One initiative all businesses should maintain as a best practice is to maintain a clear set of cybersecurity policies and procedures. Today’s vast array of systems, both internally and on the cloud, are integral toward business growth, providing a wealth of user information and added flexibility and speed that businesses use to their benefit. But these systems expose threats and lead to security breaches that can cause havoc. Whether they come as cyber attacks, phishing, malware, or from people inside your organization, compromising data is a huge risk to your business. Developing solid management programs that boost safety makes all the difference.
Here is a guide to formulating strong cybersecurity policies and procedures to ensure your internal and cloud systems stay safe and efficient.
The Role of a CISO
Due to the technical information you need to know and the time it takes to develop effective cybersecurity policies and procedures, many businesses enlist a CISO (Chief Information Security Officer). In other cases, hiring an outside Managed Service Provider (MSP) is the best answer for reduced cost since they are available when you need them. We offer a vCIO service (virtual Chief Information Officer) at a lower price than the cost of a full-time CISO.
If you are looking to set up your cybersecurity policies and procedures information without the aid of a CISO, there are reliable sources that outline basic security procedures for a wide range of needs. Some popular sources include SANS, NIST (National Institute for Standards and Technology) Cybersecurity Framework, and the Center for Internet Security.
Enforcing the Rules
To ensure your cybersecurity policies and procedures are followed, your organization should provide full support for your programs. The more these security initiatives and procedures are followed, the more effective your protections will be, and the less risk you will face as a company.
Unfortunately, CISOs are often blamed for security issues because it is their job to prevent them. But in reality, most security issues are caused by the organization, and many times the company works actively against CISO initiatives due to the need to hit essential business objectives. But these actions only work to reduce your security.
When your cybersecurity policies and procedures are laid out, it is best to maintain them throughout your organization, including upper-level management, and in conjunction with business goals.
When it all comes down to it, the ultimate responsibility for following cybersecurity policies and procedures should fall on each individual. Clearly outline each employee’s responsibilities, so there are no misunderstandings. And if any changes to the information and policies are needed, it is best to put it in writing. If guidelines aren’t treated seriously, one procedure will be skipped, and soon others will follow.
Security Education and Training
Your IT staff requires ongoing education and training to ensure the latest information on cybersecurity policies and procedures are adapted to your business. However, this can be a bit different when using a Managed Service Provider. We handle this training on our own, which helps reduce cost and time.
Teaching your cybersecurity policies and procedures to all your employees, including management staff, should start at the onboarding process and continue annually with a refresher course; this way, they stay updated on new information and programs and understand the importance of security procedures.
Provide all employees with a full, written copy of the policies and procedures. Since this information is often extensive, it also helps to reduce a copy to highlight what is most relevant to them. And to make it easier to follow, set up a presentation where you phrase the information in a language they understand.
For remote staff, maintaining cybersecurity policies and procedures requires shared network protection via the cloud as well as local protection. This means employees will need to make manual changes to the programs on their devices. Having clear and simple training in place is the best way to ensure your procedures are followed correctly.
Tracking security breaches internally isn’t done enough due to the cost, time, and lack of program tools to do it. And because it reduces the momentum of business objectives, tracking is put on the back burner, leading to a higher risk of security issues.
This is where an outside security service can help. Using one helps reduce the time and energy spent on these initiatives. As a Managed Service Provider (MSP), we develop and implement security audits and tracking without disrupting your organization’s goals or your employees. Tracking helps catch some of the most significant issues today, such as malware, phishing, content exploitation, and cloud-based services problems, and should be part of your cybersecurity best practices.
In many cases, social engineering is implemented without causing strain on the organization. Spotting which individuals are more prone to shouting out passwords or passing along sensitive information on devices can halt issues in their tracks.
Enforce Regular Software and System Updates
Today’s business juggles multiple systems, and each program needs updating on a regular basis. To reduce the risk of viruses, system updates are often required of all employees from interns to upper level management. It is often done when they log into a network, rather than letting them opt into it. Though this can seem aggressive and slow business for a bit, but cyber attacks are ruthless and require strong measures to block them. You can still create warnings or let employees opt in for the upgrade, but in the end, it is best that the upgrade stays mandatory.
One integral action to be included in your cybersecurity policies and procedures is conducting nightly data backups. This reduces the risk of ransomware attacks, helping you restore program systems to the previous day’s data for minimal loss. And it’s simple to implement. To ensure these backups are done correctly, it is best to test them annually.
Staying Current with Policies and Procedures
Since policies, procedures, and standards change over time, they need to be continually updated, which typically involves an audit. This is an important service we conduct regularly.
Many organizations, such as those in the healthcare and insurance fields, are highly regulated and must stay fully compliant with government programs and regulations or risk fines and loss of their licenses. Ensuring full compliance in your cybersecurity policies and procedures is integral. Your procedures should allow for regular updates internally and on the cloud, and be evaluated annually. We have experience in these fields and know how important these policy inclusions are.
These helpful tips to start you on your way to building effective security best practices and effective cybersecurity procedures. For more information and to learn more about our vCIO program, contact us here.