Information security is a key component of keeping your organization’s data secure. Without proper information security, your company could be vulnerable to cyberattacks, data breaches, or leaks of company-sensitive information. Security policies include processes for accessing and handling information, whether on-site or remotely.
It is important to remember that a policy’s efficacy has nothing to do with its length. Policies that are too complex and cumbersome are rarely effective for a business. An effective policy is often only a few pages in length and captures the core elements that your organization values in a way that is clear and concise. The policy must also provide clear roles and responsibilities, as well as remediation steps.
Below, we take a brief look at 10 important security policies that your Massachusetts-based organization can develop and implement.
1. Security Incident Response Policy
Incidents are inevitable, and having an understanding of responsibilities, communication strategy, containment, and reporting processes is critical to minimizing loss and damage. This is a foundational policy that is required as a first step in an overall organizational incident response strategy.
2. Written Information Security Plan (WISP)
As of 2010, Massachusetts-based companies are required to have a WISP policy in place. This document provides the foundation of your organization’s security program. It provides the basis for your organization’s minimum security controls, its compliance requirements, and the security policies that support them. If your company experiences a data breach, you must report whether you have a WISP in place to the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation and the Attorney General's Office.
3. Asset Management Policy
Asset management is essential to understanding your company’s technology footprint, which is critical in order to provide foundational security controls.
4. Acceptable Use Policy
This policy defines the acceptable use of any system, network, or resource. All employees, contractors, and third parties should have a clear understanding of what an organization’s resources can and cannot be used for prior to being granted access.
5. System and Device Baseline Security Policy
Before they are put into use, systems and network devices should always have a minimum security configuration implemented. This policy is a requirement of many security frameworks and defines what is needed for device and operating system baseline hardening.
6. Account and Password Policy
More than just setting minimum password length and complexity, this policy should define the different types of accounts, their use and management lifecycle, and any additional controls to be used such as one-time passwords (OTP) or multi-factor authentication (MFA).
7. Security Logging Policy
Centralized logging is essential to monitoring, response, and investigation during security incidents. Implementing a sound logging policy and strategy prior to a security incident will make response and mitigation much more effective.
8. Endpoint Security Policy
This policy defines the minimum security controls that will be put in place on a company’s endpoints. Providing a sound endpoint security solution and strategy can be one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of a successful attack.
9. Vulnerability Management Policy
Vulnerability management is essential to understanding your organization’s risk posture as well as how effective system and device patching processes are.
10. Mobile Device Management and Access Policy
A mobile device management and access policy is essential for any organizations that have a mobile workforce, and it can be critical to ensure secure remote access. This policy defines what types of devices can access an organization’s resources and what minimum controls are required for authorization.
Additional Security Policy Considerations
Depending on your company’s environment, other policies you may consider developing to support your data security include:
- Cloud services policy
- Cloud provider governance (Azure/AWS/GCP)
- Encryption policy
- Penetration testing policy
- Privileged access management (PAM) policy
- Perimeter security policy
Once you’ve developed these policies, it is important to build regular reporting and auditing processes to confirm that the policies in place are working and fit business needs. As your organization grows, your security compliance efforts should grow along with the business.
It can be overwhelming to figure out where to start developing your company’s security posture or to audit your existing policies. Working with a managed services provider (MSP) can ease the burden by allowing you to rely on engineers with extensive industry experience. MSP architects stay current with changing technologies and techniques, so they are always ready to ensure your company’s data stays secure, whether you’re just starting out, looking for an assessment, or adapting and evolving your current policies.