What are the different types of security clearance?

In Internet parlance, security accreditation assures users that a website is safe to use.

Security accreditation can range from a credential that a website maintains to assure users of the integrity of encrypted data, to diplomas given to participants in security training. The type of accreditation that would be necessary and appropriate depends on the application. In all cases, the process of obtaining security accreditation must involve a neutral third party capable of providing a balanced and impartial assessment. That same party has the authority to revoke accreditation if it feels the recipient no longer meets the standards it sets.

Hospital staff need confidentiality training to protect patient privacy.

In computing, security clearance is necessary to assure users that systems are secure. Many systems have safeguards and will not communicate with a system or website that does not have a security certificate. For example, browser software will alert the user if a site’s credential has expired, doesn’t match, or appears to have some other problem. The user can decide whether to continue sharing confidential information or to opt out.

Computer systems may be subject to audit by accreditation agencies with the authority to assess a system and determine the level of security it provides to users. These agencies may also provide training to employees so they can learn about the security protocol. They can assess employees to determine if they are qualified to work in the system; for example, the auditor may ask to see the educational records of staff members and may administer interviews or tests to see how much they know about computer security.

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These audits can be useful for everything from checking government computers to auditing the credit card manufacturing process and associated systems. Security clearance may also include training and certification of personnel who work with confidential and sensitive information. Hospital staff, for example, need confidentiality training to protect patient privacy. A hospital may need accreditation to qualify for certain insurance products, such as malpractice coverage, or to work with specific insurers that provide coverage to patients.

The process of obtaining security clearance can be time-consuming and expensive. The clear benefit is the ability to access more customers and benefits, who can afford the cost of obtaining and maintaining security clearance. If companies struggle with cost, they can receive financial assistance if they can document a need and show how they will use their accreditation. Public subsidies, for example, are available to institutions such as hospitals and schools that need to update their security measures.

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