Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if nobody messed with your stuff? You could leave your bike unlocked outside of Starbucks; keep your car keys in the ignition; never worry about hackers getting into your private personal and business information.
Since that day isn’t happening any time soon, it’s critical for every business to safeguard all information technology assets — and that begins by writing the most important document your company can have: A Security Policy.
Your Security Policy’s Policies
Hackers develop new ways to break into networks every day. Their malware continues to grow in both sophistication and capabilities. If even the most diligent office worker mistakenly drops the cybersecurity ball, it won't take long for that tiny crack in IT security to grow into a big problem. To prevent this, we recommend implementing the following 9 policies — and ensuring EVERYONE in your organization abides by them.
1. Acceptable Use Policy
The practices that all employees must sign agreement to for accessing the corporate network or Internet. Make this standard onboarding policy for new employees.
2. Access Control Policy
Designates each employee’s access to an organization’s data and information systems.
3. Information Security Policy
Ensures that employees who use IT assets and networks will comply with all rules and guidelines. It also spells out the repercussions of failing to do so.
4. Remote Access Policy
Explains acceptable methods for remotely connecting to an organization's internal networks.
5. Email/Communication Policy
Outlines how employees can use electronic communication tools like email, blogs and social media (including chat technologies).
6. Change Management Policy
Lays out the formal process for making changes to IT, software development and security services/operations.
7. Incident Response Policy
An overview of how to handle a breach to minimize business operation damage, customer fallout, downtime and financial loss.
8. Disaster Recovery Policy
Describes the steps necessary to stop and remedy the organizational damage after it has been assessed.
9. Business Continuity Policy
The emergency roadmap for restoring the hardware, applications and data that are essential for conducting business.
This thoughtful and thorough approach serves as a blueprint for cybersecurity. Regard your Security Policy as a living document that can and will evolve as your business grows and new technologies emerge.
Your New Security Policy: Steps for Getting Started
Once you've acknowledged that you’ll benefit by keeping your IT assets safe, it's time to create a policy (or revise your existing one). As you prepare to draft your company’s policy, here are some tips toward making the journey efficient and effective.
1. Assess Your Risk
Identify what your current IT risks and network vulnerabilities are. Are resources in the appropriate hands? Are there potential leaks into confidential information that a hacker could breach? These can be difficult questions to answer internally, which is why it’s a good idea to bring in an outside expert like Marco to assess your risks and formulate a security plan.
2. Follow the Leaders
Many other organizations have already ventured down the cybersecurity path. Learn from them. Research the online resources for guidance and you can even get Security Policy templates to make the job easier. Marco can help point you in the right direction for critical information and best practices.
3. Know the Law
If your organization uses data containing sensitive personal information like credit card numbers, social security numbers, etc., or if you conduct business internationally, make sure you’re aware of all the legal requirements you must meet for cybersecurity.
4. Get Everyone On Board
Include your entire staff in the security process. Communicate clearly each step of the way, so everyone is aware of the policies, risks and implications of a security incident. Encourage all employees to promote the policies within their departments and throughout the organization.
5. Educate the Crew
When you unveil your Security Policy, provide comprehensive staff training sessions. This will help employees understand the big picture and what’s at stake, while inviting them to ask any questions or address concerns.
6. Make it Official
When you implement your security plan, make sure all employees have read and signed the Security Policy beforehand. Include policy signings with all new hires during the onboarding process.
7. Enforce the Rules
Your policy should clearly state the penalties for any violation or breaches of the security rules. In the instance of a violation, have a proper process in place with Human Resources to appropriately reprimand and/or train the employee.
8. Roll with the Punches
As noted, a Security Policy is a living document that changes as conditions and new data threats evolve. Set up an appropriate review schedule to identify changing needs and make appropriate updates. Notify your staff formally whenever policy adjustments are made.
9. Keep Tabs on Compliance
Having the right tools to monitor security configurations is critical to a successful IT security program. This includes tactics to monitor Internet/email content, installed applications, unauthorized devices and more. Marco has the full tool box and can monitor compliance for you, or we can work with your IT department to ensure monitoring success.
The Final Word: Make it Your Culture
I touched on this already, but it begs repeating: It’s imperative that everyone within your organization is on board with cybersecurity. If your company’s culture isn’t aligned to embrace security, do whatever is needed to change it. Hackers are sophisticated attackers. They’re the types who would steal your bike outside a Starbucks. Lock them out, and get it started with a Security Policy that’s right for your company and people.