Drafting an Appropriate Cybersecurity Policy
By CHLOE BENNET
Cyber threats, cyberattacks, and hacks are getting more and more common so companies are forced to invest in cybersecurity systems. Even though your business may have an excellent cybersecurity plan, you’re still at risk of being attacked; it’s simply the reality of today’s world. That’s why you need to be prepared with a well-developed cybersecurity policy.
Understanding your company’s needs
Before you start developing your security policy, you need to understand where your company’s at in terms of cybersecurity. Many times, companies use third party, off-the-shelf products, even though that may not be the way to go. The policy needs to be developed in tandem by your IT team and management. They need to understand every detail of the policy and be on the same page. If you discuss your policy as a team, it will increase your common understanding of the types of information you’re handling, what needs to be secured and at which level of security, as well as how you’re collecting and storing information. If you use a security policy developed by all, it increases the chances that it will be accepted not only by your whole company but also by external auditors.
A good cybersecurity policy has to include the systems already in place that your business is using to protect your critical information. For this part of the policy, you need to work with your IT department to know your capabilities. Outline which programs are used for security and how they will be updated to prevent vulnerabilities. Explain to the users how you’ll be backing up data. Your policy also needs to outline which online services you use and how they fit in. This helps everyone see that you’re planning for every potential scenario.
Your policy needs to have accountability measures in a contingency plan for cyberattacks. You need to outline the right people on the team who will fix the problem, and who will communicate with your clients. This has to include backups for each position in case the lead person responsible is away. Furthermore, your clients need to know whom to contact for help after an attack. Finally, the management team should plan for regular reviews of the risk and mitigation measures and the policy as a whole.
Once you’ve determined what the infrastructure in place is and who’s accountable for what aspects of the policy, it’s time to include the actual policy provisions. Make sure this section is written in a clear and concise way to leave no room for misinterpretation, and don’t forget to edit and proofread the policy before publishing and disseminating. Consult online tools to help you with this very important step of the process.
- Confidential data
Employees are obliged to protect confidential data. Outline the definition of confidential and secret data, so they know what type of data the policy refers to.
Employees are asked to keep personal and company devices secure so they don’t introduce any security risks to the data. Also, tell them to add password protection to all devices, install anti-virus software, keep their devices on their person at all times, install updates as soon as they’re available, and avoiding lending their devices to others.
Send instructions to your employees to avoid opening attachments or links when the content isn’t clearly explained, especially if they don’t know the sender. They should immediately be suspicious of clickbait titles, any spelling mistakes, and prize offers. Explain what they should do if they receive an email they’re unsure about.
Make sure your employees know how to pick secure passwords, and how to store them in a safe way. Evidently, passwords should never be shared, and should also be changed regularly.
- Transferring data
Have a section of your policy elaborate rules for data transfer as this is a risk security risk. Employees should not transfer sensitive information unless necessary, and then it should be done over a secure network. Confidential data must never be shared over public networks. Finally, make sure the recipient has the right clearance and authorization to view that information.
- Remote work
Your policy should have clear guidance for remote employees and how they can access their business accounts remotely. They must also follow procedures to encrypt data and only work from a private network.
It’s a mistake to think that when your policy is done the work ends there. Educate your employees on the policy, conduct training on what to do in the event of a breach, and have a scheduled annual review of the contents.