What Is Information Security (InfoSec)? Goals, Types and Applications

What Is Information Security? Goals, Types and Applications

Information security (InfoSec) enables organizations to protect digital and analog information. InfoSec provides coverage for cryptography, mobile computing, social media, as well as infrastructure and networks containing private, financial, and corporate information. Cybersecurity, on the other hand, protects both raw and meaningful data, but only from internet-based threats. 

Organizations implement information security for a wide range of reasons. The main objectives of InfoSec are typically related to ensuring confidentiality, integrity, and availability of company information. Since InfoSec covers many areas, it often involves the implementation of various types of security, including application security, infrastructure security, cryptography, incident response, vulnerability management, and disaster recovery.

This guide provides an in-depth look into the field of information security, including definitions as well as roles and responsibilities of CISOs and SOCs. You will also learn about common information security risks, technologies, and certifications.  

What Is Information Security?

InfoSec, or information security, is a set of tools and practices that you can use to protect your digital and analog information. InfoSec covers a range of IT domains, including infrastructure and network security, auditing, and testing. It uses tools like authentication and permissions to restrict unauthorized users from accessing private information. These measures help you prevent harms related to information theft, modification, or loss. 

Information Security vs Cybersecurity

Although both security strategies, cybersecurity and information security cover different objectives and scopes with some overlap. Information security is a broader category of protections, covering cryptography, mobile computing, and social media. It is related to information assurance, used to protect information from non-person-based threats, such as server failures or natural disasters. In comparison, cybersecurity only covers Internet-based threats and digital data. Additionally, cybersecurity provides coverage for raw, unclassified data while information security does not.

Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability (CIA Triad)

The CIA triad consists of three core principles – confidentiality, integrity, and availability (CIA). Together, these principles serve as the foundation that guides information security policies. Here is a brief overview of each principle:

  • Confidentiality – information must only be available to authorized parties. 
  • Integrity – information must remain consistent, trustworthy, and accurate. 
  • Availability – information must remain accessible to authorized parties, even during failures (with minimal or no disruption).

Ideally, information security policies should seamlessly integrate all three principles of the CIA triad. Together, the three principles should guide organizations while assessing new technologies and scenarios.

Types of Information Security

When considering information security, there are many subtypes that you should know. These subtypes cover specific types of information, tools used to protect information and domains where information needs protection. 

Application security

Application security strategies protect applications and application programming interfaces (APIs). You can use these strategies to prevent, detect and correct bugs or other vulnerabilities in your applications. If not secured, application and API vulnerabilities can provide a gateway to your broader systems, putting your information at risk.

Much of application security is based on specialized tools for application shielding, scanning and testing. These tools can help you identify vulnerabilities in applications and surrounding components. Once found, you can correct these vulnerabilities before applications are released or vulnerabilities are exploited. Application security applies to both applications you are using and those you may be developing since both need to be secured.

Infrastructure security

Infrastructure security strategies protect infrastructure components, including networks, servers, client devices, mobile devices, and data centers. The growing connectivity between these, and other infrastructure components, puts information at risk without proper precautions. 

This risk is because connectivity extends vulnerabilities across your systems. If one part of your infrastructure fails or is compromised, all dependent components are also affected. Due to this, an important goal of infrastructure security is to minimize dependencies and isolate components while still allowing intercommunications. 

Cloud security

Cloud security provides similar protections to application and infrastructure security but is focused on cloud or cloud-connected components and information. Cloud security adds extra protections and tools to focus on the vulnerabilities that come from Internet-facing services and shared environments, such as public clouds. It also tends to include a focus on centralizing security management and tooling. This centralization enables security teams to maintain visibility of information and information threats across distributed resources. 

Another aspect of cloud security is a collaboration with your cloud provider or third-party services. When using cloud-hosted resources and applications, you are often unable to fully control your environments since the infrastructure is typically managed for you. This means that cloud security practices must account for restricted control and put measures in place to limit accessibility and vulnerabilities stemming from contractors or vendors. 

Endpoint Security

Endpoint security helps protect end-user endpoints such as laptops, desktops, smartphones, and tablets against cyberattacks. Organizations implement endpoint security to protect devices used for work purposes, including those connected to a local network and those using cloud resources.

