The Fundamentals of Designing an Effective Cybersecurity Policy
Oct 10, 2023
Cybercrimes and threats are so evident that almost everyone knows of one such incident. A recent study suggests that cybercrime cost the world an estimated $6 trillion in 2022. This amount puts cybersecurity, technically, in the same conversation as the world’s biggest economies.
The world’s large companies spend a significant amount of time and resources trying to answer one question—How can policy changes protect you from security breaches and malicious actors? To answer this, we must first know what is included in cyber security policy. In essence, they are guidelines that lessen the impact of cyber crimes and increase cybersecurity within the organization. Let’s go into a little more detail.
What is cybersecurity policy?
Cybersecurity policy is a set of rules, guidelines, and general instruction that directs every day IT functions in your organization. They govern the IT and technological assets of your organization and specify behavioral and technical best practices that need to be followed by employees within the organization, thereby reducing the impact of cyber crimes.
Why do you need a cybersecurity policy?
A cybersecurity policy establishes the guidelines for data security activities such as encrypting emails, limiting access to critical systems, and maintaining data integrity. These policies are crucial since cyberattacks and data leaks can be extremely expensive.
According to Forbes, nearly 34% of global companies experience insider threats in a year. The global threat report (2022) by Ponemon Institute highlights the average cost of negligence by employees is estimated to be around $3.8 million a year.
Even if half of this amount goes to employee training, the costs pertaining to employee negligence can be avoided significantly. Employee training is at the center of cyber security policy, but other factors also showcase the necessity of cyber security policy. These are:
- Meeting regulatory compliance requirements of compliance frameworks that mandate organizations to have a security policy
- Creating an environment of transparency in case of cyber threats and placing measures to effectively mitigate impacts
- Reducing the risk of cyber threats and data breaches by preemptively anticipating risk and taking measures to reduce risk surface.
Also check: Consequences of Non-Compliance
How to create cybersecurity policies
Dealing with cybersecurity policy for the first time could be intimidating.
Here are the 5 steps to create your own cybersecurity policy
Step1: Define objectives and scope
Start by identifying your IT assets. Next, you need to define the objectives of your cybersecurity policy and the scope of coverage that includes all the identified assets available within your organization.
Step 2: Conduct a risk assessment
Conduct a thorough risk assessment to identify potential threats and vulnerabilities. This exercise will help you identify areas that require attention and assess the impact of potential threats allowing you to prioritize security measures and allocate resources accordingly.
Step 3: Establish security guidelines
Prepare clear and comprehensive policies for your employees, contractors, and stakeholders with respect to accessing and handling IT assets. These guidelines should cover matters such as password management, access controls, software updates, data encryption, and incident response protocols. Following a compliance standard like SOC 2, ISO 27001 or NIST can give you a frame of reference.
Step 4: Organize employee training
Human error can cost your organization dearly. Creating awareness among your employees about the cybersecurity policy and training them on best practices is vital. Ensure crucial documents such as password policy, acceptable use, remote access, etc. are kept accessible to all employees.
Step 5: Review and update cybersecurity policies
The digital world is continuously changing and facing new threats. And so, it’s vital that you ensure you address these threats and adapt to any regulatory changes in double time. In order to do this, it’s important to regularly update your cybersecurity policy.
The Sprinto Advantage: Sprinto helps you create cyber security policies in accordance with different compliance requirements with customizable policy templates. When you update the policies, your employees can access and acknowledge these policy changes from Sprinto. Talk to our security experts to know more about Sprinto can help you with cyber security policy management.
Examples of cyber-security policies
By now you should have a good idea about creating a cybersecurity policy. But what are some policies you need to create? The exact policies and processes differ based on the domain and needs of each organization; nonetheless, here are some examples of must-have policies that your cybersecurity space should consider.
- Acceptable Use Policy: This policy guides the employees regarding the usage of the organization’s devices to avoid any legal issues and protect the device from cyber-attacks.
- Password Requirements Policy: This policy guides your employee on how to create a strong password and the ideal frequency for changing it.
- Access Control Policy: This policy defines rules and guidelines such as how systems are accessed and how/when access is removed for network access controls, user access, and system software controls.
- Remote Access Policy: This policy outlines the procedures for employees when they are accessing the organization’s network and assets remotely. It creates awareness and protects your employees from cyber attacks such as phishing, spam, and malware.
- Data Management Policy: This guides employees while handling sensitive information such as personal information, financial data, customer data, and confidential business information.
- Breach Response Policy: This includes a step-by-step procedure for your employee to follow when cyber attacks such as data breaches or malware infections occur. It details a plan of action that helps employees prevent, detect, respond, and recover from a cyberattack.
- Disaster Recovery Policy: This includes the steps to be followed after responding to the breach to restore hardware, software, and data. This ensures business continuity.
Creating a cybersecurity policy is only the first step. You need to align your policies by keeping in mind the various complex compliance requirements. Then you have to update the policies regularly and ensure that employees acknowledge policies periodically. How to streamline this process?
Sprinto – a compliance automation platform, helps you create cyber security policies in accordance with different compliance standards like ISO 27001, GDPR, HIPAA, SOC 2, PCI DSS, etc. You can use Sprinto’s pre-built, easy-to-deploy customizable policy templates to effectively craft cyber security and privacy policies.
Moreover, your employees can access and acknowledge policy changes from Sprinto. You can send them periodic reminders to accept the policy, and you also get reminders for policy updates.
Book a demo and see Sprinto in action!
What are the steps to produce a cybersecurity policy?
You can create a cyber security policy in just 5-simple steps. These are defining scopes and objectives, running a risk assessment, establishing security guidelines, employee training, and updating the cybersecurity policy.
What would be a successful cybersecurity policy?
A successful cyber security policy will address the IT vulnerabilities of your organization and provide actionable steps to handle them. And it will also ensure regulatory compliance
Is it mandatory to have a cybersecurity policy?
Malicious actors know that the employees are the weakest link in an organization when considering cyber security practices. A cybersecurity policy can save you millions of dollars lost due to employee negligence. It is also recommended by, HIPAA, ISO 2700, NIST, etc. compliance.
Gowsika is an avid reader and storyteller who untangles the knotty world of compliance and cybersecurity with a dash of charming wit! While she’s not decoding cryptic compliance jargon, she’s oceanside, melody in ears, pondering life’s big (and small) questions. Your guide through cyber jungles, with a serene soul and a sharp pen!
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