Whether you’re a global corporation or a start-up, every business needs their IT security policy documented and updated.
Employees need to be updated for changes, especially now with so much work from home and remote offices at play.
IT policies and rules serve to engage employees and strengthen productivity, but they’re also essential to keeping your business running, securely.
These are nine key IT security policies we feel that every business should have.
Policy #1 - Employee Awareness & Training
Your people are the engine that help your company grow, right? Right.
It's no coincidence, then, that a well-trained staff is one of the most important parts to implementing any IT security strategy.
Awareness and training documents should educate employees on the importance of IT security policies in general, with leadership providing an outline of instruction for the procedures that ever staff member should follow.
With proper communication, this can help your staff understand where they can find updates for security policy that comes next at your company.
This will also help you keep employees accountable, because IT security is everyone's responsibility!
Note: Many organizations encourage their employees to sign off on a security record once they’ve completed their training. Plus, it helps keep track of gaps in training needs as well.
Policy #2 - Password Management
...No, adding a "1" after your password from college is not how your make a password stronger. Also, you should avoid adding an extra number to your chain of "12345678", or "password." 😀
Strong passwords are an absolute must if you hope to keep your organization’s sensitive data secure and protected.
Your business’s password policy should teach employees the importance of original passwords, how to create them and how often to change them.
Note: For ultimate password protection, we recommend utilizing 2FA. Check out our blog post on two-factor authentication (2FA) to learn a little bit more!
Policy #3 - Remote Access
Working from home is increasingly becoming the new norm, remote data security is now more critical than ever. There are many ways to keep company data secure, even when your staff needs to work away from the office.
As network data can be easily intercepted, a remote access policy (including clear rules and protocols for computer, network and VPNs) is crucial to protecting your clients, employees and company information.
Interested in learning more about Remote Access? Check out our high level explanation on VPN security, specifically for small business owners!
Policy #4 - Permitted Access
Do you know the leading cause for data breaches?
Human error. (It's true!)
To shrink that risk, all businesses should implement a permitted access policy.
Staff should only have access to information required to perform their job so this type of policy should outline, document and restrict employee access to specific systems and data.
Policy #5 - Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
We all carry a smartphone, which can carry a massive advantage:
Predictable costs, lower hardware spend, improved employee morale, are just a few reasons to adopt BYOD.
If you're considering BYOD for your company, a comprehensive policy will help minimize security risks, employee confusion, downtime and unnecessary costs.
Your policy should explain:
- How, where and when company data can and should be accessed
- Acceptable use of the device
- How the device will be monitored
- Potential risks
- Cost reimbursement options
Trust and transparency can go a long way for companies that use a BYOD policy. If you want to learn some more, see our previous post: BYOD: Is Your Business Ready to "Bring Your Own Devices”?
Policy #6 - Acceptable Use
Speaking of acceptable use, how, where and when your company equipment should be used applies to more than just an employee’s personal device.
We're not only talking about the types of websites that should be allowed on a device - think bigger.
Are there sensitive parts of your employee's job that may not be needed on the Internet?
Policies like these should indicate what is considered appropriate use of company hardware.
Any computers, email, internet (including social media), client and company data, etc., should be covered in this policy, as well as the consequences for misusing any of the above.
See our previous post: 5 Best Practices for Protecting Company Email
Policy #7 - Regular Backups
You've probably heard this one many, many times. Back up your stuff.
Malicious cyber criminals are just itching to access and exploit your company information, and small businesses are at the highest risk.
Ensure your data remains protected at all costs through regularly scheduled data backups.
Policy #8 - Regular Updates
Another effective (and affordable) way to keep cyber criminals at bay?
Regular software updates.
Whether you opt to have employees perform scheduled updates on their own or enlist the help of a reliable managed IT services provider, this is a necessary step for minimizing threats and improving workplace efficiency.
Policy #9 - Disaster Recovery
The unexpected can happen - 2020 was a perfect example. It's important to prepare for whatever could come your way.
Usually, disaster recovery is part of a larger business continuity plan. Your policy should explain the actions, tools and procedures expected during an unforeseen workplace disaster.
By clearly documenting these protocols, your business will have what it needs to stay up and running, no matter what may happen.
We go into greater details in our our previous post: 5 Reasons Your Business Needs a Disaster Recovery Plan
Looking for more useful technology help? Check out these articles:
- 8 Tips For Protecting Your Personal Data
- Common IT Mistakes Businesses Make (and how to fix them)
- Best Cybersecurity Practices for Protecting Your SMB