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What you should know about an Information Security Policy?


Information security policy is a written document that defines the user’s responsibilities and acceptable use of information system resources. Information Security policy ( ISP ) is a set of  rules of the organization that guides every individual who works with IT assets. Your organization can create an information security policy to ensure their employees and other users should follow security protocols and procedures which has been defined
The organization should maintain the signed acknowledgment from users mentioning clearly that they have read, understand, and agreed about those process & policies, before providing authorized access to any information systems. Organization should review those policies periodically and updated time to time as per requirement.
Organization policies should cover a wide collection of security-related topics covering from general standards with which every employee must follow and comply, such as physical security, account, data to more specialized security standards covering internal applications and information systems. An updated and current security policy ensures that sensitive information can only be accessed by authorized users.

How to define information security policy?


For making an effective security policy and to act on this for ensuring the compliance is a critical step to prevent and mitigate security breaches. For making security policy really effective you need to update it time to time as per required changes, new threats, as per previous breaches record, and other changes to your security posture.

Security policy should be practical and enforceable. It should have an exception clearly defined to accommodate requirements and urgencies that arise from different parts of the organization.

What are the Importance elements of an Information Security Policy to define?

Related to IT ( Information technology )  security requirement, a security policy can be defined as per the requirement should be applied in its full scope. Check these below details which offers some important considerations when developing an information security policy.

Requirement Of Security policy.

Requirement of the policy to create an overall approach towards information security. Need to detect and anticipate information security breaches such as misuse of networks, data, applications, and computer systems. Organisational legal responsibility and its support to ethical and legal requirements. Admiration of customer rights, including how to react to inquiries and complaints about non-compliance, maintain the reputation of the organization.

Audience

Outline the audience to whom the information security policy applicable. Audience can be out of scope, you may also specify which audiences are out of the scope of the policy as per requirement.

Information security objectives

The management team should be guided to agree on well-defined objectives for strategy and security. Information security focuses on three main objectives:

·       Confidentiality—only authorized person can access data and information assets

·       Integrity—data should be intact, accurate and complete, and IT systems must be kept operational.

·         Availability—users should be able to access information or systems when needed.



Authorization and access control policy

·       Hierarchical pattern: The security policy may have different terms for a higher official vs. a lower. Like a senior manager may have the authority to decide what data can be shared and with whom. The policy should define the level of authority over data and IT systems for each organizational role.

·       Network security policy: users should only able to access company networks and servers via unique logins ID that with authentication, including passwords, biometrics, ID cards, or tokens. That should get monitored for all systems and should maintain records of all login attempts.

Data classification

Classification of data into categories, which may include “top secret”, “secret”, “confidential” and “public”. The objective in classifying these data is, to ensure that important data cannot be accessed by individuals with lower category levels. 
Also to protect highly important data, and avoid needless security measures for unimportant data.

Data support and operations

Data protection regulations: Most security standards require of minimum-security authentication, encryption, a firewall, and anti-malware protection. Systems that store personal data, or other sensitive data must be protected according to organizational best practices standard, industry compliance standards, and relevant regulations.

Data backup: Need to maintain encrypted data backup according to industry best practices. Securely store backup media, or move back up to secure cloud storage.
Movement of data—You can transfer data via secure protocols like VPN etc with Encryption when any information shared in portable devices or transmitted across a public network.

Security awareness

Security policies should be shared between employees, users. Training sessions should be conducted to inform employees of your security procedures and policies, including data protection measures, access protection measures, and sensitive data classification.

Social engineering: Its place a special importance on the dangers of social engineering attacks (such as phishing emails). Aware employees on this and make them responsible for noticing, preventing, and reporting such attacks.

Clean desk policy—Protect laptops with a cable lock. Sharing should be restricted or stopped. Printer access should be restricted depending upon the criticality of data and printer areas should be clean so documents do not fall into the wrong hands.

Acceptable Internet usage policy: Policy talks about how the Internet should be restricted. Many organizations do not allow Gmail, Yahoo, etc. You can also restrict, YouTube, social media websites, etc. Block unwanted websites using a proxy.

Responsibilities, rights, and duties of users

Organizations should appoint staff to carry out user access reviews, education, change management, incident management, implementation, and periodic updates of the security policy. Responsibilities should be clearly defined as part of the security policy.


Best Practices for Drafting Information Security Policies

Information and classifications of Data

A clear classification policy helps organizations take control of the distribution of their security assets. However, It can damage the entire security program. Your system can be attacked due to poor information and data classification.

IT operations and administration: IT team and ADMIN team should work jointly so they can address risk assessment and identification through all departments to reduce risks. They should work together to meet compliance and security requirements. Lack of cooperation may lead to configuration errors.

Security incident response plan: It helps to initiate appropriate remediation actions during security incidents. A security incident strategy provides a guideline, which includes initial threat response, priority identification, and appropriate fixes.

SaaS and cloud policy: This provides the organization with clear cloud and SaaS adoption guidelines, which can provide the foundation for a unified cloud ecosystem. This policy can help mitigate ineffective complications and poor use of cloud resources.

Acceptable use policies: This helps to prevent data breaches that occur through the misuse of company resources. Transparent AUPs help keep all personnel in line with the proper use of company technology resources.

Identity and access management regulations: This defines IT administrators authorize systems and applications to the right individuals. Employees know how to use and create passwords in a secure way. A simple password policy can be a risk.

Data security policy: This ensures the outlines the technical operations of the organization and acceptable uses of standards in accordance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance.

Privacy regulations: This defines the government-enforced regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation GDPR protect the privacy of end-users. Organizations have to ensure the govt enforced regulation.

Personal and mobile devices: A policy for proper security of personal devices can help prevent exposure to threats via employee-owned assets. Companies encourage employees to access company software assets from any location, they involve risk, vulnerabilities using personal devices such as laptops and smartphones. 


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