No one will forget the major cybersecurity breaches that made international news – the U.S. IRS, Pentagon, and State Department, the retailer Target, and the credit reporting enterprise, Experian. These made international news because of the sheer size of these organizations and the number of people whose personal information was compromised.
But many more cyber breaches occur on a daily basis. In one day in 2018, in fact, there were 80,000. These were breaches of smaller companies and organizations. Hackers have discovered that, while the volume of information that can be gathered is smaller, the cybersecurity systems are less tight, and they can breach multiple organizations in short periods of time.
No matter what size your business is, you must have strong enterprise cybersecurity systems of course, and, just as important, develop a policy that regulates the behaviors of everyone within the organization as well as any outside individual or organization doing business with your organization.
Let’s unpack the steps to creating a cybersecurity policy that is effective and comprehensive.
Employees need to understand what cybersecurity is, why it is critical, and that everyone has a role to play in the protection of that security. Many employees will not be tech-savvy, so this portion of the policy must be simply written. Avoid tech jargon and explanations of the IT systems in place for protection. In short, this introductory content should include the following:
These sections should include detailed explanations of all the records and data that are protected by this policy. It will define these and the responsibilities and behaviors that every employee must adapt to protect them. Generally, these sections should cover the following:
This part of your policy will be the most important because it is the “meat” of your cybersecurity efforts. One of the most critical elements of these policy sections is that the details are clear. And they must be written in the simplest terms possible so that all employees can fully understand. If you do not have the wherewithal to compose this content, then it is time to look for an outside writing source with the personnel who can do this. Get Good Grade is one potential source, with experts who can take your information and reduce it to simplistic and clear content, or take your already written content and edit and polish it so that you have a document that is perfectly composed, with no room for confusion or misunderstanding.
There are several operations and systems in place through your IT department that work to protect your data. What types of infrastructure does this department have in place. Is certain sensitive data placed in the cloud? How secure is the cloud? Are they local systems in place that are utilizing the latest security systems? Is access to sensitive data clearly defined and provided with timelines for that access? Specifically, this section should include the following:
This part of the policy will clearly define the positions (not the people) who will be responsible for each aspect of the cybersecurity systems in place, down to the everyday employees who are not charged with putting the systems in place. Their roles are defined earlier in the policy.
Certain positions should be responsible for maintenance and updating systems and ensuring that those updates are passed on to all employees and outside contractors.
There should be detailed and clear processes in place as a breach should occur. Obviously, identifying the source and determining the solution will be the responsibility of the IT staff. But it will be up to others in the organization to report the breach to employees, to customers, and to outside contractors.
The security breach that occurred with Target was a “backdoor” hack through an outside contractor, and this risk must be of concern. The guide should include the types of security protocols required of any third-party doing business with the organization. These protocols should be documented and reported to a single individual for review and confirmation. And as stronger protocols are developed, these third-parties should be required to adopt them.
If your business is related to healthcare, for example, there are HIPPA requirements; in dealing with foreign-based organizations, there are Homeland Security requirements in place. Someone should be in charge of reviewing any related laws and regulations, along with updates, and make sure that they are in place. There are strong penalties and fines for non-compliance.
Cybersecurity is not something that can be taken lightly, nor can an organization ever let up on the constant monitoring, updating, and rapid response to any threat. Organizations that suffer breaches damage their reputation, the trust of their customers, and incur a great deal of financial liability. Hackers are consistently getting smarter and more agile – you must be even more so.
Jessica Fender is a copywriter and blogger at the writing service with a background in marketing and sales. She enjoys sharing her experience with like-minded professionals who aim to provide customers with high-quality services.