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#63 Epiq’s Information Security Journey

Dinesh Sharma (Director of Information Security Governance at Epiq)

Dinesh Sharma, Director of Information Security Governance at Epiq, joins us on the ISO Show today. He discusses ISO 27001, his in-depth experience of this standard, how it’s working for Epiq, lessons learned, and how he manages this globally for Epiq Global.

We are so excited to interview Dinesh! He has a wealth of experience in terms of implementing frameworks like ISO 27001 and PCI DSS. He’s got plenty of experience ranging from developing information security policies, procedures, managing risk assessments, to delivering security training and awareness, and overseeing internal audits. He also has expert experience in security management and governance as his last 15 years focused on information security.

You’ll learn about:

  • What Epiq does
  • What it means to be Director of Information Security Governance
  • Setting up a security team and managing it in terms of global responsibilities
  • Continual improvement at Epiq
  • Dispelling ISO 27001 myths
  • What has worked well for Epiq in relation to ISO 27001

First and foremost, let’s dive into what Epiq is and does…

What does Epiq do?

Epiq, primarily based in the U.S, is a global professional services company, operating in approximately 25 countries including Germany, Belgium, India, London and so many more.

Epiq primarily provides support to the legal industry (so to law firms and the legal departments within large organisations). Their key service is around E-discovery. This is where there is potentially an investigation, or if two parties are about to enter a litigation. Some processes need to happen around data collection, data review, forensics, processing and document review. Epiq can make all of this so much more efficient and cost-effective for clients! Another core service Epiq provides is court reporting and transcription services. Other services include business transformation services, class-action and a range of other services.

Now, let’s find out more about Dinesh’s role…

Role at Epiq

Dinesh is part of the Global information security function at Epiq. They have a dedicated Global information security team to support the business.

Dinesh’s specific role is to lead the security governance side of things. This means that he manages and helps to define the information security policy set and Information Security Management System (ISMS) within Epiq. He also leads and coordinates the internal security assessments (part of which is internal ISMS audits as well as internal security audits across Epiq). He even reviews and provides input on contracts of clients and vendors around security clauses to ensure they align with the policies of Epiq. His team also delivers staff security awareness and training. Finally, his team manages security certifications including ISO 27001 (very relevant for today!).

So, let’s explore how a mature ISMS is managed…

How to go about setting up a security team and manage it in terms of global responsibilities?

At Epiq they have a dedicated team within their information security function for security operations. This team oversees the security toolset, they monitor the alerts from this toolset, such as their end-point detection and the logging and alerting around network security. This security operations team also takes the lead on defining their processes and handling any security incidents. So, they have a separate team for this specifically.

They also have a separate team for security architecture and security engineering. These teams work very closely with the business to make sure that security is considered and embedded within the projects and new offerings Epiq has as a business, as well as developing their tools. So, if Epiq is looking to implement a new security tool, this team will be very involved in looking at the different vendors that provide that offering, how that would be embedded and work within the infrastructure of Epiq, and the environments with which they serve their clients. So, Epiq has got the structure of sub-teams within the security function well defined!

Of course, sitting on top of this, Epiq is very fortunate to have some very experienced and very qualified leadership come into that team. The governance and operations side is managed by a gentleman called Jason. He has lots of experience and brings experience from other industries he’s worked with. He has a peer called Andrew, who looks after the engineering and architecture side. Epiq also has a new Chief Security Officer (CSO) who is very knowledgeable and savvy. He is doing a really good job of lifting the profile of not only security within the organisation, but also Epiq’s security functions. So, they are fortunate to have that leadership as well.

This is fantastic…when organisations are starting with implementing an ISMS, we always find that leadership commitment is so key! It’s great to hear that Epiq has got a mature management system yet are still continuing to focus on leadership commitment and bringing that in from various angles across the organisation as well.

In terms of the ISMS then…

Epiq has got many other security standards, so what we want to know is how their ISMS helps them to manage all their activities.

Well, looking at the requirements of ISO 27001 and setting up an ISMS that works, Dinesh thinks the most important thing it gives an organisation, regardless of what level of maturity it is at, is what the basic components and principles are in terms of a framework that you should be having in place or that you should consider having. This is because if you want to go for certification to ISO 27001, then you must have some of these things in place.

Dinesh very much sees this as a baseline!

Once, you establish that baseline and you’ve got the documentation, the processes which support the documents and the staff in place who can deliver on those processes. You then think…‘what can you do to increase the maturity’?

A big part of ISO 27001 is continual improvement. This is something Dinesh thinks is very important and puts a lot of focus on in his role. So, that’s all tied with the kind of internal security reviews that they do with the internal assessments that happen. But any feedback they get from the business, or any input or discussions they have with the business which can raise or flag something, e.g., as a potential block, are put onto their continual improvement register to work with the team or the business area. It might be something they have to work on themselves. The important thing is to always look out for these kinds of things. That’s why this is a key area of focus for Dinesh, in his role, as he thinks about what can improve each step of the ISMS in Epiq.

However, a lot of companies, once they’ve completed the assessment, think that’s the job done. But you can’t put your feet up just yet! This is only the beginning of the journey, which is why Dinesh identifies this as the baseline and the foundation to be used for continual improvement.

So, let’s look at what Epiq has implemented in relation to continual improvement, which has been above and beyond this baseline.

Epiq and continual improvement

Epis has implemented a Critical Asset Reviews. They identified their 15 most critical assets and instead of doing a full security review, they pick the 10 most important controls and other controls they think would deliver the highest level of security if they had it in place. So, they have done a very focused security review, based on risk and what they think their most important assets are. They dig deep into what are the risks and issues and by acting on these, it moves Epiq to another level.

Now, let’s move onto the part where we dispel myths around ISO standards!

Dispelling ISO 27001 myths

Dinesh believes that a good understanding of ISO 27001 is needed to know what the standard actually means. There is a difference between being aligned and being certified to ISO 27001. So, an independent review of your ISMS is really important as it shows you haven’t just picked and chosen which parts of the core standard you’re going to implement. It shows that you’ve had to do them all and have had that verified and tested. This would provide a level of assurance to your organisation and stakeholders. That’s why there is such a big difference between being aligned to the standard and being compliant with it.

Finally, I’m sure our audience would love to know…

What has worked well from an information security perspective in relation to ISO 27001?

Dinesh identifies the top-level management commitment within a business as the most crucial thing in any implementation of a standard. The business needs to understand the importance of information security. So, everyone needs to be aware of what the benefits are, what’s going on and what is important…having this conversation in your business really makes everything easier according to Dinesh. Epiq does this during their management reviews, where all four of their CEOs attend. They take the management review section of ISO 27001 and cover most of it in their quarterly meetings, and because this is visibly supported by their CEO, the business leaders reporting to the CEO and all their directors attend the management reviews as well. So, they all understand what’s going on, what’s important and what the key risks are from the security team’s perspective. Having this conversation just makes everything a lot easier according to Dinesh.

That’s it from Dinesh! We hope you enjoyed learning about Epiq’s journey…it’s inspirational to hear how Epiq is still developing, evolving, improving and still getting such fantastic commitment from the very top as well. It clearly demonstrates Epiq Global’s commitment to information security without a shadow of a doubt!

Contact details for Dinesh, if you have any enquires or would simply like to connect with him, you can get in contact using one of the ways below:

Email: dsharma@epiqglobal.co.uk

Website URL : Epiqglobal.com

LinkedIn handle: uk.linkedin.com/in/dineshcsharma

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