Tekscape’s Guide to Writing a Cybersecurity Policy
The need for businesses to have a thorough cybersecurity policy in place to protect their assets and data has become increasingly important. When a business falls victim to a cyber-attack, its financial information, classified documents, employee data, and customer information may be stolen or even held for ransom. IBM has claimed that human error accounts for 95% of security incidents. Having a thorough companywide security policy in place that clearly outlines security policies should be a top priority for those who are in upper management. Tekscape is a nationally recognized managed service provider of information technology. Managed security is one of our most important services. We have seen many instances of data theft and attacks because there is no strict cybersecurity policy in place for employees. Here is Tekscape’s guide to writing a cybersecurity policy.
Why is having a cybersecurity policy important?
Having a solid cybersecurity policy in place will ensure that your organization is following a uniform set of guidelines and rules to maintain its cybersecurity posture. Having the policy in place will also ensure that there is an appropriate response in the event of a data breach. It is also important because it helps new employees that are unfamiliar with cybersecurity to learn best practices. It can also keep established employees up to date on the problems associated with poor cybersecurity practices.
What is a cybersecurity policy?
A cybersecurity policy is standardized practices and policies that are designed to protect a business from data breaches and threat activity. The first part of a cybersecurity policy is usually focused on the company’s general security responsibilities, roles, and expectations. The second part may include several sections that contain areas of cybersecurity, guidelines, and the use of security software. A thorough security policy will be dozens of pages and may be larger for regulated industries. A security policy for a smaller business may be shorter but should still cover security practices for the most sensitive and regulated data.
What should a cybersecurity policy include?
When creating your company’s cybersecurity policy, be sure to include the following things.
• Companywide password requirements
• Email security measures
• How to handle sensitive data
• Rules on the handling of technology
• Standards for social media and internet usage
• An action plan of how to respond to a cybersecurity incident
How to write your cybersecurity policy so that your company stays compliant
Certain industries are more regulated than others and because of this, you will need to understand the regulations the government has implemented for your specific industry. A good example is if your organization lies within the healthcare industry. If you work in healthcare, your cybersecurity policy must include the standards for HIPAA compliance. Another example is if your business processes credit card information. If that is the case, then you will have to include the policies for PCI Security Standards. Knowing these standards ahead of time will help you develop your cybersecurity policy in the most thorough way possible.
The creation of the cybersecurity policy
When starting the process of writing your cybersecurity policy, you’ll want to outline the policy provisions first. These are often the most important parts of the policy. Here are some examples of the policy provisions that should be added.
The use of devices in the workplace – There should be a clear definition of private and company devices. An outline of how employees can use their personal devices in the workplace to avoid security risks should be a top priority.
Confidential data – Include the definition of confidential data and thoroughly describe how and why your employees need to protect this data.
Password policies – In this policy, you can inform employees on the creation of secure passwords and how to implement multi-factor authentication.
Email protection – This provision will teach your employees how to recognize messages that contain malware and what their reaction should be if they receive these emails.
Data transfers – This describes the types of data that your employees can and cannot exchange with third parties and within the company.
Data breach management – This policy usually includes a detailed outline of steps that every employee must follow in the case of a data breach.
Maintaining and overseeing the cybersecurity policy
When deciding on who will oversee and maintain the cybersecurity policy, the answer usually comes down to two factors, who can communicate the information to the employees most effectively and who understands the threats the most clearly. An obvious choice might be the internal information technology department, but this department is often distracted by other issues. An effective way to communicate is to have one person from IT and one person from your human resources department create and convey the policy. This gives you a person who knows the policies and a person who is an effective communicator.
What should I do if an employee violates the cybersecurity policy?
It is often said that if there are consequences to mistakes in business, there will be no follow through, and mistakes will occur again. When employees make mistakes regarding the cybersecurity policy, there is often only discipline if something extremely bad happens. Managers should avoid this by implementing consequences for smaller mistakes such as skipping a password change or the use of an unauthorized data storage device. Correcting these small offenses can discourage bigger mistakes which will keep things secure and show that abiding by your company’s security policy is an extremely important part of the job.
Work with Tekscape
We hope you enjoyed Tekscape’s guide to writing a cybersecurity policy. With our managed security services, you can rest easy knowing your workforce is safe no matter where they work. No matter where your team is working, they are protected 24/7. Our team of experts provides transparency on every potential breach within your company. Know when something happens the moment it happens.
We can also help you get closer to meeting compliance standards with proactive security testing and assessments. Tekscape helps organizations build a roadmap to a more secure future. Learn what needs to be in place so that your company can meet compliance standards. Contact us today for a complete assessment.