The cornerstone of any good cybersecurity strategy is a formal policy with the purpose of protecting sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands. It should, at the very least, reflect the overall security objectives of the organization as well as include details on the agreed-upon strategy for managing and securing company information.
Beyond this, however, figuring out what other material should be included in a policy of such high importance can be challenging. To clarify, we’ve narrowed down some of the basics of a strong, effective infosec policy.
Scope – List and address any and all information covered, including systems, programs, networks, data, facilities and all users within the organization.
Info Classification – Definitions that are as specific as possible. Avoid blanket terms like “restricted” or “confidential” unless they are used as part of detailed statements.
Goals – Define the objectives for secure information handling for each info classification category (i.e. regulatory, contractual, legal, etc.) Ex.: “prevent asset loss,” or “customer privacy prohibits access to customer data for anyone except authorized representatives and only for the purpose of customer communication.”
Context – Defines policy placement within the context of other managerial directives, along with supplemental documentation (i.e. “agreed upon by all parties at executive level” or “all additional information handling must be consistent with…”)
Supporting Documentation – Incorporate any relevant references to supporting documents, specifically as they apply to cybersecurity processes, roles and responsibilities, technology standards, guidelines and procedures.
Instructions – Delve into specific instructions related to already established company-wide security mandates (i.e. network/system access requires identity authentication and verification; sharing of individual authentication method is strictly prohibited; etc.)
Responsibilities – Document specific designation of established roles and responsibilities within the organization as they relate to information security (i.e. the IT department is the sole provider of telecom lines, etc.)
Consequences – Outline specific consequences for non-compliance (i.e. “up to and including termination”)
Of course, this policy is meant to be the foundation of your organizational cybersecurity strategy. Once in place, it should be supported and bolstered by implementing the right team, tools and technology. For instance, companies should ensure that IT personnel are well-versed and kept up-to-date on appropriate security measures and arm them with the tools they need, like automation, to help them do their jobs more effectively.