Risk management

Managing risks is part and parcel of working life - we weigh our options, take decisions and move on. Making sensible informed choices about information security is no different.

As a Head of Division, Head of Department or Faculty Board Chair, you are responsible for managing risks to the security of information assets in your division, department or faculty accesses.

In most cases, you can mitigate these risks responsibly by complying with the University’s ‘baseline’ security standards and information handling rules, but this does not remove the need to assess and manage risk.

REQUIREMENTS

The University’s baseline information security standard provides a minimum set of security requirement to be met, however, it is good practice to ensure that you assess the risks associated with information security in your division, department or faculty. You may also be required to demonstrate that you have conducted a risk assessment to external parties such as funders or partners. You must ensure risk assessments are signed off by an appropriate risk or information asset owner.

HOW TO COMPLY

To fulfil your risk management obligations:

  • Apply the University's baseline information security standards to all information systems managed by your division, department or faculty
  • Ensure that information asset handling rules are being followed (these are determined by Information Asset Owners in accordance with the baseline standards)
  • Carry out and document an annual risk assessment for your division, department or facult and for each major change that could impact on the security of your information

The Information Security Team is responsible for maintaining and acting upon a University-wide information security risk register.

An information security risk assessment should be carried out at least annually and as required to assess each significant change to your information systems, including people, processes sand technology. This can be a complex undertaking, requiring specialised knowledge and skills, so to make it easier the Security GRC Team has developed some tools and guidance to simplify the process. These include:

  • The IART for capturing details of information, systems and associated risks. The Requirements of Article 30 of the GDPR are also covered
  • The TPSA for assessing information security risks associated with third party suppliers
  • The BCSA for assessing information security risks associated with internal systems

These are currently undergoing trials by early adopters but are available for you to use on request. If you would like to use them please contact grc@infosec.ox.ac.uk.

POLICY

It is University Policy that:

  • Adequately manage information security risk and carry out risk assessments on IT systems and business processes where appropriate. Information security risk assessments should be:
    • Carried out on all information systems on a regular basis in order to identify key information risks and determine the controls required to keep those risks within acceptable limits
    • Repeated periodically and carried out as required during the operational delivery and maintenance of the University's infrastructure, systems and processes
    • Included in the business case for any new ICT system that may be used to store confidential information