Why an IT Security Policy is Essential for Your Business

Cybersecurity is essential to business survival. Threats are everywhere and are constantly changing. If your business is not taking steps to implement a cybersecurity strategy, you face the imminent risk of ransomware, a breach of customer and employee data, or loss of sensitive trade information and intellectual property.

Many of our clients say that the most intimidating part of implementing a cybersecurity plan is getting started. One common approach is to hire a trusted and skilled consultancy, such as NaviSec. Others may feel that they don't have the budget for a consultant or prefer to feel more educated on the topic before making a significant investment. Regardless of which category you fit into, we recommend using a clear policy framework as a starting point.

Establishing a solid foundation for cybersecurity through policy can take some of the liability off your shoulders while also providing a place for your team to start discussing the unique risks faced by your business. From here, you can begin to develop a clearer picture of how to best protect your data, brand, and reputation.

In certain industries you will face regulatory issues in establishing key compliance benchmarks that are crucial for growth and access to markets, such as HIPAA in the healthcare sector. Innovative small to mid-size businesses are increasingly seen as strong contenders for government contracts, but face tight standards for compliance. If adhered to, strong cybersecurity policies can streamline self-evaluations leading up to certifications or important contract bids.

IT security policies can empower your staff to make (and communicate) important changes as quickly and efficiently as possible. For example, a client had recommended that staff enable multi-factor authentication on their work email accounts for more than a year, with minimal adoption. Setting a specific date for mandatory compliance during their annual IT policy review allowed the company to communicate the change without being confrontational or accusatory toward employees who had lagged behind, resulting in a smooth onboarding of all staff over a two-week period.

Lastly, having a clear policy is critical to crisis management. While few employees will read a policy manual line-by-line, think of it as the fire exit map on your hotel room door. You rarely read it when checking in, but you have an expectation of where it should be if the need arises. If a cybersecurity crisis hits your business, a clear set of policies can save valuable time and prevent catastrophe.

At NaviSec, we recommend that our customers review and use SANS policies as a starting point for their businesses. However, the tedious and time consuming nature of editing relevant information to match your business is a common barrier that prevents companies from taking action.

In response to this need, we have created a free tool, available at policy.navisec.io, that anyone can use to generate free IT security policies sourced from a SANS baseline. While we recommend customizing policies to fit your business more closely, our IT Security Policy Generator can make it less intimidating to start this important process.

We feel strongly that improving the cybersecurity posture of the business community benefits us all, whether you're partnering with NaviSec, a competitor, or just beginning your journey.

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