By Jaron Cayton
Most smart businesses have set up an information technology structure that makes sense to secure their company.
But did you know that unless you have clear strategic policies in place to guide the use of the technology, it might not do much in terms of protection?
Practical and Enforceable
A good IT policy clearly guides employees in how to both use and not use technology in the workplace. The details of the policy should include how you expect employees to behave when interacting with the business’s IT assets and also provide very distinct consequences for violations. Penalties could range from a first-time reprimand to possible termination and even criminal prosecution, depending on the infraction.
When you create your policy, make sure to provide instructions on how everyone should use IT to help the business efficiently:
● Meet business goals.
● Prepare employees how to react to, and recover from, unexpected events and cyber attacks.
● Teach all members of the business how to keep sensitive data safe.
● Maintain and prove compliance.
Correct Unwanted Behavior
Another aspect of your plan should include consideration of unwanted behaviors you want to correct. For example, something as simple as instituting a clean desk policy and having employees lock their screen when not actually sitting in front of it can prevent sensitive information from becoming public.
The idea of a clean workspace is not only to install workplace pride and look professional when clients visit but also to avoid proprietary information left open on unattended screens and avoiding those famous sticky notes that include a scribbled password from getting into the hands of someone with questionable ethics.
Include All Business Areas
To ensure your IT policy includes a comprehensive view of your business protection, spend some time thinking about the following areas to determine all the rules and procedures that you want to manage:
● Users – employee email usage, accounts and passwords, remote access, privacy and confidentiality, training and privileges and employee onboarding and termination.
● Data – how to designate data as sensitive and determine the risk level of specific data types, encrypting data-based risk and sensitivity criteria.
● Network – internet connections, approved software applications, telecom and wireless communications, perimeter security and web filtering.
● System Protection – virus detection, patch management, data backup and recovery, server documentation and audit trail procedures.
● General – security incident response, disaster recovery, physical security, third-party identities and access.
● Incident Reporting – how to respond to and report data breaches and security incidents, such as lost or stolen laptops and mobile devices.
Make It Relevant
Your policy should protect and promote smooth-running business practices. If the policy seems too hard to follow and makes employees feel less empowered and in charge of their everyday work life, it could affect productivity and cause staff to rebel.
Double-check your policy to make sure that you:
● Have buy-in and support from company leaders who will model the rules.
● Include rules that make sense and apply to the business.
● Provide allowances to adapt to and include special circumstances.
● Incorporate methods to review and update regularly.
● Augment the policy with ways to measure and enforce all rules.
Keep in mind that an MSP like TeamLogic IT is a great resource to help you customize an IT policy, become familiar with security best practices, and even suggest strategies and software that businesses can adopt to become more efficient, secure and meet your goals.