Why Are Security Policies Important?
Your business can’t function without formal cybersecurity policies. Cybercrime was once a nuisance, and as criminals grow more sophisticated in their tactics, formal cybersecurity policies are mandatory for all modern organizations. Even small businesses with few federal and industry regulations to follow are still expected to meet minimum standards.
Every organization needs a cybersecurity policy, but like any company policy, information security practices and procedures are only effective if the entire organization buys in. Employees in every corner of a business, especially the c-suite, have to be tuned in to cybercrime’s seriousness and the way businesses communicate their dedication to preventing it.
Cybersecurity policies are living documents. They should be simple and easy to read because they are not meant solely for IT professionals. Technical information should be balanced with plain talk about the hows and whys of certain policies, especially if they restrict employees’ use of technology.
Organizations that are armed with a modern, adaptable cybersecurity policy that is regularly reviewed and updated have a distinct advantage over those that do not.
The Elements of a Successful Cybersecurity Policy
Understand Your Needs: Cybersecurity isn’t about buying the most expensive technology; it’s about knowing your needs and finding the solutions that fill in the gaps. This means testing your organization to find weaknesses, so you fully understand your security potential. This requires IT professionals and management so that all aspects of the company are represented. While policies should be based on industry standards and best practices, a true cybersecurity policy takes into account your business’s unique nature and that of your industry.
Include Your People: This is the most important factor in your cybersecurity policy. If technology is the shield, then your employees are the shield-bearers. Your policies should clearly define procedures and accountability, so there is no question about who is responsible for what during a data breach. The people element also needs to include cybersecurity awareness training, who needs to complete it, how often employees will be assessed, how the company approaches the use of personal devices, what happens when an employee joins or leaves the company, and other information.
Detail Your Technology: Your policy defines how you meet cybersecurity threats, and an important part of your security measures is what this technology infrastructure is. It should specify the programs you use, who is responsible for updating them, and how often this needs to be done. From disaster recovery to automatic updates, your technology is your main mode of incident response and your policy must explain how it works.
Remember to Stay Compliant: Cybersecurity policies should always keep industry compliance laws and regulations in mind. Industry regulations represent the bare minimum of security your business needs as they tend to be reactionary to current threats and tactics cybercriminals use.
How Often Should Cybersecurity Policies Be Reviewed?
Technology and cybercriminal tactics are always changing, so ideally, your cybersecurity policy should be reviewed once a year by c-level employees and your IT team.
However, a yearly review should only be a baseline. There are some events and major changes that impact an organization’s risk, which makes a cybersecurity policy review absolutely necessary:
- Unexpected growth
- Mergers and acquisitions
- New products or lines of business
- Downsizing or selling off business units
- Changes to industry standards
- Data breaches or data loss
- Expansion into new markets or different countries
- System upgrades or new installations
SBT Partners Makes Sure You Always Have Updated Security Policies and Procedures
Not all businesses are the same. This means that each organization should customize how they approach cybersecurity policies and how often they are reviewed and updated.
While your internal IT team can do these audits, it is better to have your technology partner perform and document reviews.
SBT Partners handles everything you need to assess, document, and improve your security program in-house.
Vulnerability testing – We test your systems with real cyber attacks to find weaknesses and learn from them.
Phishing awareness testing – Phishing is a key cybercriminal tactic, and the best way to address this potential weakness is through continuous education and assessments.
Updated software and hardware – We make sure you’re working with modern IT that fills in the gaps without exposing new ones.
We deliver this level of expertise for every SBT Partnership. If it’s been a while since your last cybersecurity policy assessment or if you have been coasting without a formal policy, reach out to us today.