The Importance of Security PoliciesA security policy protects a company from data breaches and also creates a roadmap in the case of a breach to ensure minimal damage. The average data breach costs $3 million, enough to shut down 83% of small to medium-sized businesses after one security incident (Insurance Bee). You can’t overestimate the importance of an information security policy.
Your IT Security Policy Template for Small BusinessMany elements make up a successful information security policy, and it can be challenging to keep them all straight. If you want your policy to resist cyberattacks, follow these steps.
1. Set Clear ObjectivesThe first step is to think about your goals. Possible goals could include the following:
- Securing the business environment
- Securing customer data
- Protecting client data
- Maintaining regulation and compliance
- And more.
2. Analyze Your EnvironmentAnalyze your current environment and identify any gaps or vulnerabilities. If you need assistance analyzing your IT infrastructure, a professional security risk assessment can expedite the process and identify security issues you might have missed. After identifying the gaps create a plan to address them and remediate those areas of weaknesses.
3. PermissionsInformation security is all about access. Good information security policy examples include both a permission hierarchy and a security policy:
- A Permission Hierarchy: Permissions based on employee need and level within the company with a senior manager in charge of adjusting user permissions.
- A Network Security Policy: To strengthen your network security, require employees to enter credentials—including passwords, ID cards, biometrics, etc.—to access data.
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4. Use Safe Login PracticesBasic passwords make it easy for hackers to access your sensitive information. Using strong passwords is a simple yet effective way to prevent a security breach. The following would be a part of a strong sample information security policy:
- Use of strong passwords
- Changing passwords regularly
- Multifactor identification
- Digital signatures
5. Implement Data ClassificationsCreate classifications and organize your assets based on informational value and importance. Most information security policies include three levels of classification:
- Top Secret
- Public Information
6. Utilize Security SoftwareSecurity software is the first line of defense against a cyberattack. Utilize security software to protect multiple points in your system:
- Data Encryption
- Anti-Malware Protection
7. Create an Action Plan to Track Control MeasuresOnce all the pieces are in order, it’s time to put them together. Consider your assets and create a plan to implement your security measures. Be as detailed as possible and include a timeline for each step. Your action plan will help you stay organized during the implementation process. You should also include trackable metrics in your action plan. The following metrics offer a good starting point:
- Intrusion Attempts: How many times has someone attempted to access your systems?
- Mean Time to Detect (MTTD): How long did it take you to identify an intrusion?
- Mean Time to Contain (MTTC): How long did it take to contain the files accessed?
- Mean Time to Resolve (MTTR): How long does it take to respond to a threat once detected?
8. Continuously Update Your Information Security PolicyInformation security policies aren’t static documents. They’re meant to change and evolve. By keeping up with your security metrics, you’ll know where your plan is strongest and where it could use some work. Update your security policy regularly to make sure it can keep up with ever-evolving security threats.
Get Your Workforce InvolvedEven the most perfect information security policy will fail without your employees’ support. Train your employees about proper cyber security best practices to raise their security awareness and eliminate vulnerabilities through emails, password-sharing, and any other threats brought on by human error. Include the following in your employee training:
- Password management
- Document shredding
- Mobile device and laptop security
- Online threats such as social media