Endpoints connecting to corporate networks become a security vulnerability that can potentially allow malicious actors to breach the network. An endpoint is essentially a potential entry point that cybercriminals can and often exploit through various techniques, like malicious software (malware) installed on an endpoint device to obtain control of a system or exfiltrate data.

An endpoint security solution examines processes, files, and network traffic on each endpoint for indicators of malicious activity. Once the tool detects a threat, it notifies the relevant users and can perform automated responses. 

For example, an endpoint detection and response (EDR) tool can automatically respond to the threat using predetermined rules. Endpoint security solutions can employ additional strategies to protect endpoints, such as data encryption in transit and at rest, web content filtering, and application control.

Related content: Learn more in the detailed guide to endpoint security

Edge Security

In an increasingly connected world, edge security is becoming more important. Edge security refers to the measures taken to secure the edge of your network—the point where your network connects with the outside world. This could include your routers, firewalls, or other edge devices.

Securing the network edge is crucial to prevent unauthorized access to your network and protect it from threats like cyber attacks or data breaches. This could involve measures like using secure network protocols, implementing robust firewalls, and regularly monitoring and analyzing your network traffic.

Learn more in the detailed guide to edge security


Cryptography uses a practice called encryption to secure information by obscuring the contents. When information is encrypted, it is only accessible to users who have the correct encryption key. If users do not have this key, the information is unintelligible. Security teams can use encryption to protect information confidentiality and integrity throughout its life, including in storage and during transfer. However, once a user decrypts the data, it is vulnerable to theft, exposure, or modification.

To encrypt information, security teams use tools such as encryption algorithms or technologies like blockchain. Encryption algorithms, like the advanced encryption standard (AES), are more common since there is more support for these tools and less overhead for use. 

Incident response

Incident response is a set of procedures and tools that you can use to identify, investigate, and respond to threats or damaging events. It eliminates or reduces damage caused to systems due to attacks, natural disasters, system failures, or human error. This damage includes any harm caused to information, such as loss or theft. 

A commonly used tool for incident response is an incident response plan (IRP). IRPs outline the roles and responsibilities for responding to incidents. These plans also inform security policy, provide guidelines or procedures for action, and help ensure that insight gained from incidents is used to improve protective measures.

Vulnerability management

Vulnerability management is a practice meant to reduce inherent risks in an application or system. The idea behind this practice is to discover and patch vulnerabilities before issues are exposed or exploited. The fewer vulnerabilities a component or system has, the more secure your information and resources are. 

Vulnerability management practices rely on testing, auditing, and scanning to detect issues. These processes are often automated to ensure that components are evaluated to a specific standard and to ensure vulnerabilities are uncovered as quickly as possible. Another method that you can use is threat hunting, which involves investigating systems in real-time to identify signs of threats or to locate potential vulnerabilities.

Learn more in the detailed guide to vulnerability assessment

Disaster recovery

Disaster recovery strategies protect your organization from loss or damage due to unforeseen events. For example, ransomware, natural disasters, or single points of failure. Disaster recovery strategies typically account for how you can recover information, how you can restore systems, and how you can resume operations. These strategies are often part of a business continuity management (BCM) plan, designed to enable organizations to maintain operations with minimal downtime. 

Related content: Learn more in the in-depth guide to Disaster Recovery

Health Data Management

Health data management (HDM) facilitates a systematic organization of healthcare data in digital form. Common examples of HDM include:

  • Generating electronic medical records (EMR) after doctor visits.
  • Scanning handwritten medical notes to store in a digital repository.
  • Electronic health records (EHR).

In addition to organizing medical data, HDR also integrates the information to enable analysis. The goal is to make patient care efficient and help derive insights to improve medical outcomes while protecting the security and privacy of healthcare data. Successfully implemented HDM can improve the quality and quantity of health data. 

For example, including more relevant variables and ensuring records are up-to-date, validated, and complete for all patients can help improve data quality and increase the quantity. Since more data requires more interpretation, the dataset can grow, and deriving insights can become a complex task for healthcare providers. HDM helps take control of this data.

