How to Create a Security Policy with Examples
Oct 29, 2023
Did you know that 2 out of every 3 insider threat attacks occur due to employee negligence? Annually, this negligence can cost you $3.8 million, this can be a make or break number for your business, especially given the current macroeconomic headwinds that indicate a slowdown. That’s why you need to care about having a strong security policy in place to mitigate such threats.
Implementing strong security policies is the best way to reduce security incidents, such as data breaches, phishing, malware attacks and unauthorized access that can have serious ramifications for your bottom line and reputation.
But what are security policies and how do you go about creating one for your business? In this blog, we tell you all about the different types of policies you must implement and some security policy examples to help you create one for your business.
What is security policy?
Security policy (or IT security policy) is a documented set of guidelines and instructions that protect the IT assets of your organization from malicious actors.
Security policies are the first line of defense for your organization. They create an environment of awareness; by educating your employees on IT security threats, transparency; promptly reporting any IT security attacks, and responsibility; by keeping people accountable for their actions.
Not only that, but security policy also comes in handy when you’re aiming to get compliance certified by regulatory bodies such as ISO 27001, SOC 2, PCI DSS, and HIPAA.
Now let’s look at some specific examples of security policy for more clarity.
Security policies help organizations to effectively protect data and intellectual property. The policies in place allow you to identify any third-party vulnerabilities due to different security standards implemented by vendors. You can address both internal and external security gaps and help your organization to be prepared in the long run. Here are the top reasons your company needs to have security policies in place.
A comprehensive security policy can help you:
1. Identify the IT assets of your organization and the vulnerabilities linked to them.
3. Identify risks and suggest security practices that reduce the chances of security threats.
4. Provide clarity on expected behavior while handling IT assets.
5. Ensure employee training and increase preparedness for and costs of security incidents such as phishing, unauthorized access, malware attacks, etc.
Examples of 6-must-have security policies
Before we get started with security policy examples you have to keep in mind that policy differs for every organization depending upon their IT assets and risk appetite. However, some policies overlap with all organizations irrespective of their IT security requirements.
Here’s a list of 6 must-have security policies for every organization.
Acceptable Usage Policy
The purpose of this policy is to highlight the acceptable usage of the company’s devices since inappropriate usage leads to cyber threats like virus attacks, phishing, ransomware, data breach, and legal issues. acceptable usage policy protects your employees and organization from such cyber attacks.
The scope of acceptable usage security policy covers computers, network systems, and other IT resources that are used to run the business of your organization. This policy applies to all your employees, stakeholders, and consultants.
The acceptable usage policy also highlights behavior that is inappropriate while handling IT assets.
Password Protection and Construction Policy
This policy mandates employees and other members of your organization to use strong passwords wherever there is a need. Password protection policy prevents unauthorized access to the accounts of your organization such as social media sites, website logins, system logins, etc.
Password construction security policy guides your employees on how to create strong passwords by giving clear instructions like:
- At least one uppercase letter.
- At least one lowercase letter.
- Use of numbers
- At least one special character
- And a minimum word limit of 8 letters.
The scope of this policy includes systems owned or leased by your organization that require password protection, along with everyone with an account or systems that require passwords.
Remote Access Policy
This security policy lays down rules and requirements for connecting to your organization’s network from any host.
A remote access policy is implemented to lower the risk of unauthorized access and extend the responsibility of your employee while accessing the company’s network system outside the work premise.
The scope of the remote access security policy covers all employees, contractors, and vendors who access the network system of the company. The policy covers tasks as small as reading or sending emails to make a sales deal, remotely.
Server Malware Protection Policy
A server malware protection policy is a step towards protecting the integrity and confidentiality of your customer’s data. This policy highlights server and network systems requirements such as anti-virus and anti-malware applications, to protect against viruses and spyware applications.
The scope of server malware protection security policy covers all company-operated servers and systems.
Data Breach Response Policy
The purpose of this policy is to create a response strategy/ to-dos for employees in case of a data breach.
