Information security

Information security seeks to address “confidentiality” (ensuring that only authorised persons have access to information), “integrity” (ensuring that information is not maliciously or accidentally corrupted or amended) and “availability” (ensuring that information is available to those persons requiring the information as and when they may need it).

In most jurisdictions the requirement of information security has been as a result of the implementation of privacy legislation and the necessity in terms of privacy legislation to appropriately safeguard personal information. However, in South Africa, in the absence of privacy legislation until the enactment of the Protection of Personal Information Act, the development of information security principles has occurred largely outside of the legislative obligations of privacy legislation. Therefore the focus of most information security interventions has been the “availability” element of information security very often and to a large degree at the cost of the “confidentiality” and “integrity” elements.

Section 19 of the Protection of Personal Information Act requires that a responsible party establishes appropriate security safeguards to ensure that the “integrity” and “confidentiality” of personal information in its possession or under the control of the responsible party is not compromised. Even those companies who have relatively mature information security frameworks but which have predominantly addressed the issue of “availability” will need to review those frameworks in light of the requirement to specifically address “confidentiality” and “integrity”.

Privacy Online can assist companies in establishing information security management systems which address confidentiality, integrity and availability. This approach incorporates the appropriate configuration of information and communications technologies, the development of processes governing the use of the technologies and the training of employees to promote their compliance with the policy, procedures and standards necessary for the proper processing of information, and in particular personal information.