Protecting data and information systems is of critical importance to IWCO Direct and our clients. Now more than ever, marketers need to be certain nothing is left to chance when it comes to the security of their data. Today we wanted to zero in on the crucial importance of an information security policy, and why marketers must pay close attention to how robust their direct marketing partner’s is.
Companies need to ensure that their vendors take security as seriously as they do, because vendors can often be the weakest link in a security chain. Your organization may have the best internal security controls in the world, but if you give your data to a vendor that doesn’t, they may be compromising your hard work.
The Lack of an Information Security Policy is a Red Flag
At a fundamental level, a lack of an information security policy should be a concern. A policy is a document that states that a particular set of high-level requirements is important to an organization’s success. It should be signed by a person or group in a position of authority, such as senior management, signifying support from the highest level of the organization. A policy without the support of leadership will be easily challenged and hard to enforce. The lack of an information security policy suggests an organization has not identified how security fits into the organization’s success and objectives. It’s also a signal that leadership may not have considered the security risks to their organization.
While our policy touches on all the major topics one would expect in an information security policy, such as access control, physical security, acceptable use, and many others, perhaps the most important section concerns the Information Security Management System (ISMS). This defines management intent, roles and responsibilities, and our approach to continually measuring and improving our security practices. Don’t underestimate the importance of an ISMS. Defining your firewall rules or how to configure a server is certainly important, but without a foundation—without a clear understanding of why you’re implementing a particular control and how it serves the goals of the organization—you’re only seeing half the picture.
Buy-In from Senior Leadership is Essential
The foundation of a great information security program is built on an understanding of the organization and its context (e.g., what it produces, what it must protect, etc.) and how it’s going to achieve its security goals. A strong policy with clear commitment from leadership is a key indicator that an organization is off to a good start.
At IWCO Direct, our Security Steering Committee is a multi-disciplinary committee chaired by members of senior management responsible for the oversight and administration of the ISMS. It is the responsibility of all committee members to maintain awareness of new and existing laws and regulations related to security matters that may impact company service offerings. Having the input of leadership from each department in the organization, such as IT, HR, Operations, Finance, and Business Services ensures that every department has a say, understands their responsibilities, and can be a security leader for their team.
Having a dedicated team whose primary responsibilities are to execute leadership’s vision for security, measure effectiveness, and provide feedback for improvement shows that security is important to the organization, and that it has allocated the necessary resources to ensure the success of its security program.
If you’re uncertain about any aspects of your direct marketing partner’s information security policy, be sure to ask for clarification right away. And if you have any questions about IWCO Direct’s policy, please let us know. We’re always happy to discuss this important topic.
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