Security Policies & Procedures Development Services

Information Security and Privacy Program

Cyber Security Operation Consulting Firm, Cybersecurity Program Maturity, and Strategy Advisement are focused on helping Security Leaders with a customized methodology refined over thousands of global engagements to help analyze an organization’s current security maturity levels and roadmap according to their unique environment and industry.

Our cybersecurity program maturity can range from a reactive, fundamental state to a world-class, adaptive program; Risk Cognizance’s maturity assessment evaluates your security program against industry best practices. Our maturity assessments take a holistic approach to gauging an enterprise’s security program, utilizing industry best practices and frameworks. A maturity assessment will provide management with the information necessary to understand the risks and maturity of its information security program.

Security policies are only part of an effective security program. An effective security program is not event-driven; it is a life cycle approach that calls for continuous improvement. Risk Cognizance’s Governance, Risk, Compliance team designs policies for businesses of all sizes. With general IT security knowledge, knowledge of compliance requirements, and security frameworks, TrustedSec can provide policies that are meaningful to both company culture and business outcomes.


Information Security Policy Development

A policy for information security is a formal high-level statement that embodies the institution’s course of action regarding the use and safeguarding of institutional information resources. The policy statement should communicate the institution’s beliefs, goals, and objectives for information security. It also provides institutional leaders with an opportunity to set a clear plan for information security, and describe their role in supporting the institution’s missions and its commitment to comply with relevant laws and regulations.

To be effective, AND information security policy must:

  • Require compliance (i.e., it should be mandatory to the intended audience)

  • Be implementable (e.g., impact on legacy systems and current infrastructure)

  • Be enforceable. (i.e., failure to comply should result in disciplinary actions)

  • Be brief and easy to understand

  • Balance protection with productivity

Also, the information security policy should:

  • State why the policy is needed (i.e., business reasons, to ensure compliance with laws, regulations, contracts, and other policies)

  • Express leadership support for the role of information security in the carrying out of the institution’s missions,

  • Focus on desired behaviors (e.g., acceptable use) and outcomes

  • Define roles and responsibilities

  • Outline the standards and procedures to be followed.

Elements to be included in information security policies

A careful balance must be reached to ensure that the policy enhances institutional security by providing enough detail so that community members understand their expected role and contribution but not so much detail that the institution is exposed to unnecessary risk.

Some elements to be included in information security policies include the following:

  • Policy statement: Statement of expected behavior, actions, or outcome. The policy statement may also list exclusions (e.g., people or activities expressly excluded from applying the policy).

  • Who the policy applies to: This section states the policy’s people, units, or departments. This section may also list users who must follow the procedure as part of their job responsibilities.

  • Policy rationale: The reason for the policy, including any business rationale or legal or regulatory reasons for the procedure.

  • Policy definitions: This section should define any words of art that are used in the policy.

  • Compliance language: This section states how the institution will enforce the policy.

  • Person responsible: This section states who is responsible for answering questions about the policy.

  • Related documents: This section lists any other documents related to the policy, such as standards, guidelines, or procedures, that must be consulted to follow the policy.

  • Policy history: This section lists the revision history of the policy and any substantial changes that have occurred over time.

Information Security Policy Frameworks

Several frameworks can be used as a foundation for the subject matter included in an institution’s information security policy. These frameworks can be used as the basis of one significant, overarching information security policy or for more minor policies devoted to discrete information security topics. Higher education institutions have found success following either model. At the end of this page, the Standards box lists a few popular industry frameworks/standards that may be consulted when drafting information security policies. ISO 27001 (Used by 22% of responding institutions)

  • NIST 800-53/FISMA (Used by 20%)

  • CIS Critical Security Controls (Used by 18%)

Choosing the proper policy framework is all about what will work best for the institution and its missions. Institutions of higher education should consider the following when selecting a framework for their information security policy:

  • What works for the institution?

  • What has not worked before?

  • What fits the institution’s culture?

  • What regulatory requirements must be met?

  • What are the organizational drivers?

  • What future technology is on the institution’s roadmap?

  • What resources (staff, budget, skillsets) are needed to obtain the desired outcomes?

