As cybersecurity threats change each year, it is critical for organizations to implement up-to-date security controls that can keep digital assets safe year-round. The best way to oversee the implementation of these controls is with the help of strategies and policies for information security. Read on to learn more about information security policies in 2022 and beyond.
How to Develop Policies for Information Security in 2022
An information security policy is critical to the implementation and governance of any cybersecurity program. Robust policies for information security will help your organization effectively safeguard its sensitive digital assets and mitigate cyberattacks.
To help you optimize your organization’s security posture, this blog will cover:
- Strategies for developing information security policies
- Examples of widely-implemented policies for information security
Regardless of the superb design of your security policy, it can fail to achieve its goals if it is poorly implemented. However, developing policies for information security in partnership with a security advisor will ensure their effectiveness in the short and long term.
Best Practices for Developing a Security Policy
In general, developing a security policy for any organization can depend on several factors.
Whether it’s the specific industry your organization falls under or its geographic location, policies for information security should be developed based on current and anticipated security needs.
The same can applies to information security strategies.
Whereas these may stand alone during the implementation of security controls, a robust policy should integrate information security strategies into its structure and overall guidance.
Luckily, there are several places to start when developing security policies to secure your IT infrastructure and sensitive data from cybersecurity threats.
Leverage Regulatory Compliance Frameworks
One of the most important considerations for developing strategies and policies for information security in 2022 is regulatory compliance. Depending on your industry, location, or the type of data you handle, you may be required to comply with one or more security frameworks.
Examples of widely-applicable frameworks that keep your data safe year-round include:
- The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)
- The Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standards (DSS)
- The HITRUST CSF
The guidelines and best practices outlined in these regulatory frameworks help streamline the implementation of security controls, keeping sensitive data safe at rest and in transit.
Furthermore, compliance with the requirements pre-built into regulatory frameworks will simplify the overall development of a security policy. For example, PCI DSS Requirement 12 mandates organizations that handle cardholder data (CHD) to maintain an active security policy.
Controls your policy needs to address formally for compliance include but are not limited to:
- Encrypting CHD during its transmission across open, public networks
- Minimizing the storage of CHD except when strictly required for a business need
- Conducting ongoing penetration testing to identify threats and vulnerabilities
For organizations in healthcare and those adjacent to it, compliance with frameworks like HIPAA and the HITRUST CSF helps them stay current with security trends across the industry, more so when the framework is frequently updated. Developing and implementing strategies and policies for information security based on regulatory compliance will keep controls current and data safe.
Conduct a Risk Assessment of Your Infrastructure
Although regulatory compliance can help manage most cybersecurity risks, your organization must remain cyber vigilant to mitigate security threats from developing into attacks. Without understanding the types of risks your organization faces, your security policy will likely not be as effective in preventing threats from becoming full-blown attacks.
You might also encounter challenges promptly identifying gaps in the security controls you implement. Vulnerabilities will likely go unnoticed absent a formal oversight structure.
With the help of guidelines like the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) risk assessment criteria, you can conduct reliable cybersecurity audits of your IT infrastructure to:
- Identify threats to your critical assets
- Categorize risks based on industry threat rankings
- Prioritize vulnerability remediation efforts
Based on the findings of a NIST cyber risk assessment, you can then develop more robust controls and counter-defenses under the governance of your policies for information security.
Hire a CISO or vCISO for Security Oversight
The success of most strategies and policies for information security will likely depend on the level of dedicated oversight present at your organization.
IT security governance is not just a responsibility for the individuals staffing a helpdesk.
Instead, the training and experience of a cybersecurity professional are necessary to map out best practices and controls and tailor them to your organization’s unique security needs. Enlisting the services of a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) will help bridge the gap between the development of an effective security policy and its implementation.
More recently, the CISO role has evolved, with specialists providing dedicated security oversight as virtual CISOs and offering the same benefits as a typical CISO would—often at lower costs.
Information Security Policy Examples in 2022
Information security is critical to safeguarding sensitive data and maintaining business continuity. It all starts with developing reliable security policies and ensuring sufficient oversight to see them through to implementation and ongoing maintenance, as needed. But what are some examples of policies for information security? And how do they apply in practice?
The most common information security policy examples in 2022 include:
- Information classification policy – If you handle sensitive data such as protected health information (PHI), you need to account for its categorization as “high-risk” data and increase the effectiveness of security controls commensurately when it comes to:
- Maintaining data confidentiality and privacy
- Minimizing the impact of a data breach if one occurs
- Ensuring the availability of sensitive data to its owners
- Disaster recovery plan – If an unexpected event occurs and significantly impacts your digital assets, you must be prepared to restore them to their original state. To protect sensitive information like cardholder data (CHD), a disaster recovery plan helps guide:
- Data backups to secure off-site facilities
- Processes for monitoring system intrusion alerts
- Modification of incident response plans
- Access control policy – As one of the most common types of policies for governing the delegation of access privileges to any organization, irrespective of industry, location, or business need, an access control policy will help:
- Manage the implementation of role-based privileges
- Enforce security controls to restrict access to sensitive data environments
- Oversee access control systems in large, complex IT infrastructure
- Business continuity plan – When a security incident occurs, the natural response is for staff in any organization to panic. One of the most effective ways to guide incident response and the restoration of normalcy following a cyberattack is to use a business continuity plan for:
- Delegating staff roles and responsibilities during security incidents
- Preventing further data loss in the aftermath of a cyberattack
- Keeping critical systems online during an unexpected disaster
Regardless of which policies for information security apply to your organization’s unique needs, you will need an updated security policy to defend your assets from cybersecurity threats.
Whether you’re looking to build a security policy from scratch or optimize one, an experienced security advisor will guide you at each step of the process—helping you to mitigate threats and vulnerabilities from becoming sources of full-blown attacks.
Develop Reliable Security Policies in 2022 and Beyond
An established security policy will help you identify and mitigate security threats in today’s rapidly evolving cybersecurity landscape. With various recommendations of policies for information security to choose from, it’s best to work with a trusted security advisor like RSI Security to zero in on the right policy that will meet your unique cybersecurity needs.
Contact RSI Security today to learn more about information security policies!