Business operations have changed immensely in recent years. Organizations of all sizes are simplifying and automating business processes, and increasingly adopting cloud technologies. All of that makes having an information security policy a must-have.
Any digital system (cloud-based or on-premise) comes with certain cybersecurity risks. To mitigate these risks, companies must create policies to prevent cyberattacks and data leaks from harming their business and customers.
This article will explain what an information security policy is, why they’re essential for all businesses, share key elements of an information security document, and give some tips on how to create one.
What Is an Information Security Policy?
An information security policy is a document companies use to educate their employees, vendors and shareholders on the organization’s approach to securing data and information.
It should explain what security measures and methodologies are currently in place, what action steps are required from employees and stakeholders to support the policy, and include an incident response plan.
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Information security policies are becoming as essential as other internal policy documents because they provide businesses with a framework to protect their digital assets and meet compliance.
Four Benefits of Having an Information Security Policy in Place Include:
- Reduce security incidents
- Lower security incident response times
- Increase adoption rates of existing security measures
- Understand each member’s security responsibilities
Why Does My Business Need an Information Security Policy?
Businesses need an information security policy to reduce harm from cybercrime and data leaks.
In 2022, 82% of cyber breaches were caused by humans. Many of these incidents likely could have been prevented if better education on cyber security measures had been available. Unfortunately, business owners are fielding the brunt of cybercrimes caused accidentally by employees.
With an information security policy in place, organizations can prevent and mitigate cyberattack damage if used to educate teams on safeguarding data and access points.
It serves to ensure all employees and stakeholders understand the importance of IT security and what their roles and responsibilities are on the following:
Everyone on your team should understand your company’s governing policy framework.
Each industry and locale has different data and privacy regulations; an information security package should educate members on the specific rules and compliance laws pertaining to their company.
Knowing how to be safe when working with digital tools and services can significantly decrease a business’s online security risk level. Teaching staff and stakeholders what risky behavior looks like and how to protect the company’s access points should be a priority of all information security policies.
Does your team understand its digital network and access points? In many cases, data breaches occur due to unprotected networks. Any digital information assets security policy should address the company’s policies regarding network security and the role of each staff member in protecting the company’s network.
Key Elements of a Sample Information Security Policy
Every information security policy is unique to the business it’s created for, but there are several vital elements that every document should address. These include:
- Set expectations. After reviewing their policy, employees and stakeholders should know what is expected of them regarding safe technology and data practices.
- Establish guidelines the company uses to enforce security controls and compliance standards should be clearly outlined.
- Outline your incident response plan. In case of data breaches or other cyber attacks, the incident response plan will guide team members on how to respond.
It’s important to note that an information security policy is not a one size fits all document. It should be tailored to your business’s specific needs, taking into consideration the industry regulations you need to meet, necessary access controls and other factors.
Creating Your Information Security Policy
When establishing an information security policy for your business, there are a few key steps to navigate.
First, research the specific compliance requirements and security risks that apply to your location and industry. If possible, have a managed IT specialist review your policy for accuracy. This will provide you with the necessary foundation to build the security objectives of your information security policy.
Need an Information Security Policy But Don’t Know Where to Start?
Take the first steps to understanding your organization’s needs
Look up and review information security policy examples to better understand what your policy should include.
Next, work with your IT management team to develop a policy document that’s in line with your IT business strategy. This should cover important topics your team needs to know, such as authentication requirements, data classifications, and network access points.
Finally, implement the policy. Set up educational and training sessions that all employees can easily access. Determine a reasonable timeline for employees to complete their information security policy training. Be sure to test all new measures you have put in place before rolling out your established security programs.
Information Security Policy Template for Small Business
If you’re a small business that needs some extra help, try downloading a free information security template available online. These templates provide everything you need to create and implement your own policy with easy-to-follow steps.
You can also enlist the help of IT information professionals when creating your information security policy. They will provide you with the right guidance and information needed to ensure your policy is robust and meets your security standards.
Regardless of the approach you take to building an information security policy, be sure to include the following:
- Company’s approach to IT security and user education
- Acceptable use of technology and data policies
- Access control policies, including authentication requirements
- Risk management procedures
- Disaster recovery and incident response plans
- Policies regarding third-party vendor use
- Privacy rights of customers and employees
- Auditing and reporting procedures
Build an Information Security Policy with Confidence
Creating an information security policy is integral to keeping your business’s data secure. With the correct protocols in place, you can effectively protect your information technology infrastructure and assets. However, be sure to review your policy regularly to ensure it’s up to date with compliance laws and your stack of technology solutions.
Sunco Communication and Installation Ltd. offers world-class IT management, infrastructure and security services across Canada. Contact our team for help establishing an information security policy or managing your IT network; we’re happy to help!