Operational security (OPSEC), also defined as procedural security, is a risk management process that allows administrators to consider activities from an adversary’s viewpoint to prevent confidential data from falling into the wrong hands.
While initially used by the army, OPSEC has now become common in the private sector. Things that come under the umbrella of OPSEC include tracking social networking site behaviours and habits and discouraging workers from sharing login credentials via email or text message.
Operational Security Measures
Operational security processes can be neatly divided into five steps:
Identify possible threats: Including research into your product, intellectual property, financial records, consumer information, and information about employees. This will be the information you will need to concentrate on securing your resources.
Identify potential threats: It would help to classify what types of threats are present for each category of information you find sensitive. You should also look out for insider risks, such as negligent employees and disgruntled employees, while you should be wary of third parties trying to steal your details.
Analyze and identify security gaps: Review the existing defences and assess what, if any, vulnerabilities or weaknesses exist can use that to gain access to your confidential information.
Evaluate the risk level linked to each vulnerability. Using variables such as the probability of an attack occurring, the degree of harm you would experience, and the amount of effort and time you would need to recover, rate your vulnerabilities. The more likely and dangerous an attack is, the more attention you can mitigate the associated danger.
Get countermeasures in place. The last step in organizational protection is to establish and execute a threat removal and risk mitigation strategy. This may include upgrading the hardware, developing new sensitive data policies, or educating staff on sound security practices and guidelines for the organization. Countermeasures should be clear and straightforward. With or without additional training, employees should be able to enforce the necessary steps on their part.
To incorporate a robust, systematic operational security program, follow these best practices:
- Implement precise change management protocols that should be adopted by the staff when network changes are carried out. For them to be tracked and audited, all changes should be logged and managed.
- Restrict access using AAA authentication to network computers. A “need-to-know” basis is also used as a rule of thumb to access and exchange knowledge in the military and other government agencies.
- Provide the workers with the minimal access needed to perform their work and follow the Least Privilege theory.
- Enforce dual control. Be sure that not the same people in charge of operational security are those who work on your network.
- To will the need for human interaction, automate assignments. Humans are the weakest link in any company’s Operational security programs because they make mistakes, miss information, forget stuff, and circumvent procedures.
- Incident reaction and preparation for disaster recovery are often critical components of an operational security posture. You must have a plan to identify threats, react to them, and minimize potential harm, even if active safety measures are robust.
Risk management requires the opportunity to detect risks and vulnerabilities until they become issues. Managers of operational security forces can dig deeply into their activities to find out where their data can easily be compromised. Looking at behaviour from a malicious third party’s viewpoint helps administrators recognize vulnerabilities they would otherwise have ignored to enforce the necessary countermeasures to protect confidential data.