What is an Information Security Policy? Definition, Importance, & Examples

Whether they know it or not, most businesses have some form of an information security policy. That’s because most businesses have security, confidentiality, and information disclosure protocols. However, many smaller businesses don’t have official documentation highlighting their standards.

This is a problem. Without official documentation, it’s difficult to prove it if an employee breaches policy. It also makes your security measures confusing for trainees. In certain industries, this document is also required to meet compliance.

If you haven’t already done so, this article will help you get started on building your information security documentation. We’ll provide a definition, an example of why it’s important, highlight some examples, and give you a template.


Information Security Policy Definition

An information security policy (or ISP) is a set of security protocols, rules, and procedures that companies implement to protect sensitive information. An effective ISP should clearly define who is responsible for which security controls and how they should use them.

It should also explain your company’s high-level security standards and the importance of maintaining your data’s confidentiality, integrity, and secure storage. You may also include the consequences of failing to adhere to these standards.


Why Is it Important to Have an Information Security Policy?

The main reason why you need a concrete ISP is to provide your employees with clear standards to follow. This is an essential tool in security training that will decrease your risk of security incidents.

Many compliance regulation standards also require a documented ISP. If you need one for this reason, make sure you include specific policies on what your team needs to do to maintain your company’s compliance. Compliance standards that require ISPs include:

  • GDPR
  • NIST

Your ISP should also tell your employees what to do in the face of a security threat. Having these procedures in writing increases your data protection and may help relieve some staff anxiety.


Enhance Your Cyber Security Awareness With Further Reading


Information Security Policy Examples

You may create multiple ISPs for different information technology needs. It’s not uncommon for companies to have different security objectives for their networks, emails, servers, etc. In this case, you should clearly highlight your specific standards for each situation. If you’re not sure how many ISPs you need, a risk assessment may help you figure that out.

Examples of specific ISPs include:


Access Control Policy

A set of rules and procedures that indicate who can access what data. You should define job titles, departments, and unique circumstances that grant access to specific information. Make sure your policy takes remote workers and BYOD (bring your own device) into consideration if applicable.


Data Classification Policy

This policy highlights how to store information based on its sensitivity level. For example, public marketing information doesn’t need the same protection as your clients’ personal data. Compliance regulations may affect how you handle information under this policy.


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Physical Security Policy

It’s important to remember that physical security breaches can compromise data security. If someone steals a computer that holds information, that person may be able to access it. So, you can write a policy that explains how your employees should handle such devices.


Social Media Policy

Social media accounts are the number one target for hackers. Therefore, it’s crucial for you to have strict policies on your social media account usage. Include password regulations, Wi-Fi connectivity rules, and limited employee access controls in this policy.


Network Security Policy

Network security policies are focused on protecting your company’s network and its assets. Outline who can access your network and what can be uploaded onto it. You may include which websites or software cannot be accessed on your company network. This policy also has incident response procedures and management standards.


Mobile Device Policy

Letting staff connect their mobile devices to your company’s Wi-Fi is common. There is nothing inherently wrong with allowing this. However, it does mean that you need security rules to stop malware from entering your network via this connection. A mobile device policy would clearly highlight these rules.


Information Security Policy Template

To help you get started, here is an information security policy template for small business usage. You may save and adjust this template as necessary to scale it to your specific business needs.

Please note that this sample information security policy template is a high-level overview. You will probably need to create a longer document for your actual copy. You may also add more categories as it suits your company.


OSG_Information Security Policy Template


Talk to a Managed Services Provider to Establish a More Comprehensive Information Security Policy

You can use the information in this article to start creating your policy, but getting expert advice is strongly recommended. IT consultants have worked with plenty of other organizations and will be well-equipped to help you solidify your best practices.

Outsource Solutions Group has been helping businesses enhance their cybersecurity since 1998. We’ve worked with organizations of all sizes across the Chicagoland region and would be glad to meet yours.

Our extensive cyber experience means that we’re ready to help you assess your network and verify every protocol’s effectiveness. Get in touch with us today to get started.

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