What Are the Most Critical IT Policies Our Company Should Use?

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Company IT policies are like the lane markers on a highway. They keep traffic from going off course and becoming unmanageable. Without policies in place, a company’s IT infrastructure can suffer, become less secure, and be less efficient.

For example, without a policy on how passwords are to be secured and managed, employees are more likely to create passwords that are easy to hack and reuse those passwords over multiple accounts.

Other problems that occur can impact network security and equipment longevity. Such as employees not being guided in how to care for company-issued devices or the type of software that can be installed on their PCs.

Even if you’re a small business, you should have certain policies in place that govern the use of your technology in multiple ways. This helps to improve business continuity, productivity, and cybersecurity protections.

Here are some of the most critical policies you should be using.

Incident Response Policy

Using an incident response policy can significantly reduce the cost of a data breach. According to IBM’s Cost of Data Breach report, companies without a tested incident response policy paid 54.9% higher data breach costs than those that had one.

Your incident response policy will include instructions on how employees are to respond should any type of downtime incident happen, including:

  • Data breach
  • Ransomware attack
  • Malware infection
  • Loss of power due to storm or other natural disasters
  • Server crash
  • Downtime of a major SaaS provider
  • And other incidents

Cloud App Use Policy

If employees aren’t specifically given instructions on the cloud apps they can and can’t use for business data, companies will end up with what’s known as “shadow IT.” This is when people use unauthorized cloud apps for their work.

Many employees aren’t aware of the dangers of shadow IT, and more often than not companies don’t have cloud use policies that provide guidance.

Shadow IT can lead to data loss, excessive and redundant cloud subscription costs, and a breach of your sensitive customer data.

Your cloud use policy should include instructions for employees on apps they are authorized to use on their devices with business data and processes. It’s helpful to also include details on how someone can submit an app for consideration and approval to use.

Mobile Device Use/BYOD Policy

Mobile devices now make up about 60% of an organization’s endpoints. This is a major security risk if those devices aren’t managed as well as computers and servers.

This is especially the case when companies use a “bring your own device” (BYOD) policy, where employees use their personal devices for work. With business data and app access on many different types of personal devices, it’s vital to have a use policy in place.

Your mobile device policy should include security standards for devices that are used for business data (email, cloud app access, etc.), such as having mobile anti-malware, being updated regularly, and having physical safeguards like a screen lock.

Remote Work Policy

Remote working has become part of the corporate culture thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. More employees are working from home now than there ever have been, and many businesses plan to keep remote working around even after the pandemic has passed.

You should have a remote work policy in place that covers areas such as:

  • Security for remote workers (devices & network)
  • How remote workers are to check-in during the day
  • Hours expected to work
  • Any requirements for in-person meetings or office visits
  • How company-issued devices are to be handled/protected

Security Awareness & Training Policy

Companies that provide ongoing security awareness training for their employees can cut their risk of falling victim to a cyberattack by as much as 70%.

But that training doesn’t happen on its own, there needs to be a policy in place that provides guidance as to how often employees are trained and the different types of training to be used (e.g., in-person, webinar, self-training, online videos, etc.)

Cybersecurity Policy

You can’t leave your cybersecurity up in the air and think that it’s handled just by having antivirus and firewall in place. It’s critical to have a cybersecurity policy that includes details on several areas of your IT security and how it is to be handled.

Some the key areas that you should dictate guidelines for include:

  • Password security
  • Network security
  • Backups & disaster recovery
  • Device security (automated updates, DNS filtering, etc.)
  • Wi-Fi security when away from the office (e.g., use of a business VPN)
  • Compliance & data privacy needs
  • Data protection
  • Cloud security

Get Help With Commonsense IT Policies That Keep Your Team on Track & Your Data Protected

f12 can help your Toronto or Calgary business put together IT policies that make sense for your company’s IT infrastructure and future growth goals.