In order to ensure safe and secure computing, storage and processing of data, organizations require a well-designed IT security policy. Several IT risks such as unauthorized access, data loss, credential abuse, data breach attempts, alteration of an organization’s information assets can be addressed through a good IT security policy.
By having a well-defined IT security policy in place, organizations can ensure that every employee follows the security framework. A comprehensive and stringent IT security policy should cover a wide range of topics, including the structure of workstations and how (and when) the employees should log in. It establishes safe IT practices.
On the other hand, an organization’s information assets, including any intellectual property, are vulnerable to compromise if information security mechanisms are not in place. There could be various reasons behind the lack of an IT security policy, including lack of resources to assist with policy development, poor management adoption, or lack of knowledge about the necessity of an efficient IT security program in place.
Why is it required?
When designing business information security rules, it’s critical to remember the principles of confidentiality, integrity, and availability. The major purpose of an IT security policy is to create the discipline of reliable IT security practices. IT security policies are intended to address security risks, execute measures to mitigate IT security vulnerabilities and specify how to recover from any cyber disaster.
As a result of the policies, employees are also advised on what they should and shouldn’t do. Having comprehensive security measures has several advantages for the organization. Policies can aid in the improvement of a company’s overall security posture. There are minimal access security cases involving the organization, and employees may turn to the policies to handle them.
Creating a robust IT security policy also helps to prepare audit reports, that ensures compliance with regulatory standards. Additionally, it enhances user and stakeholder accountability inside an organization, important to maintain checks and balances.
How does IT Security Policy help?
A standard and detailed IT security policy is a part of an organization’s entire governance program. It provides security technologies and processes the legitimacy and clear accountability, ownership, and transparency for auditing reasons.
For the following reasons, an information security policy is required:
- Data integrity: A well-defined policy allows organizations for a systematic approach to detect and reduce risks to data confidentiality, integrity, availability, and proper response measures in an incident.
- Reduction of IT Risk: An information security policy outlines how a company detects, analyses, and mitigates IT vulnerabilities to prevent security risks & the procedures for recovering from a system outage or data breach.
- Implement and monitor security policies across every department: A unified information security policy avoids departmental decisions that aren’t aligned to the business objectives, and those departments that don’t have any policies at all. It outlines how the company determines which technologies or processes aren’t performing useful security functions.
- Third parties and external auditors should be aware of the policy: A standard IT security policy helps organizations to explain the procedures to external auditors, contractors, third parties, business partners and of course employees and internal stakeholders.
- To aid regulatory compliance: An organization must have a well-developed and well-defined security policy to comply with the global regulations and standards such as GDPR, HIPAA, PCI DSS, ISO 27001, SOX etc. Auditors frequently seek records of end-user activities, and the information security policy can assist to demonstrate who has performed which task and for what reason:
- Examine the effectiveness of the policy in the current IT security context
- Perform a risk assessment to identify and mitigate IT security loopholes
- Examine the efficacy of the systems involved with overall access management
IT security policies play a vital role in any company’s success. The objective of security policies is not to fill up the gaps, but to ensure that no gaps are created. If security policies are not constantly updated, they might not be able to withstand the emerging threats. IT Security policies should be reviewed and revised annually and revised as and when required.