7 IT Policies and 6 Steps to Protect Your Data and Business

Your data (all the digital information you hold) is important. It’s crucial to protect it (and your network) from security threats. The backbone of your digital information strategy is your digital information security policy. It is this policy that helps you to maintain the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of your network, systems, and data.

Your digital information security policy should:

  • Protect your data and systems from unauthorized access (confidentiality)

  • Ensure that modification of your data and systems can only be modified in ways that you permit (integrity)

  • Ensure that users have the access they need when they need it (availability)

Let’s dive into what your digital information security policy should cover, and the best practices that will help you develop yours successfully.

Key security policies

Your digital information security policy should include seven key policies. These are designed to protect you against cyber threats, maintain the continuity of your business, and enable you to respond effectively should a security breach occur.

The security policies within your overarching digital information security policy are:

  • Employee security training

The training of employees in IT and data security is crucial – it should be ongoing, and not a one-time event, starting from induction of new employees and continuing throughout the period of employment.

  • Password management

Qualify the strength of passwords and the regularity with which they must be changed – and what password management tools are to be used.

  • Remote access

With more people now working from home, the potential for interception of and access to your company’s data is increased. You should detail access procedures and data security protocol.

  • Acceptable use

This details how your company’s digital assets (hardware, software, and data) can be used, and the consequences should they be misused.

  • Backup

This details how and when your data and systems are backed up, and should include how many copies are to be kept, in what format, and how your disaster recovery backup is to be kept.

  • Bring your own device

If you allow your employees to bring their own device (or work on their own device from home), this policy is needed to define all the parameters in which own devices can be used, including how use will be monitored.

  • Disaster recovery

While your data security policies and strategies are designed to protect your company from data breaches, no data security strategy can be 100% secure. Your digital information security policy should therefore include a realistic disaster recovery policy that enables your company to continue its operations should a data breach occur.

Best practices for a successful digital information security policy

The following steps will help you to develop an effective digital information policy – one that is comprehensive and that protects your business from security threats and disruption to operations:

  1. Identify everything on your networks

All objects in your IT environment must be tracked and managed. This includes people, computers, hosts, and servers. It’s important to know how these are related, so security and IT teams understand the interconnectivity within your business.

  1. Control access across your business

It’s important to be flexible in your access control system and apply policies to distinct types of users, regardless of their location or type. For higher-security systems, you’ll want more specific access checks. Such access is often determined by using a role-based access control system.

  1. Encrypt or mask all your data

Data encryption and masking is one of the most effective tactics to protect your data. As well as the data you hold within your databases, you should also encrypt transmissions, such as emails.

  1. Match security policy to company goals

You should develop your security policy so that it aligns with your business goals. If your company relies on tools which are designed to improve employee efficiency, they must be aware of the risk these pose ─ but also the benefits they deliver.

To keep the security of your data safeguarded, you should implement dynamic policies that can easily manage specific team-level access.

  1. Align all teams with your security policy

It’s important for everyone in your company to understand the security policy. Ensure no one is left out by promoting your policies in cross-functional meetings. Communicate to teams in easy-to-understand language, ensuring you highlight that digital security is a collective responsibility.

  1. Revisit continuously

Regulations, security measures, threats, and the methods used by cyber criminals are continually evolving. Therefore, you should not view your digital information policy or data security strategies as one-time events. 

You must continually review and audit your policies to ensure that they remain fit for purpose and that your company remains in compliance with current laws and regulations that apply to your business. Any changes required should be reflected in your policies and your protection strategies, and be shared with your employees in a timely fashion.

Your digital information security policy is the foundation on which a solid and effective security strategy is developed and delivered. To learn how Millennium Tech USA can help you design, develop, and maintain your security policies, contact us today.