An information security breach is the worst nightmare for every small and medium business owner. The stats don’t lie: in the UK and US, cyberattacks on small and medium businesses grew more than five times in 2019. The increase in cyber breaches is traceable to low investment in information security policy.
Reportedly, almost half of small and medium businesses lack information security policies.
The impact of security breaches for small and medium businesses is enormous. Data breaches lead to financial risks and trust issues with customers. Reputational damage is another negative consequence. For small and medium business owners, data infringement of any kind is an occurrence they don't want to see happen. Although, sadly, it happens (and in high numbers!).
To prevent data breaches, you need security policies that'll safeguard your system. Information security policies ensure data protection. Information security policies also help to maneuver the negative impact of information security infringements. Without security policies, your cybersecurity system is more vulnerable; which is why malicious actors always look to infiltrate the security system of small and medium businesses that lack security policies.
If you're a business owner still trying to understand the concept of information security policy, this article will give you all the clarity you need. Read on to learn more about the meaning and the benefits of information security policy.
What is Information Security Policy?
With information security, you're as protected as what you know and implement. Information security policies are documented rules that guide employee behavior regarding data security and IT systems. Information security policy documents contain detailed procedures that provide the right actions that’ll ensure data privacy.
Information security policy documents provide information on various topics like:
- Data backups
- Incident control
- Data encryption
- Disaster recovery
- Cybersecurity risk assessment
The documents ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data to authorized sources only. The policy ensures that your employees are technically equipped to handle data breaches if they ever occur.
Summarily, information security policies give clarity and clear responsibility about security protocols to your employees.
Information Security Policy Template
For effectiveness’s sake, information security policies should be drafted based on the objectives and purpose of your business. The key elements to consider in your information security template include the scope, objectives, and purpose of your business, and the employees— or personnel in some instances— responsible for data security.
For small and medium businesses looking to write an information security template, the first step is to conduct a cybersecurity risk assessment to understand the scale of risk associated with your business. The cybersecurity risk assessment will also help you to understand the regulatory bodies that you should include in your information security policy plan.
5 Must-Have Information Security Policies
Information security policies are designed to cover policies that affect your security system, network, and tools. Listed below are security policies that you should implement as a small and medium business owner.
1. Access Control Policy
The access control policy is a security policy that monitors and authenticates users that have access to a system or network. The policy helps you to prevent unauthorized entries and third-party infiltrations. This policy is useful for every business that conducts business through the internet.
Access control systems authenticate and authorize users through security details such as personal identity number (PIN), biometric scans, security tokens, and multifactor authentication. Access control policies certify that only verified and authorized users gain access to your system.
2. Incident Response Policy
Sometimes, data breaches are inevitable. An incident response policy helps you to manage the fall-out of cyber infringements. The policy cuts across every step, procedure, and personnel that'll reduce damage control and facilitate quick data recovery.
3. Data Encryption Policy
Data encryption is one way to protect data. A data encryption policy helps you to secure your devices and data by making them inaccessible to unauthorized third-parties. This policy is especially useful for small and medium businesses that send sensitive information through emails.
4. Data Backup Policy
A data backup policy is a comprehensive data protection strategy. The policy guides data storage and access. Data backup policies serve as an extra defense against data loss and corruption, and data breaches.
5. Risk Assessment Standards and Procedures
This policy helps you to identify and manage harmful practices that'll affect your system and networks. The policy cuts across managing your internal systems and third-parties alike.
Benefits of Information Security Policy
Security policies form the backbone of data privacy. They are the foundation of every security practice and procedure that safeguards your business from data infiltration. Listed below are the benefits of security policies to your business:
1. Data Protection: The essence of security policies is to guarantee data privacy. Every procedure and step in the security policy is designed to meet this purpose. Information security policies ensure that your employees are well-trained in data protection dos and don'ts. The information security policy also ensures that only authorized personnel gain access to data and accounts.
2. Data Recovery: The clichéd saying “prevention is better than cure” is true when it comes to information security. But another valid truth is that data breaches can be initiated by external sources which your business has little control over. Information security policies also include data recovery plans. These policies will help your business to recover your data should a breach occur. They will also help you to manage the risk and negative consequences of any infringement.
3. Compliance to Regulatory Bodies: Regulatory bodies and frameworks enforce data privacy laws. Information security policies allow you to comply with the relevant regulatory bodies. A good example of a regulatory body is the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) that regulates credit card payment information. Compliance with the relevant regulatory bodies will also help your business to avoid legal penalties.
4. Transparency & Security Culture: Information security documents are developed to help your employee or personnel understand what needs to be done in every situation. This builds a security and transparency culture in addition to data protection.
5. Secured Reputation: For small and medium business owners, avoiding information breaches is vital for reputation capital. In 2017, 22% of businesses that suffered a cyber attack lost customers. The stats clearly show the negative perception that customers have about businesses post data breach. Having an information security policy sets your business on the right course to avoid data infiltration. Should a data breach occur, your information security policy will help you facilitate fast data recovery.
Data security is non-negotiable for every small and medium business. Ensuring data security starts by implementing the right policies that'll guide employee engagement and behavior about data confidentiality.
At NWTechnologies, our professionals specialize in helping small and medium businesses like yours draft information security policies that fit their business objectives and purpose. Our cybersecurity documentation expertise covers a wide range of services, including:
- Data recovery policies
- Incident response
- Data encryption
- Risk management
- Cybersecurity insurance
We will help you facilitate swift data recovery with minimal damage impact should a data infiltration occur. Let’s talk. Schedule a session with any of our experts today and free yourself of all your cybersecurity worries!