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App Development
6 minutes read

What Is Information Assurance (IA), and Why Is It Important?

by Jose Gomez
App Development
6 minutes read

Cybersecurity has never been more important than it is today with an increasing number of systems and information being digitized, but many people still don’t know what Information Assurance is or why it is critically important. 

The term Information Assurance (IA) may sound like a broad security topic, but it is actually a focussed and specific aspect of any comprehensive app development project. If you’re not already familiar with Information Assurance, it is likely that your project management team is not implementing a robust, thorough Information Assurance plan. 

Information security is not the same as Information Assurance. Let’s explore Information Assurance in more detail, see how it differs from information security, and finally, explain why Information Assurance is so important for your organization.

What is Information Assurance (IA)?

Information Assurance (IA) is the management of data and the potential risks to that data throughout the development, use, storage, transmission, and processing of an application. The primary concern of Information Assurance is to guarantee the availability, integrity, authentication, confidentiality, and non-repudiation of information and information systems

When we think about and discuss Information Assurance, we are almost always referring to data and information in its digital form. However, Information Assurance can also include data in physical forms too. Information Assurance is tasked with protecting data in storage and in transit. 

Information Assurance is becoming an increasingly important part of mobile app and web development projects as organizations rely more heavily on digital information systems. The app development process is one of the most critically important times to manage and assess your information risk. It is during development that you face the greatest chance of a security vulnerability being introduced to your app in the form of a software flaw. 

Undetected flaws or security vulnerabilities in the application can lead to unauthorized users accessing, editing, copying, or deleting your valuable information or that of your users. Security breaches can have a large impact on your brand’s reputation, consumer trust, and your ability to operate your business.

Information Assurance plays a vital role in modern security plans, and it will only continue to get more vital as organizations continue to turn to digital handling solutions for their information. 

Information Assurance (IA) Vs Information Security 

Information Assurance (IA) and information security are closely related, and they both play a major role in the security of information and information systems. The differences between these two security fields are more than just semantic. Let’s break it down in more specific details. 

We’ve already touched on Information Assurance. Its main focus is ensuring the availability, integrity, authentication, confidentiality, and non-repudiation of information and information systems. This includes leveraging testing tools to identify and analyze potential vulnerabilities in applications, servers, and other resources so that these risks can be addressed to improve the level of Information Assurance of the resource in question. 

On the other hand, information security focuses on the protection of information and information systems from the unauthorized access, use, modification, destruction, disclosure, and disruption of information. Information Assurance ensures integrity, availability, and confidentiality, while information security provides it

These two fields are so closely related that they can get confused with each other quite easily. In many respects, you could say in very simple terms that Information Assurance double checks or makes sure that information security is functioning properly. This topic is more nuanced than that, but this simplified explanation lends some clarity to a very complex topic. 

At the end of the day, modern information security policies and plans need to include assurance and security protocols. Both Information Assurance and information security rely on one another to provide robust security coverage for an organization’s information system. 

The Importance of Information Assurance (IA) 

It is easy for everyone to understand the importance of information security, but you may not yet see the importance of Information Assurance. The main reason why Information Assurance is so important is that it focuses on finding more effective ways to safeguard and maintain control over important information

The overall quality of the information is an important aspect of Information Assurance, and this type of work also encourages vigorous risk management planning and strategies. One of the most important facets of Information Assurance is ongoing risk assessment. Security threats are always evolving, and bad actors are finding new ways to exploit vulnerabilities.

Information Assurance (IA) risk assessments can give your organization a better understanding of potential security vulnerabilities in your information system, the individual likelihood of these vulnerabilities being exploited, and all of the potential financial, brand image, compliance, etc., impacts your organization could face in the event a particular vulnerability is exploited. 

The key to successful Information Assurance risk assessments is objectivity. If your organization can depend on the reliability and objectivity of a risk assessment, you can create detailed plans on the best ways to handle any potential security vulnerabilities. 

In some cases, you may only need to take steps to mitigate a vulnerability, but in others, you may need to take a more aggressive approach and completely eliminate the issue. The follow-up steps that you take will depend on the nature and gravity of your risk assessments. 

Without Information Assurance measures in place, it will be difficult for your organization to be confident in the integrity of your information. Furthermore, in today’s fast-paced business world, decisions need to be made quickly. Not only do you need information to be available to you at a moment’s notice, but you also need to be able to rely on its authenticity and accuracy too. 

Final Thoughts 

Security is always going to be a major part of any business or organization’s digital plans. Information Assurance is a nuanced part of information security, but that doesn’t mean you can fail to account for it. In many ways, Information Assurance is critical to your overall success. You cannot afford to have bad information today, and losing control of your organization’s or user’s data can be fatal to your reputation. 

We understand that security can be a difficult thing to plan for. If you’re having trouble creating policies or need to assess your risk, reach out to an app development partner. A solid development partner can lend you their expertise and industry experience, which can be invaluable in ensuring your ongoing success and security.

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