4 Keys to an Information Security Policy
Business owners know that protecting their companies’ assets is important. Information is one of those assets, and in today’s digital world, technology is integral to storing and sharing even the most sensitive corporate information. A comprehensive information security policy is critical to protecting your business, employees, and customers. Below are four of the most important considerations for drafting your information security policy.
1. Strike a Balance
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The goal of information security is to safeguard three key aspects of corporate information: confidentiality, integrity, and availability. Security systems and policies aim to restrict information access only to the people who need that information, ensure that data are kept intact and correct, and give end users reasonable access to the information they need.
Balancing these priorities promotes the effectiveness of an information security policy. A policy that puts too much focus on confidentiality at the expense of availability, for example, will cause problems for employees or other system users that may impact your business operations.
2. Establish Accountability
When designing an information security policy, be sure to include representatives from each area of your business. The legal department should stay fully informed about the laws and regulations about how information is stored and accessed. Technical departments need to understand the underlying security system’s design and be clear about the type of support staff must provide.
Team members in key security roles, such as information system and network administrators, and security officers, should share an understanding of one another’s responsibilities and take part in developing an escalation plan. When a security incident occurs, the right people need to receive the alerts.
3. Cover Your Bases
In order to protect against security vulnerabilities, you need to plan for a variety of potential risk factors, including the following:
- Hackers — These people may intend only to make nuisances of themselves or they may seek to steal valuable company or customer information. Hackers take advantage of security vulnerabilities to meet their nefarious goals.
- Viruses — A virus, trojan, or worm is a modified program file designed to infiltrate a company’s network and replicate itself, causing exponentially more damage.
- Internal threats — Without proper information security training, system users can pose a security threat by inadvertently leaving sensitive data open to exploitation.
- Natural disasters — If a flood, fire, earthquake, or other natural event causes a disruption in your network, your information will be vulnerable to theft or loss.
Make sure your information security policy includes provisions and processes for each of these possibilities and any others relevant to your business.
4. Educate and Communicate
The best information security policy in the world won’t help unless your system users or employees know what’s expected of them. Conduct frequent training sessions and audits to answer questions, address problems, and ensure thorough compliance.
No single information security policy is right for every business. Your security strategy should be as carefully planned and targeted as every other aspect of your business. By taking the time to build a customized policy now, you will save yourself a lot of worry as your business continues to grow.