A Guide to Write a Cybersecurity Policy for Your Company
Cybersecurity has risen to the top of the list of the most discussed topics in the field of technology. As the use of technology grows and more companies rely on it, the subject of keeping the data safe is unavoidable.
Investing in information security technology isn’t enough to protect your business from breaches and cyber-attacks. A study by IBM reported that human error is the main cause of 95% of cybersecurity breaches. To minimize the risk, you should keep the employees informed with the help of a cybersecurity policy.
Let’s dive deeper into what it takes to create an effective cybersecurity policy.
Use Clear and Concise Language
The policy will be read by every employee – from the receptionist to the accountant. Using simple and concise language is the best practice for avoiding confusion or misinterpretations.
While there is no strict rule about the length of the policy, try to keep it concise. Include only relevant information to the topic – nothing less and nothing more.
Ensure that the Policy is in Compliance with Current Regulations
The laws and regulations your company needs to comply with depend on your location, collaborators, and the type of business you are in. Before you get wrapped up in writing, check local, national, and international laws that might apply to you. Make sure that the policy complies and follows all necessary cybersecurity measures.
Make an Introduction
The introduction should explain what cybersecurity policy is and why it is created. Help the employees understand its importance.
State to whom the policy applies to. Additionally, you can share the names of authorized officers of the policy.
You can also include a terminology list. Employees who aren’t familiar with tech terms and abbreviations will appreciate it. If necessary, hire the best writing advisor to help you clearly explain all the terms. An expert writer can boost comprehension.
Define the Purpose
Briefly disclose the purpose of the policy. The purpose should refer to what the policy will protect and what kind of information it will provide. This segment can serve as a reminder of the information that can be found in the policy.
Explain What Falls into Confidential Data Category
Most employees have heard the term “confidential data” numerous times. However, not all of them are clear about what it stands for precisely.
To make the policy more understandable, you need to clarify what falls under confidential data. List all types of data that are defined as classified in your company.
Outline the Use of Devices in the Workplace
Employees must grasp that the use of their personal devices can also affect the company’s security. In this section, explain the distinction between private and company devices.
Share what kind of use of personal and company devices protects the company from security breaches. For example, state how and where employees should store the company devices when they are not in use.
Educate Employees about Email Protection
The highest risk of data breach comes from email. According to research, 83% of organizations have experienced email data breaches.
Let it be known how employees can recognize malicious emails. State the steps they need to take when they suspect that the email contains malware. Inform them what to do in such a situation.
Also, educate employees when they should and shouldn’t share their work email addresses.
Share Password Protection Requirements
Employees must create strong passwords. Describe in this section how they should do that.
Mention the best practices for storing the passwords as well as how often they need to be updated.
The employees can question the relevance of having different passwords for different logins. Make sure that you explain why this is necessary.
Clarify Data Transfers Practices
When it comes to data transfers, you should describe the types of data that can (and can’t) be shared within the company. Also, you should state which data types can be exchanged with third parties.
Explaining the acceptable channels of transferring data can minimize the risk. So, include this explanation in the policy as well.
Inform Employees about Data Breach Management
This segment is reserved for outlining what employees must do in case of a data breach. Prevention is one part of risk management and properly handling the breach is another.
List the steps that employees should take when they want to report a cybersecurity risk (a fishy activity, lost device, etc.). Next, list the steps that must be followed in case of a data breach or missing software/device.
To whom can employees turn when they need cybersecurity assistance? You don’t want employees to rush from one person to another until they come across the right person.
State the accountable roles in case of a cybersecurity breach. Make sure that you include their contact information and their responsibilities. In this way, the employees will know with whom they need to get in touch in different situations.
State Disciplinary Actions
Make it known what happens if someone violates the policy. The employees must understand that cybersecurity is a serious matter. Consequently, not respecting it comes with serious consequences.
Concisely explain that disciplinary actions depend on the severity of the violation. Typically, unintentional violations pass with a warning, while intentional or frequent violations can provoke a suspension or termination.
Proofread and Edit
You can’t finalize the policy before ensuring its correctness. Give it a second look and pay attention to any grammar or spelling mistakes. You should also look for room for improvement. There might be some segments that need adjustments or better clarifications.
Use online proofreading tools to automate this process. A tool such as Grammarly will instantly recognize writing mistakes. However, the editing process should be done by a human eye. The clarity of the policy is up to you to determine and polish up.
A cybersecurity policy can help employees understand their role in data protection. It will serve as a constant reminder of what they need to do to protect themselves and the company.
Follow these guidelines, and you’ll write an impeccable policy that successfully educates employees about cybersecurity. It only takes one well-written policy to make a huge difference in your security practices.