Many successful SMBs have developed a formal, documented IT security policy to govern operations both in their offices and in the field. These policies educate employees and guide behavior, in addition to protecting the business and adhering to compliance regulation. Equally important, successful SMBs conduct regular reviews of these policies and revise them as necessary to adjust to changes in their environments and business practices. If you do not have a security policy in place, follow best practices when developing a security policy with the help of your IT service provider. If you need help, feel free to reach out to Elley.
Identify roles and responsibilities
First, figure out who currently has access to infrastructure, critical data, and applications. Take note of your findings and assess whether or not each person needs the access they have assigned. Then, you can begin to limit or reinstate permission to access sensitive information and assets. For example, your accounting department should have access to things that creatives shouldn’t. You want to make sure there will be no uncertainty about who has access to what. When in doubt, it is always best practice to follow the principle of least privilege (POLP).
Define data retention policy and parameters
You will also need to implement a document retention policy. These types of guiding documents are especially consequential in certain regulated industries that require specific retention parameters. Defining a data retention policy is critical! There’s an increased risk of data being stolen or compromised when the data is kept beyond those specified dates.
Verify robust encryption is in use
Setting standards for encrypting your information is another essential section of a security policy. Implement AES-256 (Advanced Encryption Standard) encryption technology to secure data stored in the cloud, and use SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) or TLS (Transport Layer Security) encryption technology for data in transit. To be more secure, look for a data protection solution that uses private key encryption.
Adhere to compliance regulations
When developing a security policy, adhere your industry’s compliance regulations. Specific industries are more regulated than others, but you should always stay informed about any pertinent rules, and your security policy should address all issues necessary to help stay compliant. HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), for example, requires all covered entities to encrypt all their storage technologies for data at rest.
With cybercrime becoming an increasingly severe threat to small business, it’s not a question of if businesses need security; it’s a question of what level of protection does your business need. Keeping this in mind, you should make sure your business is adequately protected. It’s also important to start educating your employees as soon as possible. New cyber threats emerge every day, and there is no better defense than education. Take a proactive approach and start conversations and training dealing with cybersecurity now instead of waiting until after your company experiences a data breach or malware infection. As you hear so often, don’t wait until it’s too late.