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IT security policies are the foundation of an organisation’s overall security program. They exist to educate employees and guide behaviour, in addition to protecting the business and adhering to compliance regulation.

Without a proper security policy in place, you’re putting your company’s physical and digital assets at risk of various threats. This is one of the reasons why many successful SMBs have developed and implemented comprehensive IT security policies. To add to that, most successful SMBs go out of their way to regularly update their policies to make sure that they can still combat evolving cybersecurity threats.

If you still don’t have an IT security policy in place for your organisation, follow these best practices for developing one with your IT service provider.

1. Identify Roles and Responsibilities 

First, figure out who currently has access to critical data, infrastructure, and applications. Note your findings and then assess whether or not each person needs the access they’ve been granted. Then, you can begin to limit or reinstate permission to access sensitive information and assets. For example, system administrators should have access to things that contractors should not. You want to make sure there will be no uncertainty about who has access to what.

2. Define Data Retention Parameters

You’ll also need to implement a document retention policy. These types of policies are especially important in certain regulated industries that require specific retention parameters. Defining a data retention policy is critical because there’s an increased risk of data being stolen or compromised when it’s kept beyond those defined dates.

3. Verify Robust Encryption Technology Is Being Utilised

Setting standards for encoding your information is another important part of a security policy. Implement high grade encryption technology to secure data stored in the cloud, and use SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption technology for data in transit. 

To make your security policy even stronger, ask your IT service provider to look for a data protection solution that uses private key encryption (PKE) technology.

4. Involve Staff in Policy Creation

Try to involve your staff in policy development, including those outside of IT. Making the process more collaborative and transparent for everyone has its advantages. For example, when staff are made to feel they are part of the policy creation process, they are more inclined to understand, accept, and follow the guidelines that are put in place. Furthermore, they can provide helpful insights on what’s needed to improve security within the organisation.

5. Adhere to Compliance Regulations

When developing a security policy, be sure to meet your industry’s compliance regulations. Certain industries are more regulated than others, but you should always stay informed about any pertinent regulations and make sure your security policy addresses all issues necessary to help your SMB stay compliant.

ATO, the Australian Tax Office for example, has five record keeping rules about what records you must keep and for how long. An IT service provider can help you determine what backup and storage options best suit your business to fulfil this obligation, especially in case of any system failures.

6. Set Clear Penalties for Non-Compliance

Cyber security is not a joke. A single instance of non-compliance can put your whole business at risk. Be sure to set and communicate clear penalties for any staff member who doesn’t comply with the security policy. These could be anything from formal warnings to dismissal, depending on the severity of the offence. By having a set process for dealing with non-compliance, you can ensure that everyone takes the policy seriously and that there are consequences for not following it.

Developing a Strong Cyber Security Policy with Lanrex

With cyber crime becoming an increasingly serious threat, it’s not a question of if businesses need security, it’s a question of what level of security they need. Keeping this in mind, you should reach out to your IT service provider about data security to make sure your business is properly protected.

It’s also important to start educating your employees about the importance of cyber security as soon as possible because new cyber threats emerge every day. Be proactive and start talking about it now instead of waiting until after your company experiences a severe data breach or malware infection. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Contact us to explore Lanrex’s cyber security solutions today.

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