December 5, 2022
Cybercrime is now more profitable than the illegal drug trade, but that’s only because many businesses aren’t following cybersecurity best practices. Most cybercriminals are looking for a fast profit, and if their ability to make easy millions were to be suddenly taken away from them, I believe many of them would contemplate a career change.
The more businesses that practice good cybersecurity hygiene, the fewer tempting targets there will be. And one of the most powerful tools you have for safeguarding your assets is a clear, comprehensive security policy.
What Is an IT Security Policy?
An information security policy is a set of rules designed to prevent employees from posing an additional risk to your organization’s assets.
We don’t live in a perfect world, and we may be living with cybercrime and its consequences for quite some time. But when it comes to digital security, your employees can be your greatest strength or your greatest liability. An IT security policy helps your staff be the former and not the latter.
Why Is a Digital Security Policy Important?
According to a recent report, 82% of data breaches involved human error or negligence. Having a digital security policy in place, and making sure it’s followed every time, helps your employees avoid unwittingly exposing sensitive information to hackers.
What Should Your Security Policy Include?
Hackers develop new ways to break into networks every day. But even their most common attacks continue to grow in both sophistication and capabilities. If even the most diligent office worker makes just one careless mistake, it could turn into a big problem.
To prevent this, we recommend implementing the following 13 policies and ensuring EVERYONE in your organization abides by them.
1. Acceptable Use Policy
This policy outlines how your employees should safely access the corporate network or internet. Make agreeing to this policy in writing part of standard onboarding for new employees.
2. Access Control Policy
Decide which employees can access which components of your organization’s data and systems.
3. Information Security Policy
Make sure that employees who use IT assets and networks will comply with all rules and guidelines contained in this policy, and include the repercussions of failing to do so.
4. Remote Access Policy
List acceptable methods for remotely connecting to an organization's internal networks.
5. Email/Communication Policy
Provide detailed information on how employees can use electronic communication tools like email, blogs, and social media (including chat technologies).
Spell out how employees should collect and use personal data, including the rights individuals have around their data.
7. Data Retention Policy
Itemize what data should be stored, where, and for how long.
8. Visitor Policy
Make sure your employees know what is expected of them when they receive guests to your facility.
9. Clean Desk Policy
Keep sensitive information and assets safe with a policy that outlines how your staff should leave their work station.
10. Change Management Policy
Lay out the formal process for making changes to IT, software development, and security services/operations.
11. Incident Response Policy
An incident response policy provides an overview of how to handle a breach to minimize business operation damage, customer fallout, downtime, and financial loss.
12. Disaster Recovery Policy
In a disaster recovery policy, you’ll describe the steps necessary to stop and remedy any organizational damage.
13. Business Continuity Policy
Your business continuity policy will be used to restore the hardware, applications and data that are essential for conducting business.
How to Write and Enact a Business Security Policy
As you prepare to draft your company’s policy, here are some tips toward making the journey efficient and effective.
Assess your risk
Follow recommendations by the National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity Framework (NIST CSF).
Know the law and any applicable regulations for your business
Write a comprehensive policy, understanding that it may change over time
Get everyone on board with your new policy
Provide ongoing training
Have existing employees sign any new agreements
Enforce the rules consistently
Review your plan regularly, and notify staff when changes are made
Keep tabs on shifting laws and regulations
- Make security an important part of your culture
Get Expert Help with Your Security Policy
If you need help drafting a component of your security policy, Marco’s security specialists are here to help. However, one critical area many organizations struggle with is step one: risk assessment. No matter how thorough the rest of your security policy is, without an understanding of your actual risks, your policy may not be as helpful to your business as it could be.
Cybersecurity is constantly evolving, and it can be difficult for busy internal IT teams to keep up when they’re already overwhelmed with daily tasks. A cybersecurity assessment from Marco can illuminate what you’re already doing well, and help you understand — and address — any areas of risk you may have.