An information security policy is a document that outlines the rules and procedures for protecting the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of an organization’s information assets. The policy should be tailored to the specific needs of the organization and should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis.
The key elements of an information security policy are:
- Identification of the organization’s information assets
- Identification of the organization’s information security risks
- Development and implementation of risk management procedures
- Development and implementation of security controls to mitigate the risks
- Identification and management of user access privileges
- Development and implementation of incident response procedures
- Maintenance of an information security awareness and training program
The essential characteristics of an effective information security policy are:
- clear and concise
- easy to understand
- tailored to the specific organization
- include specific security measures
- updated regularly
- communicated to all employees
The first step in creating an information security policy is to identify the organization’s information assets. An information asset is anything that has value to the organization and is susceptible to unauthorized access, use, disclosure, or destruction. Once the organization’s information assets have been identified, the next step is to develop policies and procedures to protect those assets.
The policies and procedures should be tailored to the specific needs of the organization, and should include the following:
- A statement of the organization’s commitment to information security
- The organization’s definition of information security
- Information security objectives
- The organization’s policies and procedures for information security
- The organization’s standards for information security
- Procedures for incident response
- Procedures for disaster recovery
- Procedures for business continuity
- Procedures for data retention and destruction
- Personnel security policies
- The organization’s physical security policies
- Communications security policies
- Computer security policies
- Software security policies
- Internet security policies
- Third-party security policies
Besides being a “must” for any organization, there are many benefits of having a detailed information security policy. Some of these benefits include:
- Increased security for your company’s data
- Reduced risk of data breaches
- Reduced risk of cyber-attacks
- Compliance with regulations
- Improved employee awareness and understanding of information security.
There is quite a number of “policies” that can be included in a Company’s Security Policy. Some of them are presented below.
Company Access Control Policy
The purpose of this policy is to ensure that only authorized individuals have access to company information and resources. Scope This policy applies to all employees of the company. Policy Employees must have a valid username and password to access company information and resources. Employees must keep their usernames and password confidential. Employees must not share their usernames or password with anyone else. Employees must log out of their accounts when they are finished using the computer. Violations of this policy will result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
Company Data Classification
Classification of company data is the process of organizing company data into categories. The purpose of classification is to make it easier to find and use the data. Company data can be classified by type of data, function, or by department. Type of Data The most common way to classify company data is by type of data. The most common types of data are:
Another way to classify company data is by function. The most common functions are:
Security Awareness Training
The purpose of this training is to provide employees with information about how to protect themselves and the company from cyber threats. Topics covered in this training include:
- The different types of cyber threats
- How to protect yourself from cyber threats
- How to protect the company from cyber threats
- What to do if you encounter a cyber threat
Security Risk Management
Information security risk management is the process of identifying, assessing, and managing information security risks to protect an organization’s information assets. Information security risks can include the loss or unauthorized access, use, disclosure, alteration, or destruction of data. Organizations must identify the risks that could affect their information assets, and then put in place risk management processes and controls to mitigate those risks. Risk management processes and controls can include security awareness and training, security policies and procedures, risk assessment and analysis, security controls, and incident response plans.
Incident Response Policy
The Incident Response Policy is a document that outlines the steps that should be taken when an incident occurs. The policy should be tailored to the specific organization and should include the following:
- Definition of an incident
- Incident response team
- Incident notification procedures
- Incident handling procedures
- Incident reporting procedures
- Incident recovery procedures
- Incident closure procedures
Vendor Management Policy
The purpose of this policy is to provide a framework for the management of third-party vendors who provide goods or services to the company. Scope This policy applies to all third-party vendors who provide goods or services to the company. Policy The company will establish a process for the management of third-party vendors.
This process will include the following:
- Vendor registration. All third-party vendors must register with the company before providing goods or services.
- Vendor assessment. The company will assess the suitability of each vendor before authorizing them to provide goods or services. This assessment will include a review of the vendor’s financial stability, business practices, and compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
- Vendor management. The company will establish a process for managing third-party vendors, which will include regular reviews of their performance and compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
- Termination of vendor relationships. The company reserves the right to terminate relationships with any third-party vendor, at any time, for any reason.
Other policies typical of Information Security Policy include, but are not limited by the following:
Password Creation and Management Policy
Network Security Policy
Access Authorization, Modification, and Identity Access Management
Data Retention Policy
Encryption and Decryption Policy
SPAM Protection Policies
HR Policy Set
System Maintenance Policy
Vulnerability Management Policy