Related content: Learn more in the in-depth guide to Health Data Management

Digital Forensics

Digital forensics is the identification, collection, and analysis of electronic evidence. Almost every crime today has a digital forensic component, and digital forensic experts provide critical assistance to police investigations. Digital forensic data is often used in court proceedings. 

An important part of digital forensics is analyzing suspected cyberattacks to identify, mitigate, and eliminate cyberthreats. Digital forensics thus becomes an integral part of the incident response process. Digital forensics can also help provide critical information required by auditors, legal teams, and law enforcement after an attack.

Related content: Learn more in the in-depth guide to digital forensicsics

What Is a CISO?

Chief information security officers (CISOs) are people responsible for managing and ensuring the protection of an organization’s information. This role may be a stand-alone position or be included under the responsibilities of the vice president (VP) of security or the chief security officer (CSO). 

The responsibilities of a CISO include managing:

  • Security operations—includes real-time monitoring, analysis, and triage of threats.
  • Cyber risk and cyber intelligence—includes maintaining current knowledge of security threats and keeping executive and board teams informed of the potential impacts of risks.
  • Data loss and fraud prevention—includes monitoring for and protecting against insider threats. 
  • Security architecture—includes applying security best practices to the acquisition, integration, and operation of hardware and software.
  • Identity and access management—includes ensuring proper use of authentication measures, authorization measures, and privilege granting. 
  • Program management—includes ensuring proactive maintenance of hardware and software through audits and upgrades. 
  • Investigations and forensics—includes collecting evidence, interacting with authorities, and ensuring that postmortems are performed. 
  • Governance—includes verifying at all security operations operate smoothly and serving as a mediator between leadership and security operations.

What Is a Security Operations Center?

A security operations center (SOC) is a collection of tools and team members that continuously monitor and ensure an organization’s security. SOCs serve as a unified base from which teams can detect, investigate, respond to, and recover from security threats or vulnerabilities. In particular, SOCs are designed to help organizations prevent and manage cybersecurity threats.

The main idea behind a SOC is that centralized operations enable teams to more efficiently manage security by providing comprehensive visibility and control of systems and information. These centers combine security solutions and human expertise to perform or direct any tasks associated with digital security. 

Three main models are used to implement SOCs:

  • Internal SOC—composed of dedicated employees operating from inside an organization. These centers provide the highest level of control but have high upfront costs and can be challenging to staff due to difficulty recruiting staff with the right expertise. Internal SOCs are typically created by enterprise organizations with mature IT and security strategies.
  • Virtual SOC—use managed, third-party services to provide coverage and expertise for operations. These centers are easy to set up, highly scalable, and require fewer upfront costs. The downsides are that organizations are reliant on vendors and have less visibility and control over their security. Virtual SOCs are often adopted by small to medium organizations, including those without in-house IT teams. 
  • Hybrid SOC—combine in-house teams with outsourced teams. These centers use managed services to supplement gaps in coverage or expertise. For example, to ensure 24/7 monitoring without having to arrange internal overnight shifts. Hybrid SOCs can enable organizations to maintain a higher level of control and visibility without sacrificing security. The downside of these centers is that costs are often higher than virtual SOCs and coordination can be challenging. 

Common Information Security Risks

In your daily operations, many risks can affect your system and information security. Some common risks to be aware of are included below. 

Social engineering attacks

Social engineering involves using psychology to trick users into providing information or access to attackers. Phishing is one common type of social engineering, usually done through email. In phishing attacks, attackers pretend to be trustworthy or legitimate sources requesting information or warning users about a need to take action. For example, emails may ask users to confirm personal details or log in to their accounts via an included (malicious) link. If users comply, attackers can gain access to credentials or other sensitive information. 

Advanced persistent threats (APT)

APTs are threats in which individuals or groups gain access to your systems and remain for an extended period. Attackers carry out these attacks to collect sensitive information over time or as the groundwork for future attacks. APT attacks are performed by organized groups that may be paid by competing nation-states, terrorist organizations, or industry rivals. 

