We’ve written before about the importance of structuring your security practices to allow only necessary access to necessary people. Today, I’m going to describe what operations security means at IWCO Direct, its importance to our business, and what you should know about your marketing provider’s operations security measures.
What Does “Operations Security” Entail?
As a term, “operations security” can cover a wide range of concerns. At IWCO Direct, we define it as the operational procedures and responsibilities pertaining to data confidentiality, availability, and integrity. These include protection from malware, backup, logging and monitoring, technical vulnerability management, and audit considerations. These guide the day-to-day operations of IT and information security. We aim to ensure systems are built and configured to the proper standards, changes are documented and approved, activity is monitored, vulnerabilities are identified and remediated, and operations are reviewed to ensure compliance with requirements.
Comprehensive operations security has clear benefits for businesses like IWCO Direct, including greater control over sensitive information and the ways it can be accessed. However, clients also benefit from the assurance that their data requirements are understood, that there is a plan or script to meet them, and that their marketing partner employs capable stewards to ensure things are operating as expected.
What You Should Know About Your Marketing Provider’s Operations Security
No matter who you’re working with, it’s important that you understand and feel comfortable with your marketing provider’s operations security. Here are a few questions to keep in mind when considering your marketing partner’s data confidentiality, availability, and integrity practices:
- Do you understand your own requirements? Have you devised a plan to meet them? How do you ensure that changes are appropriately documented and approved?
- Does your marketing partner understand your data retention requirements? How are they going to meet them?
- Has your marketing partner implemented any controls to monitor, analyze, and alert on operations activity? Policies, configuration standards, and anti-virus tools are great—but how does your marketing partner ensure that they are being followed and are effective day-to-day? Real-time threat monitoring in the form of audit logging and vulnerability scanning is a must if your supplier is holding your sensitive data.
As far as operations security is concerned, vigilance is a product of how frequently and quickly threats can be responded to. That’s why it’s important for security engineers to stay connected to an alert system. Our tools analyze vulnerabilities, network traffic, and internal activity on a real-time basis and are configured to alert engineers upon discovery of an issue.
New Data Regulations Mean Increased Responsibility
From the client perspective, another crucial aspect of operations security is the ability to request backup and retention rules for your data. Can your supplier handle your requirements specific to your policy, legal, regulatory, and compliance obligations? With new regulations like GDPR, as well as existing requirements around legal, protected health, and financial data, you should feel confident that your marketing partner is prepared to provide necessary information upon request.
In this context, operations security means more than being careful with data (both yours and others’). It’s about balancing a commitment to knowing where, when, and how data is being accessed with the capability to respond to threats, intrusions, or irregular activity at a moment’s notice.
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