The data breach response policy clearly defines what is a data breach, to whom it applies, and points out the expected behavior of your employees in case of a breach, such as filing a formal breach report, informing the security team, and carrying out remediation (if applicable).
The scope of the data breach response policy covers all personnel who collect, store, access, control, maintain, distribute, use, transmit, dispose of, or otherwise handle personally identifiable information or protected health information within your organization.
End-Point Security Policy
The end-point security policy otherwise known as bring your own device (BYOD) policy helps employees effectively use their electronic devices (mobile phones, laptops, cameras etc ) in a workplace environment whether for office or personal use.
The scope of end-point policy covers all employees, contractors, and partners who bring internet-enabled devices to the workplace. This policy covers devices that access a company’s network and devices that use public networks to access a company’s data.
We hope that these versatile and universal security policy examples help you get a head start in creating your own security policies and get started on your security journey.
The Sprinto Advantage: Sprinto helps you create and implement different types of security policies with built-in customizable policy templates for different compliance frameworks.
In the next section, we discuss how you can create a security policy yourself and customize these for your needs.
7-Steps for Creating your Security Policy
Security policies are never one-size-fits-all. Since each organization has its own risk appetite and unique security requirements, It becomes necessary that you understand how to create a policy that fits your security requirements.
Here are the 7- steps to help you create your next security policy:
- Identify the need for having a particular policy. Does it align with your security objectives and goals? Who does it affect? What would happen in the absence of this policy?
- Get approval from the management and stakeholders to develop a security policy.
- Perform a risk analysis to identify vulnerabilities in your IT environment. And then prioritize risks based on their potential consequences.
- Create a comprehensive first draft security policy and get feedback from legal, IT, HR, and other stakeholders. Once the feedback is in, make necessary changes and finalize the policy.
- Train your employees, and ensure that they understand the scope, purpose, and consequences related to the policy.
- Publish the security policy and inform stakeholders, customers, contractors, and everyone who has access to the resources of your organization. Work with your web team to publish public policies on your website.
- Regularly review and update your policy to meet evolving security requirements, also monitor the efficiency and compliance of the security policy by performing timely vulnerability and penetration testing. Ensure compliance through internal audits and maintain a good security posture.
Great! You have now learned how to create a security policy on your own.
Get a platform that comes with strong policy support
Security policies are the cornerstone of any organization’s security and compliance framework. To strengthen your security posture and to prove compliance, you need to have the right security policies in place. But is there a streamlined way to create, implement, share, and update these policies?
Do it the Sprinto way! Sprinto is a compliance automation platform that helps you streamline your compliance journey for different frameworks like SOC 2, ISO 27001, GDPR, HIPAA, PCI DSS, and more. The platform guides you on choosing the right security policies and helps you create the policy documents with built-in customizable templates. Sprinto also makes it easier to share the policies with employees and notify them of any changes with regular reminders.
Continuous compliance is the next big thing! Get there first with Sprinto
Do I need security policies?
Yes! Not only does it help you get compliance faster, security policies can significantly reduce the impact of a cybersecurity threat such as a data breach. The security policy also eliminates any ambiguity by providing clear instructions related to everyday IT activities.
What are the Different Types of Security Policy?
NIST or National Institutes of Standards and Technology, spells out three distinct types, these are:
- Program policy: Strategic, high-level blueprint policy that does not require regular updates.
- Issue-specific policy: They provide definite guidance on certain specific issues related to the workspace of your organization. For example; BYOD policy (Bring your own device), Social media usage policy, or remote access policy.
- System-specific policy: Most granular type of security policy, focusing on the IT systems of your organization, for example, firewall or web server. IT and security teams are heavily involved in the creation, implementation, and enforcement of system-specific policies.
What are the elements of an effective security policy?
Here are 3 most important elements of an effective security policy:
- Clear objectives, scopes, and applicability.
- Alignment with compliance requirements.
- Up-to-date information.
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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