Insider threats

Insider threats are vulnerabilities created by individuals within your organization. These threats may be accidental or intentional, and involve attackers abusing “legitimate” privileges to access systems or information. In the case of accidental threats, employees may unintentionally share or expose information, download malware, or have their credentials stolen. With intentional threats, insiders intentionally damage, leak, or steal information for personal or professional gain. 


Cryptojacking, also called crypto mining, is when attackers abuse your system resources to mine cryptocurrency. Attackers typically accomplish this by tricking users into downloading malware or when users open files with malicious scripts included. Some attacks are also performed locally when users visit sites that include mining scripts. 

Distributed denial of service (DDoS)

DDoS attacks occur when attackers overload servers or resources with requests. Attackers can perform these attacks manually or through botnets, networks of compromised devices used to distribute request sources. The purpose of a DDoS attack is to prevent users from accessing services or to distract security teams while other attacks occur.


Ransomware attacks use malware to encrypt your data and hold it for ransom. Typically, attackers demand information, that some action be taken, or payment from an organization in exchange for decrypting data. Depending on the type of ransomware used, you may not be able to recover data that is encrypted. In these cases, you can only restore data by replacing infected systems with clean backups. 

Related content: Learn more in the in-depth guide to Malware Protection

Man-in-the-middle (MitM) attack

MitM attacks occur when communications are sent over insecure channels. During these attacks, attackers intercept requests and responses to read the contents, manipulate the data, or redirect users. 

There are multiple types of MitM attacks, including: 

  • Session hijacking—in which attackers substitute their own IP for legitimate users to use their session and credentials to gain system access. 
  • IP spoofing—in which attackers imitate trusted sources to send malicious information to a system or request information back. 
  • Eavesdropping attacks—in which attackers collect information passed in communications between legitimate users and your systems. 

Related content: Learn more in the in-depth guide to Cybersecurity Attacks

Information Security Technologies

Creating an effective information security strategy requires adopting a variety of tools and technologies. Most strategies adopt some combination of the following technologies.


Firewalls are a layer of protection that you can apply to networks or applications. These tools enable you to filter traffic and report traffic data to monitoring and detection systems. Firewalls often use established lists of approved or unapproved traffic and policies determining the rate or volume of traffic allowed. 

Security incident and event management (SIEM)

SIEM solutions enable you to ingest and correlate information from across your systems. This aggregation of data enables teams to detect threats more effectively, more effectively manage alerts, and provide better context for investigations. SIEM solutions are also useful for logging events that occur in a system or reporting on events and performance. You can then use this information to prove compliance or to optimize configurations. 

Related content: Learn more in the in-depth guide to Next Gen SIEM and SIEM Tools.

Data loss prevention (DLP)

DLP strategies incorporate tools and practices that protect data from loss or modification. This includes categorizing data, backing up data, and monitoring how data is shared across and outside an organization. For example, you can use DLP solutions to scan outgoing emails to determine if sensitive information is being inappropriately shared. 

Intrusion detection system (IDS)

IDS solutions are tools for monitoring incoming traffic and detecting threats. These tools evaluate traffic and alert on any instances that appear suspicious or malicious. 

Intrusion prevention system (IPS)

IPS security solutions are similar to IDS solutions and the two are often used together. These solutions respond to traffic that is identified as suspicious or malicious, blocking requests or ending user sessions. You can use IPS solutions to manage your network traffic according to defined security policies. 

User behavioral analytics (UBA)

UBA solutions gather information on user activities and correlate those behaviors into a baseline. Solutions then use this baseline as a comparison against new behaviors to identify inconsistencies. The solution then flags these inconsistencies as potential threats. For example, you can use UBA solutions to monitor user activities and identify if a user begins exporting large amounts of data, indicating an insider threat.

Blockchain cybersecurity

Blockchain cybersecurity is a technology that relies on immutable transactional events. In blockchain technologies, distributed networks of users verify the authenticity of transactions and ensure that integrity is maintained. While these technologies are not yet widely used, some companies are beginning to incorporate blockchain into more solutions. 

