NIST provides security guide for managers

Information Security Handbook: A Guide for Managers

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The National Institute of Standards and Technology has put together a guide to information security tailored specifically for top-level managers.

The publication, "Information Security Handbook: A Guide for Managers," was written for chief information officers, chief information security officers and other officials who have a vested interest in the security of agency systems but who do not necessarily need to get into the nuts and bolts on a daily basis.

The guide focuses on issues that typically arise when planning and implementing a security program, according to NIST.

One chapter, for example, looks at security governance, providing a breakdown of the different security-related responsibilities that must be handled by an agency's management team. The CIO should appoint a CISO to develop and maintain security policies and procedures, the guidelines state, but "information owners" -- individuals who actually manage information -- should be the ones to decide the appropriate use and distribution of their data.

NIST developed the handbook to help managers address the requirements of various security policies and laws, such as the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996 and the Federal Information Security Management Act. NIST intends the guidelines to be generic, something agencies can tailor to their specific technical and business requirements.

By providing a top-level look at security issues, the handbook "provides guidance for facilitating a more consistent approach to information security programs across the federal government," according to the guidance.

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