OECD Guidelines

OECD Guidelines for the Security of Information Systems and Networks: Towards a Culture of Security

Published under Risk Management
Title: OECD Guidelines for the Security of Information Systems and Networks: Towards a Culture of Security (25 July 2002)
Source reference: http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/16/22/15582260.pdf
Topic: General information security
Direct / indirect relevance Direct. The text explicitly recommends RM/RA practices to be applied as a part of general security management.
Scope: Nonbinding guidelines to any OECD entities (governments, businesses, other organisations and individual users who develop, own, provide, manage, service, and use information systems and networks)
Legal force: Not legally binding, neither to natural persons, legal entities or countries
Affected sectors: All sectors (since they contain general security principles for information systems)
Relevant provision(s): III. PRINCIPLES
The following nine principles are complementary and should be read as a whole. They concern participants at all levels, including policy and operational levels. Under these Guidelines, the responsibilities of participants vary according to their roles. All participants will be aided by awareness, education, information sharing and training that can lead to adoption of better security understanding and practices. Efforts to enhance the security of information systems and networks should be consistent with the values of a democratic society, particularly the need for an open and free flow of information and basic concerns for personal privacy.

1) Awareness
Participants should be aware of the need for security of information systems and networks and what they can do to enhance security.
Awareness of the risks and available safeguards is the first line of defence for the security of information systems and networks. Information systems and networks can be affected by both internal and external risks. Participants should understand that security failures may significantly harm systems and networks under their control. They should also be aware of the potential harm to others arising from interconnectivity and interdependency. Participants should be aware of the configuration of, and available updates for, their system, its place within networks, good practices that they can implement to enhance security, and the needs of other participants.

2) Responsibility
All participants are responsible for the security of information systems and networks.
Participants depend upon interconnected local and global information systems and networks and should understand their responsibility for the security of those information systems and networks. They should be accountable in a manner appropriate to their individual roles. Participants should review their own policies, practices, measures, and procedures regularly and assess whether these are appropriate to their environment. Those who develop, design and supply products and services should address system and network security and distribute appropriate information including updates in a timely manner so that users are better able to understand the security functionality of products and services and their responsibilities related to security.

3) Response
Participants should act in a timely and co-operative manner to prevent, detect and respond to security incidents.
Recognising the interconnectivity of information systems and networks and the potential for rapid and widespread damage, participants should act in a timely and co-operative manner to address security incidents. They should share information about threats and vulnerabilities, as appropriate, and implement procedures for rapid and effective co-operation to prevent, detect and respond to security incidents. Where permissible, this may involve cross-border information sharing and co-operation.

4) Ethics
Participants should respect the legitimate interests of others.
Given the pervasiveness of information systems and networks in our societies, participants need to recognise that their action or inaction may harm others. Ethical conduct is therefore crucial and participants should strive to develop and adopt best practices and to promote conduct that recognises security needs and respects the legitimate interests of others.

5) Democracy
The security of information systems and networks should be compatible with essential values of a democratic society.
Security should be implemented in a manner consistent with the values
recognised by democratic societies including the freedom to exchange
thoughts and ideas, the free flow of information, the confidentiality of information and communication, the appropriate protection of personal information, openness and transparency.

6) Risk assessment
Participants should conduct risk assessments.
Risk assessment identifies threats and vulnerabilities and should be sufficiently broad-based to encompass key internal and external factors, such as technology, physical and human factors, policies and third-party services with security implications. Risk assessment will allow determination of the acceptable level of risk and assist the selection of appropriate controls to manage the risk of potential harm to information systems and networks in light of the nature and importance of the information to be protected. Because of the growing interconnectivity of information systems, risk assessment should include consideration of the potential harm that may originate from others or be caused to others.

7) Security design and implementation
Participants should incorporate security as an essential element of information systems and networks.
Systems, networks and policies need to be properly designed, implemented and co-ordinated to optimise security. A major, but not exclusive, focus of this effort is the design and adoption of appropriate safeguards and solutions to avoid or limit potential harm from identified threats and vulnerabilities.
Both technical and non-technical safeguards and solutions are required and should be proportionate to the value of the information on the organisation’s systems and networks. Security should be a fundamental element of all products, services, systems and networks, and an integral part of system design and architecture. For end users, security design and implementation consists largely of selecting and configuring products and services for their system.

8) Security management
Participants should adopt a comprehensive approach to security management.
Security management should be based on risk assessment and should be dynamic, encompassing all levels of participants’ activities and all aspects of their operations. It should include forward-looking responses to emerging threats and address prevention, detection and response to incidents, systems recovery, ongoing maintenance, review and audit. Information system and network security policies, practices, measures and procedures should be co-ordinated and integrated to create a coherent system of security. The requirements of security management depend upon the level of involvement, the role of the participant, the risk involved and system requirements.

9) Reassessment
Participants should review and reassess the security of information systems and networks, and make appropriate modifications to security policies, practices, measures and procedures.
New and changing threats and vulnerabilities are continuously discovered. Participants should continually review, reassess and modify all aspects of security to deal with these evolving risks.
Relevance to RM/RA: The OECD Guidelines state the basic principles underpinning risk management and information security practices. While no part of the text is binding as such, non-compliance with any of the principles is indicative of a serious breach of RM/RA good practices that can potentially incur liability.
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