Endpoint detection and response (EDR)

EDR cybersecurity solutions enable you to monitor endpoint activity, identify suspicious activity, and automatically respond to threats. These solutions are intended to improve the visibility of endpoint devices and can be used to prevent threats from entering your networks or information from leaving. EDR solutions rely on continuous endpoint data collection, detection engines, and event logging

Extended Detection and Response (XDR)

XDR is a collection of technologies that help security teams improve the effectiveness of their threat detection efforts and the speed of their investigation and response. 

XDR combines data from all layers of the IT environment, including networks, email, endpoints, IoT devices, cloud workloads, identity systems, and servers, and enriches the sources with threat intelligence to detect evasive, sophisticated threats. 

XDR provides automated, prepackaged threat detection, investigation, and response (TDIR) for various threats. Since XDR solutions are cloud-based, organizations can implement them for heterogeneous, distributed IT environments. These turn-key solutions immediately provide value and help improve the productivity of security teams. 

Cloud security posture management (CSPM)

CSPM is a set of practices and technologies you can use to evaluate your cloud resources’ security. These technologies enable you to scan configurations, compare protections to benchmarks, and ensure that security policies are applied uniformly. Often, CSPM solutions provide recommendations or guidelines for remediation that you can use to improve your security posture. 

VPN Remote Access and SASE

A remote access virtual private network (VPN) enables organizations to provide secure remote access to data and applications residing within a corporate network. A VPN creates a tunnel between the network and a remote user. It secures traffic flowing across the tunnel by encrypting it. 

VPN remote access connects one user to on-premises resources but does not provide visibility into cloud resources. Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) establishes security across a hybrid environment, providing visibility into all resources. SASE is a cloud-based service that does not rely on VPNs or standalone proxies. Instead, it provides various network security tools as a cloud service.  


Bring your own device (BYOD) is an approach that permits employees to use their personally-owned devices, such as laptops, tablets, smartphones, USB drives, and PCs, for work purposes. It means employees can use their devices to connect to the corporate network and access sensitive systems and confidential data. 

BYOD can improve the user experience, allowing employees to work using familiar devices from any location. It enables employees to use their devices to work remotely from home or while traveling. However, BYOD often leads to shadow IT, as IT staff have poor visibility (if at all) into these endpoints and cannot properly implement and maintain security measures.

Organizations can protect against BYOD threats by employing application virtualization and endpoint security solutions to extend visibility and gain comprehensive security and management controls.

Threat Intelligence

Threat intelligence is information gathered from a range of sources about current or potential attacks against an organization. The information is analyzed, refined, and organized and then used to prevent and mitigate cybersecurity risks.

The main purpose of threat intelligence is to show organizations the risks they face from external threats, such as zero-day threats and advanced persistent threats (APTs). Threat intelligence includes in-depth information and context about specific threats, such as who are the threat actors, their capabilities and motivation, and the indicators of compromise (IoCs). With this information, organizations can make informed decisions about how to defend against the most damaging attacks.

Related content: Related content: Learn more in the in-depth guide to threat intelligenceM


Microsegmentation is a security technique that splits a network into separate zones and uses policies to dictate how data and applications within those zones can be accessed and controlled. It enables security teams to dictate how applications or workloads can share data within a system, which direction the data may be shared, and whether security or other authentication measures are required.

Unlike network segmentation, which typically requires hardware equipment and is geared to North-South traffic (client-server data flows between data centers), microsegmentation relies on software and is tailored to East-West traffic, or server-to-server data flows between applications.

Microsegmentation limits the type of traffic that can laterally traverse across the network, which can prevent common attack techniques such as lateral movement. It can be applied throughout the network, across both internal data center and cloud environments. 

Related content: Learn more in the in-depth guide to microsegmentation

IT Asset Management

IT Asset Management, or ITAM, is a set of practices that involve managing and optimizing an organization’s IT assets, such as hardware, software, and data. ITAM is critical for information security, as it allows organizations to understand what assets they have, where they are located, and how they are being used.

Proper ITAM can help organizations reduce risks and costs. It can enable them to identify unauthorized or outdated software that could pose a security risk, ensure compliance with software licensing agreements, and avoid overpaying for unused or underutilized assets.

Related content: Learn more in the in-depth guide to IT asset management.

