Building a Comprehensive Information Security Policy for Your Small Business

In today’s digital age, small businesses face increasing cybersecurity threats that can jeopardise their operations and reputations. A robust information security policy is vital for safeguarding your company’s data and ensuring business continuity. In this blog, we will discuss the importance of an information security policy and provide a step-by-step guide to creating a tailored policy that addresses your small business security needs.

Why is an Information Security Policy Important?

Understanding the Growing Threats

An information security policy helps your organisation establish internal security standards that minimise the risk of a cyber attack. It also enables the development of an incident response plan, mitigating the impact of breaches and protecting your company network. Compelling statistics from Cybint Solutions highlight the urgency of implementing a security policy in the face of ever-evolving cybersecurity risks:

  • Computers are hacked every 39 seconds
  • 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses
  • 95% of security incidents result from human error
  • Company share prices drop by 7.27% on average after a breach

Creating an Information Security Policy: A Step-by-Step Guide

1. Assess Your Environment: Cybersecurity Risk Assessment

Begin by conducting a thorough evaluation of your organisation’s current security status. A cybersecurity risk assessment provides a comprehensive overview of your entire IT infrastructure, checks for compliance with relevant standards, and identifies security gaps. A gap analysis will compare your standing against established industry standards such as NIST SP 800-53 or ISO/IEC 27002.

2. Define Your Objectives: Aligning Business and IT Goals

Identify your business objectives or goals before developing your information security policy (ISP). Common goals for organisations include securing the business environment, protecting the company’s reputation, and achieving business alignment. Establish a clear vision and mission, outline tasks, set timelines, and define the roles and responsibilities of the implementation team. Your objectives should also address security requirements from regulations and business stakeholders.

3. Implement a Permissions Policy: Control Access to Data

Determine who has access to data within your organisation. A sample information security policy may include a hierarchical structure where high-level managers control access to specific data, and a network security policy where employees can access data only with the appropriate permission requirements (passwords, biometrics, ID cards, etc.).

4. Establish Data Classifications: Organising and Protecting Data

Sort your data based on its importance and value, and organise it systematically with a classification system. Possible classifications include:

  • Top Secret or Highly Confidential: Data protected by state or federal legislation (e.g., HIPAA)
  • Confidential: Data that a business owner considers crucial
  • Public Information: Data accessible to the public

Implement best practices such as encryption, firewalls, and anti-malware protection as well.

5. Engage All Employees: Cybersecurity Awareness Training

Informing and educating all employees is crucial. Cybersecurity awareness training effectively shares IT policies and communicates best practices, such as shredding documents, securing laptops, changing passwords regularly, and restricting access to specific sites like social media platforms. Include a business continuity plan in your strategy for optimal results.

6. Develop and Monitor Control Measures with Action Plans: Ensuring Continuous Improvement

Control measures help management oversee, regulate, and enhance aspects of your information security plan. Metrics enable the evaluation of your security coverage and track progress over time. Establish clear lower limits for control measures and outline actions to be taken if measures fall below an acceptable threshold.

Creating an effective information security policy can be a complex and challenging process, but it is essential for safeguarding your small business from potential cybersecurity risks. It requires extensive data analysis, assessment of your entire infrastructure, and alignment of IT goals with your business strategy. Outsourcing to a Managed Service Provider (MSP) like Surety IT can help you fast-track your information security programme, create a tailored plan, secure your organisation, and reduce costs.

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Take Action Today with Surety IT

Don’t leave your small business vulnerable to cyber threats. Contact Surety IT today to discuss your information security needs and learn how our team of experts can help you create a comprehensive, customised policy that protects your data and supports your business objectives. Click here to get started on your journey to a more secure and resilient business.

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About the author:

Picture of Ash Klemm

Ash Klemm

Ash has over 20 years of experience in sales and marketing. His journey from a casual salesperson at Chandlers to State Manager at a national IT distribution company, while battling health issues, including a double lung transplant in 2015, gave him the experience, know-how, tenacity, and marketing insight, to find solutions and help businesses grow. After spending several years in the ivory tower of state management, Ash missed the genuine connection of face to face meetings and helping make a difference to businesses in need. His authentic, conversational, and easy-going nature helps our customers feel at ease and shows them we are a brand to trust. Ash spends his days advocating for our customers to ensure they receive the best possible service in a timely fashion. Ash is also the in house chair builder. His curiosity and natural problem-solving ability make him the perfect first call for all our new customers to help determine what is wrong, how Surety IT can help and what the best solutions are moving forward.
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