- 6th March 2022
- Posted by: Mark Dodds
- Category: Business, Security
When it comes to IT security policies, you may think it’s not a necessity or would be too much hassle to apply one on your own. However, having one in place can help to protect your assets. Here’s some more information about what a security policy is and why it’s important for your workplace.
What is a security policy?
A security policy is a written document that describes how a company plans to protect its assets. This includes IT assets as well as physical assets. The policy should be frequently amended and updated to reflect any changes in business security requirements, technological updates and increased vulnerabilities.
Security policies are also specific to the company, and therefore tailored to their needs. Some, for example, will include an acceptable use policy, which explains the ways in which different security measures will be implemented and enforced. The acceptable use policy also helps to test out how effective the policy is, to ensure it gets appropriately updated. It is used to outline ways that team members will be kept informed about how to protect the company’s assets too.
Why do you need a security policy?
Security policies are put in place to help protect a business’ assets, both physical and digital. They identify such assets and any threats to them. In turn, they also help to ensure legal compliance with security requirements. So, if you don’t have such a policy in place, you run the risk of not staying up to date with legislative changes.
Physical security policies are used to protect physical assets, like buildings, cars, and IT equipment, while data security policies protect intellectual property (IP) from data leaks. Whether your company needs both types of security policies depends on the type of business you work for.
Even if your business doesn’t have any IP to protect (although this would be quite unusual), it’s still important to have a physical security policy in place. Without a security policy, you leave your assets at risk.
For example, IT equipment will contain sensitive data, such as business files and contact details. So, if such equipment is compromised, this data is then exposed. So, by not having a security policy in place, you risk the information getting into the wrong hands and not being prepared if this happens.
Equally, a comprehensive security policy helps to protect your company’s reputation just as much as its physical assets. For example, security policies reduce the chances of a data breach, which could negatively impact the business’ reputation.
Given the cost of IT equipment and other company assets, maximising and maintaining IT security should always be of paramount concern to a business. So, it’s worth having a security policy in place, whether your business is an SME an educational organisation or a large enterprise.
What should a security policy include?
Security policies should include: the purpose of the policy, the audience to whom it applies, the policy’s objectives, an access control policy, data classification, data support, security awareness and rights and responsibilities.
- Purpose – What is the specific purpose of the policy?
- Audience – Who does this policy apply to? Are staff in other business units in the organisation out of the scope?
- Access control policy – Defines the level of authority for those with access. How should access be gained, such as via passwords or biometrics?
- Data classification – Which data is confidential and which is public?
- Data support – Covers data protection, best practices, how data is backed up and transferred: under what conditions can data be moved?
- Security awareness – Which sites are banned? Is there a clean desk policy? Conduct training sessions to ensure awareness is maintained.
- Rights and responsibilities – Which staff will carry out things like training, implementation and incident management?
Security policies incorporate certain non-negotiable parts, but otherwise consist of collaborative agreements. This means every security policy is, to some extent, unique and tailored towards the needs of the individual business.
To discover more ways that we can help your business become as secure as it should be, get in touch with Compex IT today.