Information Security Management System (ISMS)

Information Security Management (ISM) defines procedures and activities that an organization should implement to ensure the protection of the confidentiality, availability, and integrity of its information assets from various threats and vulnerabilities. By extension, ISM includes information risk management, a process that assesses the risks which an organization faces in the management and protection of assets along with the dissemination of the risks to all the stakeholders involved.

ISMS is part of the broader information security management (ISM). It implements and regulates processes, technological infostructure, and employees’ behaviour as a systematic approach to provide information security and data protection. Organizations typically implement ISMS based on widely accepted and respected standers such as ISO/IEC 27001. But in general, there are a variety of standards, licenses, and regulations which organizations have or choose to comply. ISMS can be implemented in a comprehensive way in which it will hardwire in the company’s culture or be more specific in the data that it wants to secure.

To better understand ISMS, it is worth understanding its difference from general information security. ISMS to information security is what a quality management system is for quality. Many isolated activities can be done to increase the quality of products, but the quality management system takes a holistic approach and puts all the activities in perspective. Businesses can spend a lot on the quality of their products, but without a coherent system in place, they are vulnerable, both in reaching the quality level that they envisage and in maintaining it.

The same analogy applies to ISMS. One can invest considerably in separate elements of information security such as firewalls and security applications but fall short in other respects. Ironically, organizations that do not possess ISMS do so due to the high cost and complexity of such a system. ISMS Standardize information security’s different parts and procedures in one coherent system. There are a number of standards for ISMS. The most prominent is ISO/IEC 27001. From large private enterprises such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and governmental institutions to SMEs all benefit from implementing the procedures and obtaining an ISO/IEC 27001 license.

This ISMS system focuses on protecting three critical aspects of information:

  1. Confidentiality: The information is not available or disclosed to unauthorized people, entities or processes.
  2. Integrity: The information is complete and accurate, and protected from corruption.
  3. Availability: The information is accessible and usable by authorized users.

Thus, the establishment, maintenance and continuous update of an ISMS provide a strong indication that a company uses a systematic approach for the identification, assessment and management of information security risks.

Data privacy has become a top concern for the organization. This is vivid on the one hand, in the increasing demand for information security from diverse types of organizations, and on the other hand, in governments growing concerns in this domain. Different kinds of standards, licenses and regulations have been put in place to mandate, organize and, monitor this task. Meanwhile, acquiring some licenses are turning into a somewhat individual aim for business. They seek this aim to assure their clients and customers of the security of their information and data protection. All of this has made the market for providing ISMS services flourish.

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