BSI Introduces “Weg in die Basis-Absicherung” (WiBA) Initiative to Enhance Information Security in German Municipalities

The Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) has unveiled a new initiative, “Weg in die Basis-Absicherung” (WiBA), aimed at aiding municipalities in systematically implementing information security measures. The initiative seeks to minimize the risks of cyber incidents and simplify the entry point into IT baseline protection.

The WiBA concept, outlined in a comprehensive document, is targeted at the leadership of public institutions and government bodies. It underscores the significance of information security at the highest levels and streamlines the initial steps toward IT baseline protection.

WiBA is designed to provide an entry-level approach to information security and offers specific recommendations for effective action. While it does not establish a full-fledged Information Security Management System (ISMS), WiBA serves as a starting point to tackle cybersecurity threats.

Key Objectives:

  • Support municipalities in implementing essential information security measures.
  • Address risks associated with cybersecurity incidents.
  • Prepare the ground for adopting the IT baseline protection profile “Basis-Absicherung Kommunalverwaltung.”

Role of Institutional Leadership:

To ensure effective information security, institutional leadership must fully grasp their responsibilities and role. The leadership’s pivotal tasks are outlined in the document, aimed at facilitating a successful entry into information security.

Taking Overall Responsibility:

Institutional leadership bears the ultimate responsibility for information security. Recognizing the importance of this, leadership is expected to actively contribute to information security, understand associated risks, and stay informed about the state of information security. Furthermore, the leadership is responsible for steering and controlling the security process.

Leadership also plays a role model function, influencing the overall culture of information security within an institution. An engaged leadership significantly impacts the positive development of information security.

Setting Information Security Strategy and Goals:

The highest leadership level must initiate, direct, and monitor the security process. It also involves defining the institution’s information security strategy and objectives. These could range from immediate implementation of the WiBA stage to the adoption of the IT baseline protection profile and full IT baseline protection methodology in the long term.

Delegating Tasks and Allocating Resources:

Institutional leadership is responsible for task distribution within the security process and designating those responsible for coordinating the process. Effective information security necessitates cross-departmental and hierarchical communication.

Recognizing that information security concerns all employees, suitable groundwork is crucial for successful implementation of security measures. Employees need to understand security mechanisms, the purpose of security measures, and how adhering to them mitigates potential risks (sensitization). The organizational environment, shared values, and employee engagement all significantly influence information security.

The leadership should also ensure suitable organizational conditions, adequate qualifications of personnel, and the availability of necessary resources (both time and finances). These include investments in software, hardware, infrastructure, and training.

Moving Forward:

The WiBA initiative emphasizes that information security is an ongoing process rather than a project. It guides institutions, especially those without in-depth methodological knowledge, to assess their status using simple checklists and implement essential security measures efficiently. This efficient use of resources can elevate the security level.

Building on this foundation, institutions can seamlessly transition to the IT baseline protection profile “Basis-Absicherung Kommunalverwaltung” and the complete “Basis-Absicherung” approach.