If you want to run a thriving business in the digital age, you need proper IT Security Policies for your organization.
Whether you are a startup or a multi-national company, you should document your business needs in an IT Security Policy. The policy should then be shared with all employees to understand how to protect its IT resources.
An IT Security Policy helps your team understand the requirements, helps your business protect its assets, and mitigate the risks of non-compliance.
In this article, we will discuss what an IT security policy is and why your organization needs an IT security policy.
What is an IT Security Policy?
An Information Security Policy is a set of rules that dictates how the company should handle digital information. It determines who can access what and the consequences of not following the rules.
In general terms, a Security Policy defines what is and is not allowed in data protection, security, confidentiality, and privacy.
An Information security policy summarizes all policies, procedures, and technologies for protecting your company’s data. It describes the company’s philosophy on security and helps set up the right policies and procedures to protect your IT systems and data.
An organization’s information policy is usually a high-level policy that can cover many security checks. Networks are often the most vulnerable to internal and external threats. Therefore, network security policies are the most extensive category that must be included in IT security policy documentation.
In a nutshell, the organization’s Information Security Policy is usually the highest policy level. It can cover a larger number of people than any security check.
Why Does My Organization Need IT Security Policies?
The IT security policy’s objectives are to preserve the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of an IT system.
- Confidentiality: only the authorized personnel can access an IT resource.
- Integrity: all data should be available, intact, complete, and reliable.
- Availability: the data and resources should be available when needed.
An IT Security Policy ensures that your employees are informed about the systems. It also has measures in place to protect your organization from cyber-attacks. As a result, your business is less vulnerable to a cyber-attack. People know how to respond to such attacks and report any suspected cases.
Continuous compliance software also provides you with a secure, centralized place to store all the documents. The documents include all data you need when regulators and auditors come knocking on your door following a reported security incident.
What Should Be Included in an IT Security Policy?
An IT security policy is one of the most critical systems. As more and more organizations are automating, the IT security policy is becoming vital for any organization.
The question is, what should be included in an IT security policy?
An IT Security Policy should tell your employees what is expected of them. It educates them about the safe and secure procedures they should follow.
On the other hand, it should also inform the employees of possible consequences if they do not comply with the guidelines.
Your policy-making team (mainly the Information Security team with support from top management) must include imminent threats to data security in your policies.
Threats and Risks
Listing your organization’s threats and risks is the first step in developing an appropriate IT Security Policy. You must also be aware of any risk that could create a vulnerability within the Company.
Well-documented and Easy to Understand
No matter how simple the task of drafting the document is, make sure the policy is documented and understandable.
IT Security Policy tells your employees,
- what they should and should not do.
- Define high-level security principles.
- Clarify and translate security policies.
- Translate security policies and communicate them to employees.
The above list is barely the tip of the iceberg.
Once you have a final draft published inside the Company, remember that it is useless if the staff does not read and sign it. Not understanding the document would create confusion and frustrate its purpose.
The presentation of how you want to update, monitor, and review your IT security policies is essential for successful implementation.
Make sure your IT Security Policy includes clauses telling users about the consequences of non-compliance.
How to Implement the IT Security Policy in Your Organization?
Once you have an information security policy in place, seek management’s consent, and ensure that it is available to all target groups.
With your policy in place, the last piece of the puzzle is to train your staff and understand the information and security requirements.
Talking to your employees about their responsibility in data security is critical.
Regular internal information should be shared (e.g., emails, leaflets, etc.) with periodic live sessions (usually on an annual basis). The main objective of these events and information sharing is to refresh and update security practices. Time is rapidly changing, and we need to change with it!
How to Create an IT Security Policy for Your Organization
Creating policy and procedure documentation is a tedious and lengthy task. Not everyone can undertake it, and building an IT security policy from the ground-up can take a very long time. Whereas it’s among the first document that any organization needs.
IT security policy can be more complicated when creating it from scratch. It needs to be robust to secure your organization.
We recommend using a recognized template for starting the journey of policy and procedures. Browse through the templates available on the IT procedures template website.
We recommend referring to the ISACA (Information Systems Audit and Control Association). The website can provide further guidance on the policies and procedures department.
Why is it Important to Update IT Security Policies?
The security policies create a framework for the systematic and consistent fulfillment of security-related tasks. It’s based on your organization’s information security requirements.
Updating the IT security policies is crucial to the high-dynamic environment we live in. You must ensure that the Information Security Policy is updated regularly – at least on an annual basis.