Importance of Information Systems Documentation for Security – What, How, and Why to Document? 

what is cyber security

Today, the risk of security incidents and potential breaches is higher than ever before. Breaches affect large numbers of financial organizations, healthcare organizations, public-sector entities, and organizations of every industry. Effectively maintained and adaptable security programs can mitigate these risks and respond to incidents quickly. 

Information is the most important asset an organization can possess and this information is usually managed by information systems, due to its large volume. The security of such information systems is maintained by measures taken to prevent threats to systems or to detect and correct the effects of any damage. Security measures minimize the access to information for authorized individuals. Information system security aims to protect corporate assets or, at least, to limit their loss. It has been advised to have proper security of information systems as there would be no privacy or confidentiality of data records without adequate security. 

What is Information Security Documentation? 

The documentation of the information system is a communication, control and monitoring component of the project in phases such as development, operation and maintenance. Thus, it eases the tracking of a project and communication with the people associated with the project. Information security documents can also be defined as a liturgy set of an organization’s cyber security policies, procedures, guidelines, and standards. This document ensures the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of your client and customer data through effective security management practices and controls. These security documents are critical to proactively protect the data while maintaining compliance with both regulatory and customer requirements. 

Why is it required? 

Consistent management of organizational and financial data with efficient information systems is a key to a successful business as defined by experts. It is a well-known fact that the world these days revolves around the Internet of things, which has its own pros and cons. Along with bringing connectivity it also brings in security challenges to the organizational information. This raises the need to innovate and develop the Information systems that are more secure and have no dependency on people and environment. An effective information system documentation can entitle an organization with better planning, decision-making and hence provide the desired results. Most of the organizations have experienced a drift in the process of workflow when accuracy and reliability were added to their management by adding few regular practices of documentation of information security. 

The creation of documents may help the project team in conducting activities to reach the defined goals representing various challenges while walking through the path of stage performance, resource allocation and necessary support from higher authorities. 

How to Document the Information on Security? 

The Information system documentation is important from the viewpoint of the project management and of its development and operation. Unfortunately, it is observed that often in practice, the documentation is either incomplete or totally missing. To avoid any future consequences, it is important to document the details correctly and thoroughly regarding the security.   

Due to the high importance held by this document, it should be regarded as one of the major results in the stages of the system life cycle. As a result, the ways to approach the systems, from the perspective of IT project management responsibilities and resource allocation and also from the perspective of the importance of the documentation change, lead to ensuring the success of a development project.  

Starting with Stages of a project, below areas should be considered while documenting the details on Information security 

  • Details and approvals of project, along with feasibility study, project plan and reports on project evaluation must be the initial documentation attached. 
  • Next step should include the analysis of Cost/benefit, the project draft and plan. These form an essential part when analyzing the incurred cost in later stages 
  • This document must also describe the procedure to use the project results. 

The documentation should provide enough information to help employees answer any customer-requested questionnaires and assessments, and also serve as a guide for any new or old employee in the security team along with defining the scope within the organization. 

The document should contain policy statements, which set the direction and overall organizational position on a domain of security, the standards, which are more the requirements to further define this position, as well as optional requirements which are defined as guidelines. 

As per the ISO Standards, this documentation for information security must address the below activities: 

— developing a comprehensive strategy for information development; 

— assessing user information needs; 

— planning and managing an information-development project; 

— staffing and forming information-development teams; 

— reviewing and testing information for users; 

— managing the translation process; 

— publishing and delivering information for users; 

— evaluating customer satisfaction and information quality; 

— measuring productivity, efficiency, and costs; and 

— evaluating organizational maturity. 

Successful documentation makes information easily accessible, provides a limited number of user entry points, helps new users learn quickly, simplifies the product and helps cut support costs. The presence of documentation not only helps in tracking all phases of an application but brings in innovative ideas to improve the quality of a software product by analyzing the documentation.