is a clear regulation of which data is accessible to which people. Compliance is ensured, for example, through user rights or spatial access restrictions.
  • Integrity: Data must not be modified without authorization and only with complete identification of the changes.
  • Availability: Data is always available.

The IT security concept can, therefore, include technical or organizational measures that contribute to these three protection objectives, such as the allocation of user rights, access restrictions, regulations regarding protocols, as well as measures that prevent system failures.

What are the components of an IT security concept?

So much for the definition. But what does that mean specifically? The answer, as so often, is: it depends. Because an IT security concept can't be developed and applied generally; it must be individually tailored to the requirements and circumstances of an organization.

The following areas should be covered:

Inventory analysis: In the inventory analysis, the protection requirements are determined to define the scope of the IT security concept. Not only infrastructure aspects such as software, hardware, and applications are relevant but also organizational and personnel aspects.

IT structure analysis: A detailed and structured recording and analysis of the assets to be protected is carried out here, for example, applications and IT systems, but also business processes and premises.

Protection requirement creation: A protection level is assigned to the information and processes to be protected, based, for example, on an analysis of potential resulting damages.

Security and risk analysis: A basic security check is used to verify which security measures have already been implemented to what extent. The risk analysis helps to identify vulnerabilities and set priorities.

Information security can also be demonstrated through various certifications and standards (e.g., ISO 27001). If a company wants or needs such certification, it must comply with the corresponding regulations. Of course, there are also several measures that are generally useful, such as:

  • Creating a security awareness throughout the entire company, e.g. through internal communication as well as training and education for employees.
  • Implementing regular security updates on all devices.
  • Introducing encryption technologies.
  • Using technologies such as firewalls and intrusion detection/prevention systems.
  • Regularly checking systems for vulnerabilities.
  • Developing and regularly testing emergency plans and recovery strategies.
  • Implementing cloud security solutions and monitoring the cloud infrastructure.
  • Using multi-factor authentication and biometric identification methods.
  • Implementing access controls and authorization management.

How should a company proceed?

The scope and nature of threats posed by cybercrime have grown rapidly in recent years. So it makes total sense that organizations find it hard to keep up with these developments and develop and implement appropriate measures. If there are no internal specialists with the necessary expertise, which is the case in many organizations, it can be useful to seek professional advice or support from experienced experts for planning and implementation.

It's important to take action on the good intentions for more IT security and develop a future-proof overall concept – and of course, ensure proper implementation and continuous monitoring. Because what really counts in the event of an attack are the measures implemented.