Examples of Information Security in the Real World

There are many ways to implement information security in your organization, depending on your size, available resources, and the type of information you need to secure. Below are three examples of how organizations implemented information security to meet their needs.

DLP at Berkshire Bank

Berkshire Bank is an example of a company that decided to restructure its DLP strategy. The company wanted to gain access to more detailed reporting on events. Their old system only provided general information when threats were prevented, but the company wanted to know specifics about each event. 

To make this change, Berkshire Bank adopted Exabeam solutions to provide managed DLP coverage. This coverage included improved visibility into events and centralized DLP information into a single timeline for greater accessibility. With this enhanced information, Berkshire’s security team can investigate events better and take meaningful preventative action. 

SOC at Grant Thornton

Grant Thornton is an organization that partnered with Exabeam to improve its SOC. The company sought to improve its ability to protect system information and more effectively achieve security goals. Through partnership, Grant Thornton created a data lake, serving as a central repository for their data and tooling. 

This centralization improved the efficiency of their operations and reduced the number of interfaces that analysts needed to access. Centralization also made it possible for the company to use advanced analytics, incorporating their newly aggregated data. 

Incident Response at WSU

To defend against a growing number of advanced threat actors, Wright State University (WSU) implemented Exabeam incident response solutions. They took this action to detect incidents more quickly, investigate activity more thoroughly, and respond to threats more effectively. 

The tooling WSU adopted includes a security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) solution and a user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA) solution. These tools enable WSU to detect a wider range of threats, including dynamic or unknown threats, and to respond to those threats automatically. These tools provide important contextual information and timely alerts for threats that solutions cannot automatically manage so you can quickly take action and minimize damage. 

Information Security Certifications

Another important aspect when implementing information security strategies is to ensure that your staff are properly trained to protect your information. One common method is through information security certifications. These certifications ensure that professionals meet a certain standard of expertise and are aware of best practices. 

Numerous certifications are available from both nonprofit and vendor organizations. Two of the most commonly sought certifications are: 

  • CompTIA Security+—ensures a basic level of cybersecurity training. It covers core knowledge related to IT security and is intended for entry-level professionals, such as junior auditors or penetration testers. This certification is offered through the Computing Technology Industry Association.
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)—ensures knowledge of eight information security domains, including communications, assessment and testing, and risk management. It is intended for senior-level professionals, such as security managers. This certification is available from the International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC)².

Managed Security Service Providers (MSSP)

Due to the global cybersecurity skills shortage, and the growing complexity of information security, many organizations are outsourcing their security operations. A Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) is a company that provides outsourced monitoring and management of security devices and systems. MSSPs can provide a wide range of services, including managed firewall, intrusion detection, virtual private network (VPN), vulnerability scanning, and endpoint security services.

MSSPs can provide 24/7 monitoring of an organization’s networks and systems, which can improve its ability to detect and respond to security incidents. They can also provide expert advice and guidance on how to improve the security posture. By utilizing an MSSP, organizations gain access to a team of security experts without the need to hire, train, and retain an in-house security team.

Related content:

Related content: Learn more in the in-depth guide to MSSP

Information Security Best Practices


MITRE ATT&CK is a security framework created by the MITRE Corporation. It defines all component stages of the cyberattack lifecycle and provides information about techniques, behaviors, and tools involved in each stage of various attacks. The framework offers a standard vocabulary and practical applications to help security professionals discuss and collaborate on combating cyber threats. Security teams use this information to inform and improve the organization’s threat detection and response (TDR). 

Related content: Learn more in the in-depth guide to MITRE ATT&CK

Using a CVE Database

CVE stands for Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures. CVE is a glossary that tracks and catalogs vulnerabilities in consumer software and hardware. It is maintained by the MITRE Corporation with funding from the US Division of Homeland Security. It was created as a baseline of communication and common terminology for the security and tech industries.

The CVE glossary analyzes vulnerabilities and then uses the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) to evaluate their level of severity. A CVE score is often used to prioritize vulnerabilities for remediation and response.

