In the modern world, the importance of security management grows together with the amount of information that businesses, institutions, and others operate. To protect it successfully, maximal integration of the components a security system comprises is necessary, which, in turn, calls for studying its structure to understand it better. The paper seeks to analyze and describe the relationships among the key elements: assets, boundaries, vulnerabilities, threat agents, attacks, and defenses.
Like many other spheres of knowledge, risk management defines an asset as any valuable possession a firm can utilize in its performance; in the simplest terms, anything with which it is possible to work. Thus, in terms of information security, any sensitive data, for instance, customer information, is an asset. It is critical to design a well-structured and reliable security system to protect those while storing and operating them. Notably, it should not be too complex since this interferes with proper monitoring and should utilize only tried methods to minimize mistakes and, consider the interests of all of the stakeholders (Walker, 2017). Therefore, the primary step to developing a security system lies in identifying the area to protect and the approaches to apply, which two components form the so-called boundary.
In brief, the above term stands for a certain array of assets together with the existing barriers between them and the possible risk factors. The latter is also frequently referred to as threat agents and includes anything that may affect the assets negatively, either with purpose or by accident (Irwin, 2020). In the case of data, the main threat is accessing or abusing those by any unauthorized parties; those parties, therefore, can be the agents. The role of the boundaries apparently lies in protecting the assets against those.
The need to consider the threats calls for adjusting the security system to them, which actually is the next stage of its development. Each particular case, therefore, requires a thorough individual examination to identify the existing threat agents as well as measure the system’s ability to block them. The points where the latter is not sufficient are called vulnerabilities (Smith, 2019). In other words, those are the flaws threat agents can exploit to abuse the assets. For instance, a broken lock compromises the physical security of a server room, while missing or poorly written processes favor criminal hacking. Therefore, it is essential to identify all of the existing gaps in physical, informational, and other possible dimensions through complex analysis.
A point to note is that a properly organized security system does not eliminate risks; boundaries simply interfere with the performance of threat agents. The latter may attempt to affect the assets regardless of the safety measures or unintentionally, which is possible to refer to as an attack. It will be unsuccessful, however, in case of appropriate defense, in other words, quality performance of the boundaries (Smith, 2019). This allows assuming that security measures have to be preventive, not to minimize the number of attacks, but to make them senseless.
To summarize, assets and boundaries, in simple terms, stand for what and how to protect, while threat agents include all of the doers against which the protection is necessary. The activity of the latter and the former are classified as attacks and defenses. The drawbacks of the boundaries, which the threat agents can use to harm the assets, are vulnerabilities in the glossary of risk management. Compensating for them is the main area where this sphere of knowledge is applicable.
Irwin, L. (2020). Asset identification for an asset-based risk assessment. Vigilant Software. Web.
Smith, R. (2019). Elementary information security (3rd Ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Walker, J. (2017). Know your boundaries. cFocus Software.