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I'm the Information Security Manager at Janet and through this blog I'll be sharing some of my experiences, ideas and thoughts on information security topics.

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Making information security shine

Monday, February 1, 2016 - 13:10

One of the many organizational tools to come out of manufacturing is called 5s. Based on a list of five Japanese words Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, and Shitsuke (Sort, Set, Shine, Standardize and Sustain) it provides techniques that promote efficiency and quality, particularly in a workplace where multiple workers share responsibility for production.

Seiton and Seiso, promote the organization and tidying of a workspace. Are these methods relevant to information security? Are organized, tidy and maintained systems more secure?

An organized and tidy workspace (trying to avoid the dreaded “clear desk”) brings confidence in where information is being stored and processed – a necessary precursor securing that information. If instead of desks covered in growing mountains of paper and folders, a workspace has defined, appropriate and useable storage for paperwork, then the task of deciding how to secure that information becomes manageable.

Rather than a chore, routine maintenance of systems should be used as an opportunity to improve, inspect and secure systems. Keeping a system organized and performing creates a familiarity with the system. This makes it easier to spot anomalies and problems that may lead to future security issues. Performing tasks such as applying patches more frequently not only results in a more secure system, but is likely to minimize the scale of any problems that might occur if a debt of patching and maintainance is allowed to build. Maintaining the security of the system becomes a normal part of it’s administration rather than a periodic task.

More information on 5S can be found on Wikipedia. Also interesting is “The Toyota Way” by Jeffrey Liker, which covers 5S and several other techniques to promote efficiency and minimize waste in the workplace.

[Image courtesy of MONNIN Jacques. This file is from the collection of the Musées de la Haute-Saône and has been published on Wikimedia Commons as part of a cooperation project with Wikimédia France. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.]