Operational Security (OPSEC)

Definition of Operational Security

Operational security (OPSEC), also known as procedural security, is a risk management process that encourages managers to view operations from the perspective of an adversary in order to protect sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands.

Though originally used by the military, OPSEC is becoming popular in the private sector as well. Things that fall under the OPSEC umbrella include monitoring behaviors and habits on social media sites as well as discouraging employees from sharing login credentials via email or text message.

The Five Steps of Operational Security

The processes involved in operational security can be neatly categorized into five steps:

Best Practices for Operational Security

Follow these best practices to implement a robust, comprehensive operational security program:

Risk management involves being able to identify threats and vulnerabilities before they become problems. Operational security forces managers to dive deeply into their operations and figure out where their information can be easily breached. Looking at operations from a malicious third-party’s perspective allows managers to spot vulnerabilities they may have otherwise missed so that they can implement the proper countermeasures to protect sensitive data.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is operational security and why is it important?

Operational security (OPSEC) is an approach to risk management that promotes viewing operations from the perspective of an antagonist. The goal is to identify potential vulnerabilities and address them to prevent sensitive information from being lost, stolen, or compromised. OPSEC was developed by military organizations and is becoming increasingly popular in private business and industry.

What are the elements of operational security?

The following five elements make up the foundation of operational security.

What is an example of operational security?

An example of operational security is an organization implementing data classification processes to identify all sensitive data residing in its cloud computing environment. Information found to be sensitive could then be subject to more stringent access controls and end-to-end encryption to protect it from unauthorized use.