Organizations use digital technologies to store, process, and maintain their assets, comprising confidential data, records, and physical systems. These digital assets can be easily targeted by cyber attackers if left unprotected. Therefore, every organization that has digital data also has a well-founded IT security system that protects IT assets from internal and external threats.
These security systems are backed by a policy that includes planning and rules related to protecting and maintaining IT infrastructure and data. This policy exists in the form of a written document, which is different for every company. A system may not be as effective as it should be if there is no well-defined policy.
IT security policy is a very extensive concept. Read till the end to learn further about this security policy. Also, the article compiles information about some top considerations that will help you create an exclusive IT security policy.
What Is Information Technology Security Policy?
IT security policy is a collection of objectives, rules, and procedures developed to enhance the effectiveness and reliability of IT systems. The policy also includes strategies favorable for the reinforcement of data protection.
Every organization has a unique security policy, specially created per business requirements. One company’s policy may not be able to benefit any other company as effectively.
Why We Need IT Security Policy
The purpose of laying out an IT security policy is to achieve some information security objectives. So, when you make a policy, make sure it will meet the following goals:
The policy supports data privacy. It should outline safety measures and remedies to control cyber risk. Hence, when the policy is enforced, no malicious actor should be able to invade an IT system.
A solid security policy does not miss out on another critical aspect, authorized data modification. It specifies procedures that can keep up with the data integrity.
All-time data availability is essential for smooth business operations. Therefore, a policy identifies rules and tools required to ensure data accessibility. While this policy is in effect, the organization should have no issues retrieving data.
Importance of IT Security Policy
This policy is not just a formal document. Instead, it guides us on how to use IT security to the best of our advantage. A company needs an IT security policy at different steps to seek a direction to deal with potential and current security issues. Therefore, no one can deny the importance of IT security policy.
Let’s see how IT security policies help a company improve and protect an IT environment and why they are significantly valuable.
Eliminate Data Threats
Data protection is one of the fundamental points of an IT security policy. It includes security procedures that ensure utmost data security and the prevention of cyber threats. An organization strictly following its security policy is less likely to incur a loss of data. This aspect also encompasses protection against unauthorized access and manipulation.
It also recommends security programs useful for detecting vulnerabilities in an IT system and remediating those security gaps. Thus, a security policy is necessary before and after a cyber attack.
Protect Physical and Digital IT Assets
When it comes to protecting IT assets, the security policy extends its services to the physical components and software programs an organization uses. The policy suggests security measures and tools to keep the hardware, IT equipment, inventory, vehicles, and other physical assets safe from failures and disruption.
Also, it enables a company to secure digitally accessible content, such as applications, confidential information, customer data, files, etc.
Keep Business Operations Uninterrupted
Business operations should never stop due to network or system failures and cyber attacks. This is where an IT security policy comes in.
It contains strategic plans and solutions aimed at keeping a company prepared and well-equipped for potential IT issues. So, when an issue arises, the company addresses it and sorts it out immediately, saving time and money.
Maintain End-user Behavior
Establishing access boundaries is critical to ensure a secure IT environment. Thus, IT security policy incorporates security rules according to which well-defined access limits are explained to all the users and employees. The policy clearly describes practices they need to avoid when working on IT systems. Hence, a company can save its IT assets by controlling the actions of its users and employees.
Types of IT Security Policy
Based on the subject of focus, IT security policy can be of three types.
Company-specific Security Policy
In this type of policy, the main priority is to focus on compliance and security requirements of the company. Such a policy defines strategies to protect a company’s confidential data and fulfill its IT goals.
System-specific Security Policy
This type of policy emphasizes network security policy and the protection of all the components, devices, computers, and cloud environments included in a system. It also sheds light on data protection regulations and access control policies.
Issue-specific Security Policy
This security policy is more about educating and instructing employees regarding the use of security controls. It guides how they can mitigate the risks of data breaches. Risk management policy and disaster recovery plans are key elements of this type of security policy.
Key Points to Consider to Write an IT Security Policy
An IT security policy serves the purpose more effectively when it covers all the security concerns along with their solutions. It can be daunting to create such a policy without any clue. So, the best approach is to keep the following pointers in mind and write a suitable security policy accordingly.
Organization’s Security Requirements
The extent and way of using an IT system vary from company to company. Some companies prefer cloud computing, some feature remote working, and some depend heavily on physical IT assets. Due to varying IT usage, every business has different security threats.
When writing a policy, consider the security risks your business will likely incur due to IT systems. Indicate in the policy the potential security gaps so that the company staff can stay alert. Also, include IT solutions to address the currently found vulnerabilities.
Make sure this policy does not play a negative role in any way in the achievement of business goals.
Not all of the organization’s data is sensitive; some is trivial. The security policy should focus more on sensitive data. For that, you will need to classify data based on its importance and protection requirements.
Security Incident Response Plan
Security attacks may occur at any time. If these attacks target business operations, they can cause a huge loss to the company. So, there must be an incident management plan to address such unexpected issues as soon as possible.
Make sure the policy you create contains an immediate response action plan to tackle cybersecurity attacks and hardware-related problems quickly. This consideration is also important to maintain business continuity.
The employees of the concerned department should have enough knowledge about security incidents and how to minimize their adverse effects. So, an IT security policy should not be limited to data defense solutions. Additionally, it should highlight the need for spreading awareness among employees regarding protection, detection, and prevention practices.
Include security awareness training programs in the policy, so the employees can avoid making uninformed decisions and putting data at risk unknowingly. Also, these programs will educate them on how to respond to security attacks and what preventive measures can keep IT assets unaffected.
A security policy must elucidate access controls. Mention a group of authorized users in the policy who can have conditional and unconditional authority to access the company’s assets. Also, enunciate their access limits so they know what data they are allowed to access in what capacity. This practice reduces the chances of insider threats to some extent. Also, state the penalties the employees will have to incur on account of policy violation.
As a business grows, its security requirements also change with time. Thus, it becomes necessary to make corresponding changes in the security policy as the older strategies and rules may no longer comply with new requirements.
No policy should be followed for a predefined period. Instead, update it when needed. This step calls for the responsibility of employees to identify the need for policy amendments at the right time.
It is best to secure IT security objectives, principles, plans, and procedures in black and white. By creating a policy, you can ensure that no IT security aspect is neglected. This security policy must follow the CIA triad and other security, legal and regulatory requirements of the organization.
Include all the practices, measures, and solutions needed to secure the organization’s physical and digital assets. Also, do not forget to review the policy from time to time and consider changing the outdated features according to the latest requirements.