Cybersecurity Policy: What it is and Why it’s Important for your Business
A cybersecurity policy can help you protect your company’s network online. But what is a cybersecurity policy and how can you implement it? Let’s find out!
What is a Cybersecurity Policy?
A cybersecurity policy is a type of policy that’s created for the purpose of protecting an organization’s network from cyberattacks. It includes standardized practices and procedures for various areas of cybersecurity.
Cybersecurity policies typically prioritize different areas of security based on their impact on the business. For example, protecting sensitive data will always be more important than adware protection.
Why Do You Need a Cybersecurity Policy?
The benefits of cybersecurity policies can be summarized in two critical points:
1. Cyberattacks have become more frequent than ever, especially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many organizations that adopted remote and hybrid work environments have been severely affected by cyberattacks in the past few years, affecting business continuity.
2. A cybersecurity policy helps you set a strategy. In case a cyberattack attempts to compromise your company’s data or network, having an incident response plan can definitely pay off. This way, you’re always one step ahead of any possible threat.
How to Develop a Cybersecurity Policy?
Developing a cybersecurity policy involves a number of key steps to ensure its success. These are:
1. Understand the Importance of Cybersecurity
This step is essential for you to evaluate your business and the threats that surround it. What are your products? What technology do you utilize? Who are your stakeholders? This will help you structure your policy based on your company’s requirements.
2. Conduct Risk Assessment
Identifying the potential security risks that could affect your business is essential for your policy. Threats and vulnerabilities may include data breaches, unauthorized access to sensitive data, malware, and phishing due to a lack of employee awareness.
3. Define Your Goals
When planning your policy, you may feel tempted to set unrealistic goals that will make your team feel demotivated. Instead, it’d be better to implement your policy incrementally with achievable objectives and timelines.
4. Check for Compliance
Does your cybersecurity policy meet compliance requirements? It’s important to create a policy that meets regional and international standards and regulations related to cybersecurity. Some of these include:
- HIPAA compliant
- International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)
- PCI Security Standards
- Export Administration Regulations (EAR)
You can identify if your policy meets these standards by having a professional third-party organization assess your policy.
5. Test Your Policy
After you’ve created your cybersecurity policy and made sure that it meets compliance requirements, do a test run to simulate what would happen if a real cyber attack targets your business.
This will help you assess the effectiveness of your cybersecurity policy in preventing and handling cyber crimes. Some reputable tests include NIST Cyber Health Checks and Readiness Assessments.
Risk assessment is a vital step needed in creating cybersecurity policies. It involves identifying possible threats and vulnerabilities, then prioritizing these threats based on severance, risk profile, and likelihood.
Conducting a risk assessment typically involves:
1. Identifying the scope of the risk assessment
2. Identifying possible risks
3. Analyzing the impact of each risk
4. Prioritizing risks
It’s also important to keep your risk assessment updated to identify new risks if they exist.
Network security is essential for protecting against cyberattacks. Make sure that you set up a firewall with the appropriate security rules. It’s also important that you implement a proper Intruder Detection System (IDS) to identify and eliminate cyber threats and attacks.
Another key component of network security is network segmentation. Network segmentation makes it possible to set boundaries between different network segments so that each group’s assets have the same function or role.
In other words, it limits access permissions to authorized users only, boosting your overall security policy. Integrating with Identity and Access Management (IAM) solutions can also be beneficial here.
Maintaining endpoint security often includes these measures:
- Real-time zero-day threat detection with machine learning classification
- Antimalware and antivirus protection
- Utilizing various endpoint devices and operating systems
- Advanced web security and safe browsing measures
- Phishing protection
- Data loss prevention
Regularly updating your Mobile Device Security and Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) Policies is also vital for endpoint security.
Cloud-based systems are particularly vulnerable to cyber attacks due to:
- Limited IT expertise
- Unsecured APIs
- Insider malicious actions
- Open-source models
- Cloud migration problems
Using a Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) can be beneficial for maintaining cloud security. A CASB enables you to get further reach for your security policies beyond your own organization.
For example, a CSAB can offer extended firewall protection to protect your organization’s network.
Implementing multi-factor authentication is also recommended as it adds additional steps for verifying a user’s credentials.
Incident response planning is vital because it minimizes or eliminates the impact of a cyber-attack. A robust incident response plan often includes:
- System preparation
- Incident identification
- Containment and elimination of attackers and incident activity
- Incident recovery and system restoration
- Adjusting security measures for future prevention
Employee Education and Awareness
Raising awareness about cybersecurity policies in your organization will help ensure that everyone is focused and on the same page. Make this clear to your employees and explain why it’s important to care over their devices.
You should also train your staff regularly on how to identify and report malicious threats.
Here’s a step-by-step approach for training your employees on cybersecurity policies and best practices:
1. Familiarize your employees with any cybersecurity policies in place and their importance.
2. Teach your employees the importance of using strong passwords and changing them regularly.
3. Make creating backups a priority.
4. Explain how using unauthorized software poses a threat to the organization’s security.
5. Familiarize your employees with email phishing and how to detect it.
6. Enforce strict rules about giving unauthorized individuals access to work devices.
7. Make it clear to your employees that they’re accountable when they use the company’s payment cards.
8. Implement live fire practice attacks to make cybersecurity security best practices a habit.
Legal and Regulatory Cybersecurity Policy Requirements
A cybersecurity policy should meet the legal and regulatory cybersecurity requirements of your country or region. These include:
- EU Cybersecurity Act
- EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
- NIS Directive
- Homeland Security Act (2002)
To recap, cybersecurity policies are essential for protecting your organization from cyber threats and maintaining compliance. It’s also important that you regularly review and update your cyber security policy.
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