Related content: Learn more in the in-depth guide to CVE

Log Management

Log management is a crucial aspect of Information security. Logs are records of events that occur within an operating system or software, and they can provide valuable information about potential security incidents. By effectively managing and analyzing these logs, organizations can identify patterns or anomalies that might indicate a security breach.

Moreover, log management helps with regulatory compliance, as many regulations require companies to maintain detailed logs of what occurs within their systems. Therefore, having a robust log management strategy is not just about enhancing security but also about staying compliant with legal and regulatory requirements.

Related content: Learn more in the in-depth guide to Log Management

System Hardening

System hardening is the practice of reducing vulnerabilities in systems, applications, and infrastructure to minimize security risks. By eliminating potential attack vectors, organizations can reduce the attack surface. A basic system hardening practice involves removing redundant and unnecessary programs, ports, accounts functions, applications, permissions, and access. However, organizations should harden security according to their unique requirements. Common types of system hardening include:

  • Application security
  • Network hardening
  • Server hardening
  • Database hardening
  • Operating system hardening

Related content: Learn more in the in-depth guide to System Hardening

Require Strong Authentication for All Users

Compromised accounts enable threat actors to gain unauthorized access to digital assets. Organizations can prevent this threat by requiring strong authentication for all users. Here are several options:

  • Strong passwords – threat actors employ various technologies that attempt to guess passwords or use common default passwords. Organizations can enforce strong passwords policies to prevent threat actors from using insecure passwords to compromise accounts.
  • Multi-factor authentication (MFA) – this security mechanism requires users to provide information (a PIN or biometric, for example) in addition to their username and password. MFA prevents threat actors from compromising accounts even if the actor knows the username and password. 

Organizations should implement MFA for all users with privileged access to networks and systems, including administrators and security professionals.

Related content: Learn more in the in-depth guide to Authentication

Leverage Encryption

Encryption is the process of scrambling information to render it meaningless. Organizations often use encryption to protect information against unauthorized usage. It helps maintain the confidentiality of data at rest or in transit. 

Here are the main functions of encryption:

  • Encoding – encryption involves encoding a message to maintain its confidentiality.
  • Verification – the encryption process uses authentication to verify the origin of a message. 
  • Integrity – encryption processes maintain data integrity by proving the contents of a message did not change post-transmission.
  • Nonrepudiation encryption prevents the data sender from denying they sent an encrypted message.

Automate Vulnerability Management

Automation facilitates rapid detection of critical vulnerabilities for systems in production and during the development process. Tools like static application security testing (SAST) and dynamic application security testing (DAST) check for vulnerabilities in proprietary code during development. Organizations can also use open source scanners to automatically inventory open source components and look for known vulnerabilities and potential weaknesses.

Conduct Penetration Testing

Penetration testing (pentesting) involves simulating a cyberattack to look for vulnerabilities and security weaknesses. It is an authorized form of ethical hacking performed to improve the organization’s security posture. There are various ways in which a pentest can take place. For example, external pentesting involves attempting to breach the network without prior knowledge of the architecture, while internal pentesting involves inspecting the source code to find vulnerabilities.

Using Cybersecurity Frameworks

Cybersecurity frameworks provide a structured set of guidelines on how to handle and manage potential threats to your digital and non-digital assets. They are comprehensive guides that provide organizations with an outline for managing cybersecurity risk. Some of the most widely adopted cybersecurity frameworks include the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) framework, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 27001, and the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) COBIT 5.

Related content: Learn more in the in-depth guide to NIST Cybersecurity Framework

Bug Bounty Programs

A bug bounty program is a deal offered by organizations to external individuals who identify and report potential vulnerabilities in their software or systems. These programs are an excellent way to encourage responsible disclosure of security flaws and have been adopted by many tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft.

Bug bounty programs serve as an added layer of security, allowing organizations to leverage the skills and expertise of a global pool of ethical hackers. These individuals can spot vulnerabilities that may have been overlooked by your internal team, helping you patch them before malicious actors can exploit them.

