An IT security policy lays out the rules regarding how an organization’s IT resources can be used. The policy should define acceptable and unacceptable behaviors, access controls, and potential consequences for breaking the rules.
An IT security policy should be based on an organization’s business goals, information security policy, and risk management strategy. By outlining access controls and acceptable use, an IT security policy defines the corporate digital attack surface and level of acceptable risk. The IT security policy also lays a foundation for incident response by defining how users may be monitored and the actions that may be taken if the policy is violated.
The goal is to clearly lay out the rules and procedures for using corporate assets. This includes information directed both to end users and to IT and security staff. IT security policies should be designed to identify and address an organization’s IT security risks. They do so by addressing the three core goals of IT security (also called the CIA triad):
These three goals can be achieved in a variety of different ways. An organization may have multiple IT security policies targeting different audiences and addressing various risks and devices.
An IT security is a written record of an organization’s IT security rules and policies. This can be important for several different reasons, including:
An organization’s IT security policies should be designed to fit the needs of the business. They can be a single, consolidated policy or a set of documents addressing different issues.
Despite this, all organizations’ IT security policies should contain certain key information. Whether as standalone documents or sections in a larger one, a corporate IT security policy should include the following:
Beyond these core policies, an IT security policy can also include sections targeted at an organization’s specific needs. For example, a company may need Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) or remote work policies.
When writing an IT security policy, a good starting point is established best practices. Organizations like the SANS Institute have published templates for IT security policies.
These templates can then be edited to meet an organization’s unique needs. For example, a company may need to add sections to address unique use cases or tailor language to fit corporate culture.
An IT security policy should be a living document. It should be regularly reviewed and updated to meet the evolving needs of the business.
As you draft your IT security policies, consider Check Point products and services. Learn how to efficiently support and enforce your corporate IT security policy by reading this whitepaper. Then, see the power of Check Point’s integrated security platform for yourself with a free demo.