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IT Security and the Importance of Policies and Procedures

IT Security and the Importance of Policies and Procedures

When it comes to IT security, clearly defined and documented policies that can be translated into actionable and repeatable procedures are paramount in preventing data breaches.

Importance of Keeping Cyber Security Simple

Clearly documented and articulated policies leave no room for doubt as to what is expected and acceptable behavior. If your policy is vague and ambiguous, not only will employees be frustrated with the uncertainty of whether they are compliant, but you will likely have multiple interpretations of how to implement security measures.

It's important to note that IT security policies should also avoid technical jargon as much as possible. Not all employees have enough tech savvy to understand the nuances of cyber security. The more complicated your processes are, the more likely errors that lead to data breaches are to occur.

Threat of Litigation Over Poor Information Security Measures

Worse, you may wind up in litigation if you take disciplinary or civil action against someone violating policy based on their own interpretation. Remember the old "Welcome Screen" of yore? Did companies really intend to "welcome" everyone, including hackers?

Security threats aren't always obvious, and employees who believe they have been punished unfairly may take action against your business. This carries the threat of litigation as the business is simultaneously try to fend off potential (and unintended) security threats.

Limits of IT Security Policies

Policy is great, but limited. IT security policies need to be put into action, meaning translated into procedures that can be repeated and measured.

For example, if you have a policy stating everyone is required to have an ID and a password to access your systems, but you have no procedure defined around user ID provisioning that requires ID's be created with a password, then you will have ID's created without passwords someday, somehow, either by accident or via malicious intent.

Procedures should drive behaviors, as in this example by the user ID provisioning team, to always create ID's with passwords, and those matching the password controls further defined in the policy (such as length, complexity, change interval, etc.). 

A policy that states this and clarifies the nature of the password gives a benchmark to measure your workforce's compliance with the company's IT security policy. But having a procedure defined - based on the policy - that drives the behavior of those creating ID's gives you control of the situation.

Cloud Security Considerations

That's why translating complicated information technology processes into easily implemented procedures is one of the most crucial jobs of cyber security professionals. A seasoned expert will automate the complicated tasks on the back end while implementing straightforward procedures on the front.

This is especially true for companies utilizing cloud infrastructure. Most providers offer robust security, but your individual access points and procedures can leave additional vulnerabilities. This is particularly important if you rely on a remote workforce.

Better Productivity

When your IT security practices and policies are easy to understand, employee training takes less time and your overall workforce is able to better complete their daily tasks. Business operations run more smoothly and are better protected against unauthorized access.

You can also help employees better understand how to conduct business with clients and external agencies. Ambiguities when dealing with external stakeholders are among the top sources for unauthorized access. Robust IT security measures should close these vulnerabilities while maintaining an intuitive user interface.

North and South Carolina's Top Cyber Security Professionals

Of course, it takes seasoned security professionals to implement it security policies that are both robust and easy to comply with. If you're looking for managed IT services or professional IT services, contact Total BC Inc. today! 

 

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