Online security should not be a concern for C-level executives and IT staff only. It should be every team member’s priority. One of the most effective ways to educate your employees and strengthen your company’s cybersecurity practices is to build a thorough cybersecurity policy.
A quality cybersecurity policy consists of several sections that focus on your company’s specific needs and industry. It defines clear cybersecurity rules for all employees to follow. However, what happens if a cybersecurity policy doesn’t focus on the right cybersecurity practices or doesn’t resonate with your employees? Let’s find out.
Affecting Brand Image and Performance
Apart from lost productivity, poorer sales, legal battles, and financial losses, data thefts may also result in a damaged brand reputation. That’s why companies that focus on building customer trust invest more in preventing and mitigating reputational damage.
Any severe data breach may make your company seem unsafe to do business with. Negative branding may harm brand loyalty and customer acquisition and retention practices, discouraging people from purchasing from you. Trust issues may take years to overcome, while some businesses never recover from them.
Impacting Business Continuity Management
Customer data remains a major target of online hackers. Whether they come from activist groups, organized cybercriminal groups, or individual hackers, well-planned data breaches may compromise your business continuity management. For example, distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks may take your systems out of business for several hours.
Precisely because of that, the number of companies investing in enterprise cloud computing is growing. By migrating to the cloud, enterprises can recover their data faster, ensure an uninterrupted workflow, and keep customers satisfied. This is where having a solid cybersecurity policy shines. Namely, it should explain how all team members should use and access third-party resources responsibly. The policy should define what cloud providers should be used, what security standards they should meet, and how employees should use and install cloud apps.
The Higher Risk of Human Error
Employees are often the weakest link in your company’s cybersecurity plan. They click on suspicious links, create weak passwords, use unapproved software, and don’t know how to recognize and report potential cybersecurity problems. Only in Australia, human error caused an unauthorized data disclosure of over 270,000 people during 2019. And, the lack of a clear and detailed cybersecurity policy may only increase the risk of human error.
To prevent information leakage, you need to educate staff members continually and make sure they understand their roles in your cybersecurity processes. This is where having a robust security awareness program may help you. Any solid cybersecurity policy should explain how sensitive data is stored, what software they should use, how to stay safe on social networks, how to encrypt emails, etc. It should be detailed and written in a simple language every team member can understand.
The Lack of Consistency within the Organization
Each team at your company should know their roles in creating and promoting a cybersecurity policy. For example, the responsibility of the legal team is to ensure that the policy complies with all government regulations and legal requirements. The HR team should promote the policy among employees and explain it. They should track employee activities to know whether everyone has read the policy and identify the individuals that are violating it.
The procurement team chooses cloud providers, manages contracts, and ensures whether the cloud provider meets the company’s cybersecurity standards, based on the organization’s cybersecurity policy. C-level business executives should list the company’s major cybersecurity needs and goals, as well as allocate enough resources to support the implementation of the policy. Defining the clear roles and responsibilities of each department will simplify the implementation of the policy and help you mitigate human error.
Not Meeting Legal Requirements
As mentioned above, it is immensely important that the company’s cybersecurity practices meet the country’s legal requirements. A poor cybersecurity policy may result in many legal fees and fines, as well as fast brand degradation. To prevent any legal problems and maintain public trust, companies should update their cybersecurity policies at least once yearly. This is especially important to companies in regulated industries.
Your goal is to review the effectiveness of your cybersecurity policy and evaluate your company’s major external and internal security threats. Above all, you should compare the guidelines defined there with your company’s current cybersecurity practices.
Over to You
A cybersecurity policy is the foundation of your company’s safety in the online ecosystem. This is why it should be detailed, easy-to-understand, and up-to-date. It should explain how employees should behave online, what resources they should use, what data they should share or not share, etc. They define the responsibilities of each team, as well as dictate what third-party resources, software, and apps should be used.
By setting clear online security policies and criteria, you will meet legal regulations, maximize your company’s security, and eliminate the risk of human error. Above all, you will ensure business continuity, reduce costs, and maintain a positive brand image.
Guest Poster – Elaine Bennett
Elaine Bennett is a digital marketing specialist focused on helping Australian startups and small businesses grow. Besides that, she’s a regular contributor for Bizzmark Blog and writes hands-on articles about business and marketing, as it allows her to reach even more entrepreneurs and help them on their business journey..