Policy Review and Update Process

Most higher education institutions will have a documented systematic policy review process (e.g., annually) toensure that policies are kept up to date and relevant. In some institutions, a policy owner or manager would be the individual who would determine the need for a new policy or the update to an existing policy. In other institutions, the role of policy manager may be played by the Business Owner (e.g., the Chief informatiInformationof reviewin Officer may be the owner/manager of the information security policy.) We use the term policy manager in this section.

information security policy manager

In most instances, the information security policy manager will review and update the policy at the required intervals or when external or internal factors require the review and update of the policy. The following are the most common factors that would prompt a review of the institution’s information security policy.

  • Changes in Federal or State laws and regulations

  • Changes in technology (e.g., increased use of mobile devices on campus)

  • Major information security project deployments (e.g., deployment of Mobile device Management (MDM)

  • Audit findings

  • Policy format changes (e.g., new policy management function and process)

  • Increased reliance on third-party service providers (e.g., outsourcing, cloud)

  • New business practices (e.g., online education, telecommuting, telemedicine)

review and update the information security policy

The process to review and update the information security policy should include many of the steps identified in the Getting Started section of this chapter. Many institutions have a “policy on policies,” or a process to follow to implement institution-wide policies from inception to maintenance and review. That document may also list steps to follow to properly update an institutional policy. At a minimum, the policy manager must:

  1. Document needed changes

  2. Make changes to a draft version of the policy

  3. Ensure stakeholder review if necessary. For instance, if the policy changes are significant or alter the intent of the original policy, then the policy manager will want to ensure the changes are vetted by impacted subject matter experts and business owners, information security, legal counsel, human resources if applicable, any other applicable steering committee

  4. Publish, communicate, train, and implement according to the institution’s policy management process.

Standards, Guidelines, and Procedures

Policies are not the only documents that end users should look to when trying to understand an institution’s information security stance. While policies may state the high-level institutional goals around expected information security behaviors and outcomes, other documents may be used to state a threshold of acceptable behavior, step-by-step processes to follow, or recommended (but not required) actions to take. You may see these other types of documents used in an institution’s information security program to supplement information security policies. The hierarchy for institutional governance documents is typically:

  • Policies: The highest level of a governance document. Policies typically have general applicability and they rarely change (or are hard to change). They are leadership’s high level statement of information security goals and expectations.

  • Standards: Standards state the actions needed to meet policy goals. They are more specific than policies and easier to update in response to changing circumstances. Often standards set the minimum level of action needed to comply with a policy.

  • Procedures: Procedures are often step-by-step checklists that are particular to a task, technology, or department. They are easily updated in response to changing technical or business influences.

  • Guidelines: Guidelines are documents that specify recommended actions and advice. Institutional employees may not be required to follow guidelines as part of their jobs, but the guidelines are shared in order to promote good information security hygiene practices. Guidelines are flexible and easily updated.

 cybersecurity POLICIES Short list

  • Network Security Policy

  • Patching Policy

  • Password Policy

  • Supplier Security Policy

  • Cloud Security Policy

  • Backup and Recovery Policy

  • Endpoint Protection Policy

  • Security Awareness Policy

  • Social Media Policy

  • Employment Policy

  • Security Policy

  • Acceptable Use Policy

  • Access Control Policy

  • Contingency Planning Policy

  • Data Classification Policy

  • Change Management Policy

  • Incident Response Policy

  • Record Retention Policy

  • Physical Security Policy

  • Web Access Policy

  • Cybersecurity Policy

Updating and auditing cybersecurity procedures

Our experts and proven frameworks provide deep understanding of business and compliance needs. Govern and protect your business, data, users and assets. Deliver trust when you connect policy, analytics and controls across your entire business. Identify and respond to threats quickly and confidently. AI provides continuous insights to find critical threats faster and respond more efficiently. Security implications change as workloads move from on-premises to cloud. Automate, centralize and simplify with cloud security services.

An updated cybersecurity policy is a key security resource for all organizations. Without one, end users can make mistakes and cause data breaches. A careless approach can cost an organization substantially in fines, legal fees, settlements, loss of public trust, and brand degradation. Creating and maintaining a policy can help prevent these adverse outcomes