Security policies are a formal set of rules which is issued by an organization to ensure that the user who are authorized to access company technology and information assets comply with rules and guidelines related to the security of information. It is a written document in the organization which is responsible for how to protect the organizations from threats and how to handles them when they will occur. A security policy also considered to be a “living document” which means that the document is never finished, but it is continuously updated as requirements of the technology and employee changes.
Why are security policies important?
Security policies are important because they protect an organizations’ assets, both physical and digital. They identify all company assets and all threats to those assets. Physical security policies are aimed at protecting a company’s physical assets, such as buildings and equipment, including computers and other IT equipment. Data security policies protect intellectual property from costly events, like data breaches and data leaks.
Need of Security policies-
1) It increases efficiency.
The best thing about having a policy is being able to increase the level of consistency which saves time, money and resources. The policy should inform the employees about their individual duties, and telling them what they can do and what they cannot do with the organization sensitive information.
2) It upholds discipline and accountability
When any human mistake will occur, and system security is compromised, then the security policy of the organization will back up any disciplinary action and also supporting a case in a court of law. The organization policies act as a contract which proves that an organization has taken steps to protect its intellectual property, as well as its customers and clients.
3) It can make or break a business deal
It is not necessary for companies to provide a copy of their information security policy to other vendors during a business deal that involves the transference of their sensitive information. It is true in a case of bigger businesses which ensures their own security interests are protected when dealing with smaller businesses which have less high-end security systems in place.
4) It helps to educate employees on security literacy
A well-written security policy can also be seen as an educational document which informs the readers about their importance of responsibility in protecting the organization sensitive data. It involves on choosing the right passwords, to providing guidelines for file transfers and data storage which increases employee’s overall awareness of security and how it can be strengthened. We use security policies to manage our network security. Most types of security policies are automatically created during the installation. We can also customize policies to suit our specific environment. There are some important cybersecurity policies recommendations describe below-
1. Virus and Spyware Protection policy
This policy provides the following protection:
- It helps to detect, removes, and repairs the side effects of viruses and security risks by using signatures.
- It helps to detect the threats in the files which the users try to download by using reputation data from Download Insight.
- It helps to detect the applications that exhibit suspicious behaviour by using SONAR heuristics and reputation data.
2. Firewall Policy
This policy provides the following protection:
- It blocks the unauthorized users from accessing the systems and networks that connect to the Internet.
- It detects the attacks by cybercriminals.
- It removes the unwanted sources of network traffic.
3. Intrusion Prevention policy
This policy automatically detects and blocks the network attacks and browser attacks. It also protects applications from vulnerabilities. It checks the contents of one or more data packages and detects malware which is coming through legal ways.
4. LiveUpdate policy
This policy can be categorized into two types one is LiveUpdate Content policy, and another is LiveUpdate Setting Policy. The LiveUpdate policy contains the setting which determines when and how client computers download the content updates from LiveUpdate. We can define the computer that clients contact to check for updates and schedule when and how often clients computer check for updates.
5. Application and Device Control
This policy protects a system’s resources from applications and manages the peripheral devices that can attach to a system. The device control policy applies to both Windows and Mac computers whereas application control policy can be applied only to Windows clients.
6. Exceptions policy
This policy provides the ability to exclude applications and processes from detection by the virus and spyware scans.
7. Host Integrity policy
This policy provides the ability to define, enforce, and restore the security of client computers to keep enterprise networks and data secure. We use this policy to ensure that the client’s computers who access our network are protected and compliant with companies? securities policies. This policy requires that the client system must have installed antivirus. Physical security policies include the following information:
- sensitive buildings, rooms and other areas of an organization;
- who is authorized to access, handle and move physical assets;
- procedures and other rules for accessing, monitoring and handling these assets; and
- responsibilities of individuals for the physical assets they access and handle.
Security guards, entry gates, and door and window locks are all used to protect physical assets. Other, more high-tech methods are also used to keep physical assets safe. For example, a biometric verification system can limit access to a server room. Anyone accessing the room would use a fingerprint scanner to verify they are authorized to enter.
Information security policies
These policies provide the following advantages.
Protect valuable assets. These policies help ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability — known as the CIA triad — of data. They are often used to protect sensitive customer data and personally identifiable information.
Guard reputations. Data breaches and other information security incidents can negatively affect an organization’s reputation.
Ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. Many legal requirements and regulations are aimed at security sensitive information. For example, Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard dictates how organizations handle consumer payment card information. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act details how companies handle protected health information. Violating these regulations can be costly.
Dictate the role of employees. Every employee generates information that may pose a security risk. Security policies provide guidance on the conduct required to protect data and intellectual property. Identify third-party vulnerabilities. Some vulnerabilities stem from interactions with other organizations that may have different security standards. Security policies help identify these potential security gaps.
Types of security policies
Security policy types can be divided into three types based on the scope and purpose of the policy:
- Organizational. These policies are a master blueprint of the entire organization’s security program.
- System-specific. A system-specific policy covers security procedures for an information system or network.
- Issue-specific. These policies target certain aspects of the larger organizational policy. Examples of issue-related security policies include the following:
- Acceptable use policies define the rules and regulations for employee use of company assets.
- Access control policies say which employees can access which resources.
- Change management policies provide procedures for changing IT assets so that adverse effects are minimized.
- Disaster recovery policies ensure business continuity after a service disruption. These policies typically are enacted after the damage from an incident has occurred.
- Incident response policies define procedures for responding to a security breach or incident as it is happening.
Key elements in a security policy
Some of the key elements of an organizational information security policy include the following:
- statement of the purpose;
- statement that defines who the policy applies;
- statement of objectives, which usually encompasses the CIA triad;
- authority and access control policy that delineates who has access to which resources;
- data classification statement that divides data into categories of sensitivity — the data covered can range from public information to information that could cause harm to the business or an individual if disclosed;
- data use statement that lays out how data at any level should be handled — this includes specifying the data protection regulations, data backup requirements and network security standards for how data should be communicated, with encryption, for example;
- statement of the responsibilities and duties of employees and who will be responsible for overseeing and enforcing policy;
- security awareness training that instructs employees on security best practices — this includes education on potential security threats, such as phishing, and computer security best practices for using company devices; and
- effectiveness measurements that will be used to assess how well security policies are working and how improvements will be made.
What to consider when creating a security policy
Security professionals must consider a range of areas when drafting a security policy. They include the following:
- Cloud and mobile. It is important for organizations to consider how they are using the cloud and mobile applications when developing security policies. Data is increasingly distributed through an organization’s network over a spectrum of devices. It is important to account for the increased amount of vulnerabilities that a distributed network of devices creates.
- Data classification. Improperly categorizing data can lead to the exposure of valuable assets or resources expended protecting data that doesn’t need to be protected.
- Continuous updates. An organization’s IT environment and the vulnerabilities it is exposed to change as the organization grows, industries change and cyberthreats evolve. Security policies must evolve to reflect these changes.
- Policy frameworks. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) offers its Cybersecurity Framework, which provides guidance for creating a security policy. The NIST approach helps businesses detect, prevent and respond to cyber attacks.
Data is one of an IT organization’s most important assets. It is always being generated and transmitted over an organization’s network, and it can be exposed in countless ways. A security policy guides an organization’s strategy for protecting data and other assets. It is up to security leaders — like chief information security officers — to ensure employees follow the security policies to keep company assets safe. Failing to do so can result in the following:
- customer data in jeopardy;
- fines and other financial repercussions; and
- damage to a company’s reputation.
Good cybersecurity strategies start with good policies. The best policies preemptively deal with security threats before they have the chance to happen.