IT security policies are necessary in organizations as they define who has responsibility of what information within the company. Policies are the baseline of all procedures and should be maintained regularly.
Why Do Organizations Need Security Policies?
IT security policies outline rules for user and IT personnel behavior. These policies also identify consequences for not adhering to them. Policies are also crucial in ensuring compliance with regulations such as NIST and HIPAA. Policies should define risks within the organization and provide guidelines on how to reduce these risks. They should be modified to fit the company’s need.
Writing an Effective IT Security Policy
- Conduct a Security Risk Assessment to identify all your critical assets, vulnerabilities, and controls in your company. Use this assessment to determine ways to reduce or eliminate these risks.
- Determine the scope of the policy including who the policy will address and what assets will be covered.
- Ensure your policy is written to be easily understood by employees and enforced by management. Employees need to be explicitly aware of the consequences of not complying with the policy. These policies will help with the development of procedures, so it is important to write the policies clearly.
- Update your policies at least once a year to keep them up to date with your company’s procedures and security concerns.
Common IT Security Policies:
- Access Authorization
- Acceptable Use
- Breach Notification
- Change Management
- Data Backup Plan
- Employee Screening
- Employee Training
- Encryption and Decryption
- Media Security
- Network Security
- Password Management
- Secure Development
- Security Incident Response
- Vendor Management
- Vulnerability Management
The need for certain IT security policies is dependent on the company data itself. For example, if a company handles customer health data, they should consider implementing a HIPAA Acceptable Use Policy.