As the Customer Success Manager at Securicy, a huge part of my job is to recommend the steps for implementing an information security program. So, I’ve seen first-hand what happens when companies fail to implement programs successfully. Policies and procedures are the foundation of any program. Why policies and procedures? Let’s find out.
Sets a Baseline
At Securicy we have helped many companies develop and implement information security programs. We always recommend starting with policies and procedures as the first step in the implementation as it helps set the baseline for your infosec program. If you try to implement a program without the framework and guidance of policies and procedures, how can your program be successful?
Policies and procedures outline every team member’s responsibilities at your company, from the CEO to the newly hired intern. These documents will help your company by defining best practices that secure not only your company and employees but also your reputation and client data.
As your company grows, you may be required to have a formal audit performed or to demonstrate proof of your information security program. Your policies and procedures demonstrate to auditors or prospective clients that you take security seriously and have a defined program within your company. Trying to develop and implement policies and procedures in a rush to meet a deadline for an audit will only lead to issues in the future.
Taking your time to set the baseline of your information security program will help to not only secure your company but will allow your company to grow and secure new business.
Helps to Engage Your Employees
Policies and procedures define who does what in the security program. We have touched on the concept of making information security as part of your company culture. Your employees are on the front lines and, in most cases, are the weakest link when it comes to your infosec program.
Once your policies and procedures are defined they outline what your employees are responsible for, educates them on the best practices, and can be a method for explaining why your company takes security seriously.
If your employees do not understand why they need to use secure passwords, why they should not give away confidential information to anyone who asks, or what they need to do to secure themselves or your company it may lead to an eventual data loss or a possible security incident. Your employees not knowing what a qualifies as a security incident is or the process for reporting the incident could lead to fines, legal issues, or a decline in your company’s reputation.
Having policies and procedures defined, communicated, and actively reviewed helps to not only engage your employees with the infosec program but secures your company at the same time.
Hope for the best and never implement anything is the wrong strategy
It will never be a great time to start implementing an infosec program. It will be time-consuming, can cause unexpected costs, and can delay business. Many companies for the best possible time to implement something or want to try an implement everything quickly at one time. This usually leads to poor or short-lasting results.
Infosec programs take time and patience. Policies and procedures can help set the baseline and will provide, at the very least, basic information security best practices in your company. Starting with the policies and procedures helps to break a large project of eventual audits and certifications into a smaller section. It will also help to address shortcomings that will be brought to light when implementing your policies and procedures.
Start with your policies and procedures and go from there. Do not wait for the perfect time to implement your program because there is no perfect time. Starting with the first step of having policies and procedures will then lead you to grow and develop the program as your company scales.
Understanding the consequences of what can happen if you do not follow your company’s information security program is vital.
Each employee has the responsibility of representing and securing your company, they must understand how important it is in relation to their daily activities at your company. Defining the disciplinary actions, such as the denial of access, legal penalties, and/or dismissal helps to outline what can happen if you fail to take security seriously.
Employees should be aware of what a violation of security policies is and that it must be reported to their supervisor or other authorized representative. All employees need to be held accountable and are not be above any policy.