A solid governance framework

What are information security policies and procedures?

For both private and public organizations, the idea of implementing an information security program to protect your data from threats such as ransomware, denial of service, and phishing attacks can be overwhelming. Where do you start? Do you first install technical IT security countermeasures to protect your data from outside cyber-attacks, do you start training your staff on security awareness practices to address internal vulnerabilities, do you implement emergency management or business continuity plans to ensure you are ready to deal with a data breach incident, or do you immediately invest in a Security Operations Centre (SOC) service to constantly monitor your systems and data for active threats? Unless you are extremely confident that you have 'pin-pointed' your most serious vulnerabilities it can be difficult to know where to start.

With this in mind, one consideration is to first establish a solid governance framework of targeted policies and procedures that will guide a consistent execution of your information security priorities and commitments. It can be argued that once internal processes are in place to address internal vulnerabilities, investments in more technical countermeasures will be maximized.

Objectives of a security program

The primary objectives of Information Security policies and procedures are to provide guidance and direction to staff and management regarding the organization's approach and commitment to safeguarding its information. They lay out the expectations of all parties to play their role in preventing security incidents and inform clients that the organization takes the responsibility of protecting their information seriously.

Benefits of information security policies and procedures

  1. Prevention of Security Breaches: Security policies and procedures are a significant tool to prevent information security incidences and breaches from occurring and to protect clients, partners, employees, and intellectual property from threats.
  2. Setting Clear Expectations: Information security policies and procedures lay out the behavioral and performance expectations of each relevant party within the organization to uphold its commitment to protect its corporate confidential information. These expectations are designed to limit confusion regarding roles and responsibilities, as we all identify specific procedures for handling information.
  3. Organizational Commitment: having these policies and procedures in place sends a very strong signal to clients, partners, employees, suppliers, and regulators that your company is serious and committed to this priority.
  4. Enterprise Due Diligence: Information Security policies and procedures exercise a level of due diligence expected by clients and customers who are sending you their information and can be one of the first questions that are asked by regulators following the reporting of a data breach.
  5. Meet Insurance and other 3rd party Requirements: Often, having a framework of information security policies and procedures in place is a pre-requisite to secure cyber security insurance and for companies to meet tender or contract requirements with government entities.

Reducing your vulnerabilities

Security policies and procedures are essential for safeguarding a business's assets, reputation, and overall well-being. They are a strategic investment that pays dividends in terms of protection, compliance, and competitiveness.

Castellan Information Security Services can provide customers with valuable experience and skills to review your organizational framework for policies and procedures and develop/implement the right solutions.

We can help mitigate your risks with the development of:

  1. An Overarching Information Security Policy

The success of an information security program begins with the establishment of an 'organization-wide' policy that guides corporate efforts on this issue and communicates the following:

  • A commitment from the top that information security is a priority.
  • Why this is important to the organization and everyone within the organization.
  • An end-state 'vision' of where management strives to be with this priority.
  • How the organization will achieve this end-state.
  • An outline of the scope and key components of the information security program.
  • The roles, responsibilities and expectations of staff and key players involved in delivering the program.
  • Expectations and rules regarding the use of social media.
  • Secure password practices.
  • Requirements for two-factor authentication.
  1. Procedures for Handling Sensitive Information

How an organization and its employees process electronic and non-electronic information is where the 'rubber hits the road'. Without procedures in place to properly handle information, problems will occur. It is essential that procedures are developed, and training is conducted to ensure everyone is clear on the parameters covering how to securely collect, transport, access, transmit and share information. These procedures should also address proper archiving, storing, and destroying processes, and guidelines on the usage of portable storage devices.

  1. A Remote Work Policy

The increase in working from home or working from public locations requires a specific focus for organizations to manage the risks posed by this new dynamic. A Remote Work Policy is intended to outline expectations for employees/contractors regarding remote and work-from-home situations to ensure that unique information security risks posed by these situations are addressed. Examples of specific content for this policy include measures for using public Wi-Fi or using home Wi-Fi, enhanced Wi-Fi password protections, storing confidential information at home, using laptops with encrypted hard drives, and requiring the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to protect data against the increase risks posed by using Wi-Fi.

  1. Technology / Equipment Usage Policy

This policy is intended to outline the expectations of employees and contractors regarding the issuance, use, protection and management of corporate technical assets and equipment to best support information security. This policy can outline specific provisions regarding the use of corporate equipment such as prohibiting employees or contractors from downloading software from insecure Internet sites, performing local installations without a valid license, pirating software, or using personal software without authorization. 

What value can Castellan bring to your organization?

  1. Expertise: Castellan Information Security brings a combination of information security expertise, governance, and experience in policy development to develop a suite of, or individual, policies for your organization to enhance your enterprise-level approach to protecting your information.
  2. Reduce Risk and Costs: The development and implementation of security policies and procedures can reduce your risk of experiencing an information security breach and the costs / damages to an organization that can result. Castellan will ensure these policies are tailored to your unique organizational requirements while aligning with international standards and industry best practices.
  3. Support Cyber Security Insurance: Having policies and procedures in place can help facilitate the process and costs associated with applying for or renewing cyber security insurance coverage. We have a deep understanding of how security governance investments can be leveraged to improve your cyber security insurance experience.
  4. Peace of Mind: Castellan's assistance with developing a framework of security policies and procedures can provide leaders with an enhanced level of assurance that they have exercised due diligence to protect their organization. This governance framework also sends a strong message to staff, managers, clients, and partners that the organization's commitment to information security is backed up by a professional approach to security governance.
Unite Interactive