We live in an era of increasing demands on businesses’ approach to cyber threats, combined with the necessary requirements of GDPR and other similar jurisdictional regulations. This all combines to demand of companies that they have a strict and effective cybersecurity policy in place – not having one is just not an option. But how do you produce a policy that successfully covers your operational needs at the same time as covering all regulatory demands? Here’s how…
Recognize your own levels of security
First and foremost, you must clearly understand what security measures you currently have in place, recognizing whether they are adequate or not. The starting point should always be your internal IT team – what do they think about how you are doing this, and where are the gaps?
Using an off-the-shelf security option is of course commonly employed by businesses, but I am always reticent to say that this is the best solution. Nobody knows your business and your processes the way that you, or your team do, and so you are best placed to decide what your security looks like – there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Get your internal team on board and brainstorm all of the necessary points that need to be covered by your cybersecurity policy – be as thorough as possible. Once you have covered everything, go over everything again to see if there are any gaps. Have you considered your infrastructure? How do you deliver information, and how could it be vulnerable? How will updates be delivered to ensure there are no fragile points in the system? All of this needs to be examined which your developers and infrastructure architects to cover all bases.
Then think about privacy and what information is able to be shared in the public domain. This is only your starting point, but it is a critical step.
Use a standard template
No one is asking you to reinvent the wheel here. Although no two businesses are exactly alike, there are standard cybersecurity policies that you can use as the bones of your document. Not only do they help avoid starting from scratch, which can be a daunting task, they assist in delivering ideas to the table – in fact, take the standard template into the initial meetings with your internal team to help set an agenda as to what needs to be covered. From there you can flesh it out to ensure it is covering every single aspect of your operations.
Are you compliant?
Your cybersecurity policy is not just what you want it to be – there are a number of essential points that it must follow, depending on the jurisdictional regulations of where you operate. If you are Europe-based, or indeed you trade with European customers, then you will be under the umbrella of the General Data Protection Regulation which was enacted in May 2018. Likewise, in California there is the California Consumer Privacy Act. What regulations are you covered by?
As an essential step, look at all the regulations that specifically cover your operations. If you are unsure, seek legal advice or contact an industry body who can advise on such considerations. Not being compliant can be disastrous in terms of repercussions, so it’s vital that you get his right from the beginning.
Consider staff and customers
It is one thing looking at everything you do from a process perspective, but you must also consider the human elements involved in your business. First of all, how does your policy cover staff, including all of the human error that can be factored into any processes and day-to-day activities – it is important that you consider practical activities, not just the way that you belief practices take place in theory. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, look at everything through the prism of customers – are you doing everything within your power to protect them and their data? Put yourself in their shoes – would you be happy with what you are delivering in terms of security guarantees?
Factor in accountability and contingency plans
The fact is cyberattacks can and do happen – do you hold yourself accountable in these circumstances, and what is your contingency plan in this situation? It is vital that any policy includes the steps to be made in the case of a worst-case scenario, and who is responsible and accountable in every single way. It is not the objective of these newly-appointed regulations to stop every possible threat – that is impossible – but instead ensure that businesses like yours and taking not just every possible precaution to prevent an incident, but also plan for the most effective response to restrict damage.
How does your policy present?
And when all is said and done, how does your cybersecurity policy actually look to those who seek it out? Does it appear to be comprehensive? Is it laid out in a sensical manner? Does it read well? It is important that your policy is not only well written but sufficiently proofread and edited. Fortunately there are an abundance of tools which can assist you in this practice. Utilize these services to ensure your cybersecurity policy presents in a way that does justice to its comprehensive and through conceived nature.