Tips for creating information security policies

Written by Ivar van Duuren

March 31, 2023

role of an auditor

 

Information security is one of the most important components of any business in our current digital age. To ensure that information remains secure, companies must implement appropriate policies and procedures. These information security policies must protect information from unauthorized access, modification or destruction.

In this article, we provide some tips for creating an effective information security policy. After all, who are involved in such a process? And how do you prevent a security island? You can also read more about notification requirements, find guidelines for ICT, examples of objectives and more information about ISO 27001-2022 certification.

Who is involved in creating an information security policy?

The creation of an information security policy must involve a number of individuals and organizations to ensure that the policy is comprehensive and effective. These stakeholders include top management, IT personnel, outside consultants and auditors, legal counsel and regulators.

Each of these individuals has their own unique perspective on the best way to protect data within the organization, so it is important to consider all perspectives when creating the policy.

1. Avoid a security island

One of the most common mistakes made when developing an information security policy is to create what is known as a security island. This means that only certain areas or departments get access to certain types of data or technology, while other areas remain unprotected.

A security island can lead to confusion among employees as they try to adhere to different policies at different times. While potentially putting data at risk if not done correctly. A successful information security policy ensures that all departments have access to the same level of protection. Thus, everyone is equally protected from potential threats.

2. Establish notification requirements

A successful policy should not only ensure adequate protection of stored data. But also require employees to notify senior management immediately if they become aware of potential risks or breaches to company systems or the network.

This reporting requirement ensures that senior management can take quick action if there is a problem before it becomes too serious. It is recommended that the reporting requirement is accompanied by clear guidelines on how staff should notify management of potential risks they discover.

Organizations should have detailed procedures that define who has access to certain types of sensitive data within the network environment. Also ensure that changes in procedures or new laws and regulations are known to all involved.

3. Include guidelines for IT

The information security policy should also include guidelines for the use of information and communications technology (ICT) within the organization. For example, consider policies for the acceptable use of computers and mobile devices, password requirements, remote access requirements, acceptable encryption methods, network monitoring protocols, and so on.

This ensures that all employees know what is expected of them when it comes to protecting sensitive data within their organization’s network environment.

Ensure that employees can only access approved applications and programs and that unauthorized downloads are impossible. Also, install appropriate anti-malware solutions on employee devices. And provide available documents with steps to take to protect sensitive data.

4. Think carefully about the objective of your information security policy

An effective policy should include objectives that state why the policy was created in the first place. For example, consider the goal of “protecting customer data from unauthorized access. Here are a few more examples:

  • Limiting user access rights to only necessary personnel.
  • Implementing regular monitoring procedures to detect suspicious activity or unauthorized access attempts.
  • Maintaining secure and regular backups with the latest versions of software.

Goals should also be measurable so that it is easier to track progress on results. For example, consider the measurable goal “All customer data is encrypted at rest with AES 256-bit encryption before being stored on our servers.”

Thus, clear goals ensure that all stakeholders understand why certain measures are necessary to protect data securely and consistently across different areas of the business.

5. Get your organization ISO certified

ISO certification provides companies and organizations with an internationally recognized standard for implementing best practices related to information security management systems (ISMS).

By obtaining ISO certification for their ISMS, companies demonstrate their commitment to secure operations and establish trust between themselves and their customers, clients, and partners regarding the handling of confidential information entrusted to them.
What is ISO 27001-2022?

There are several certifications available, but the most well-known is ISO 27001 – 2022. This is a globally recognized international standard for establishing processes and procedures that help organizations maintain control over sensitive business and customer information. The standard covers the following topics, among others:

  • Asset classification & control management
  • Physical security & environmental considerations
  • Personnel training & awareness programs
  • Incident response & continuity planning
  • Limiting user access rights to only necessary personnel.

By complying with this ISO standard, organizations gain a competitive advantage through increased confidence, better regulatory compliance, improved risk management capabilities, and greater cost savings through more efficient use of resources.

Conclusion

There are many stakeholders involved in creating an effective information security policy. From the highest executive level to the day-to-day IT staff responsible for day-to-day operations.

A good policy remains practical across the board and prevents a security island effect between departments due to a lack of communication between them.

It is increasingly important for organizations to look beyond traditional protection methods. After all, the digital age is evolving at lightning speed and hackers are getting smarter at finding weak spots in data protection.

ISO 27001 – 2022 certification provides a solid framework for complying with all laws and regulations and taking data protection to the next level.

Need help implementing ISO 27001 certification?

Need help taking steps to comply with ISO 27001 certification? ISOPlanner prevents financial and reputational damage by providing an approachable way to help organizations comply with increasingly complex laws and regulations. Start a free trial of our software or contact us, we are happy to help!

 

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