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How to Include Information Security in Project Management

As disruptive technologies continually drive change across the world, many enterprises are embarking on the path of innovation to leverage new technology in their operations and stay ahead of the competition. 

This reliance on technology to digitize faster and innovate has seen the rapid emergence of information security as a top priority for businesses of all areas and sizes. According to Gartner, global security spending will reach $133.7 Billion in 2022.

Today, information security is at the core of any business project. Enterprises need their business-critical information readily available and accessible for users while simultaneously ensuring data security and integrity are maintained. Additionally, they need to comply with privacy laws and security protection standards. In their efforts to scale up information security, businesses now expect project managers to share cybersecurity responsibility. 

This article covers what every project manager must know and do when it comes to including information security policies in their various projects. But before we delve into the what, let’s do a brief on why information is key in project management

Why is Information Security Essential in Project Management?

Cybersecurity is a matter of global concern. Recent and well-publicized breaches highlight a rise in the number of security breaches and their severity. 

Any exposure to your data systems can harm your business. From disruption to business operations, theft and destruction of data, stolen funds, lost productivity, legal liability, and reputational damage.

Information security serves to mitigate or balance risk while unlocking value and empowering business operations. Ensuring information security is, therefore, a sensitive topic, a project on its own.

Here are five critical guidelines for including and building a comprehensive security system that protects your projects while allowing you to detect, block, eliminate, and remediate cyberattacks.

  1. Use ISO 27001 as the Benchmark for your Security Standards

One of the essential factors in implementing information security is the proper understanding and execution of ISO 27001. ISO 27001 is a specification that provides a framework of standards for how modern organizations should manage their information and data.

Regrettably, many project managers sideline ISO 27001, seeing it as just a typical document or report. Consequently, security loopholes are common as managers don't consider all the clauses and requirements that need setting up data security inside organizations. What needs to be done is to consistently use ISO 27001 as a mirror for deploying information security policies during every stage of a project's entire life cycle.

  1. Define Your Security Goals

Establishing concrete information security goals, requirements and objectives will provide a project vision, time frame and help identify the actions, resources, and strategies needed to get you there.

  1. Distinguish Roles and Responsibilities

Consciously and clearly defining each person's role and their information security responsibilities can instantly impact the project. It ensures that everyone knows what they're doing. When roles are clear, people know what's expected of them, how to behave, and what they need to accomplish. 

  1. Risk Assessment

Set up and conduct an effective and streamlined security risk assessment and management process. Security risks are to be identified and dealt with in the infancy stages of the project. Leverage risk assessment and management tools to predict any security uncertainties in the projects and minimize the impact or occurrence of these uncertainties. Implementing risk policies and guidelines for information security that align with organizational necessities helps accomplish your security objectives.

  1. Train and Communicate with Your Team

Your project management's success and degree of security lie in your ability to lead your team effectively. From project inception to completion, make everyone aware of their security responsibilities and have them trained to handle them. Involve security experts to ensure your organization obtains project management security certifications and information security training for the employees and clients.

More importantly, get everyone on the same page. Lack of transparency, collaboration, and communication within and outside your team can doom your information security strategy.

Final Thoughts

The advantages of information security in project management are vital for every organization. With the advancement of cybercrimes, the need for cybersecurity isn't going away any time soon. It's become indispensable. As with many core project management goals, information security must be at the top for any organization's successful operation.

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