Related content: Learn more in the in-depth guide to Bug Bounty Programs

Educate and Train Users

Threat actors often use social engineering techniques to trick employees into divulging sensitive and financial information, gain access to the organization, deploy malware, and launch other attacks. Awareness training helps inform employees in proper security practices and organizational policies, and secure coding training helps developers shift security to the left. Ideally, training should be a regular activity integrated seamlessly into the organization’s security culture.

Improving Your Information Security with Exabeam

The flexibility and convenience of IT solutions like cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) have become indispensable to many organizations, including private companies and governments, but they also expose sensitive information to theft and malicious attacks. It’s not possible to avoid the Internet, but you can ensure that you have a system in place to secure your information and manage breaches when they do occur.

Exabeam is a third-generation SIEM platform that is easy to implement and use, and includes advanced functionality per the revised Gartner SIEM model:

  • Advanced Analytics and Forensic Analysis—threat identification with behavioral analysis based on machine learning, dynamically grouping of peers and of entities to identify suspicious individuals, and lateral movement detection.
  • Data Exploration, Reporting and Retention—unlimited log data retention with flat pricing, leveraging modern data lake technology, with context-aware log parsing that helps security analysts quickly find what they need.
  • Threat Hunting—empowering analysts to actively seek out threats. Provides a point-and-click threat hunting interface, making it possible to build rules and queries using natural language, with no SQL or NLP processing.
  • Incident Response and SOC Automation—a centralized approach to incident response, gathering data from hundreds of tools and orchestrating a response to different types of incidents, via security playbooks. Exabeam can automate investigations, containment, and mitigation workflows.

Exabeam enables SOCs, CISCOs, and InfoSec security teams to gain more visibility and control. Using Exabeam, organizations can cover a wide range of information security risks, ensuring that information remains secure, accessible, and available. Learn more about Exabeam’s next-generation cloud SIEM.

See Our Additional Articles on Key Information Security Topics

Together with our content partners, we have authored in-depth articles, guides, and explainers on several other topics that can also be useful as you explore the world of information security.

Insider Threat

Authored by Exabeam

IT Security

Authored by Exabeam

Log Management

Authored by Exabeam

Disaster Recovery Guide

Authored by Cloudian

Disaster recovery strategies help you ensure that your data and systems remain available no matter what happens. These strategies can provide protections against single points of failure, natural disasters, and attacks, including ransomware.

See top articles in our IT disaster recovery guide:

Digital Forensics

Authored by BlueVoyant

Threat Intelligence

Authored by BlueVoyant

Incident Response Services

Authored by Cynet

Learn about managed incident response services that can help your organization outsource its incident response process to an external security team.


Learn about MITRE ATT&CK, a security research project that is helping the security industry better understand techniques, tactics, and procedures (TTPs) used by threat actors, detecting them, and responding to them more effectively.

Next Gen SIEM

Authored by Exabeam

Learn about next generation security information and event management (SIEM) systems that combine traditional SIEM functionality with use and entity behavioral analytics (UEBA), security orchestration and automation (SOAR), and other advanced security capabilities.


Authored by Exabeam

Learn about eXtended Detection and Response (XDR), a new security paradigm that cuts across silos, combining data from endpoints, networks, clouds, and email systems to detect and respond to sophisticated threats. 

Application Security

Authored by HackerOne

User Management

Authored by Frontegg

Learn the basics of user management and discover how it is evolving.

MSSP Security

Authored by Cynet

Endpoint Security

Learn about endpoint security technologies that can help you prevent, detect, and respond to threats on endpoints 

Malware protection 

Malware has become increasingly sophisticated, used by attackers to gain a persistent hold on networks, extort organizations and cause global-scale damage. Learn about advanced technologies and practices that can help you prevent malware from penetrating and damaging your environment.

NIST Cybersecurity Framework

Authored by Cynet

System Hardening

Authored by Hysolate

Learn about security practices that can help you harden sensitive computing systems, applying configuration best practices that can prevent security threats.


Authored by Faddom

Bug Bounty

Authored by HackerOne

Splunk SIEM

Authored by BlueVoyant

SIEM Tools

Authored by Exabeam

IT Asset Management

Authored by Faddom

Edge Security

Authored by Atlantic

Other Information Security Resources

Cybersecurity Trends and Tools

Web Application, API and IoT Security