When you have a small business, you might forgo all those formal policies that larger companies use like an acceptable use policy (AUP), thinking that they’re just for big companies.
However, technology policies provide vital guardrails to keep your business safe from costs due to data breaches, malware infections, and the misuse of your IT.
If you’re a small business, you still need to have certain guidelines in place. Your policies simply might be stated in fewer pages than a large enterprise. However, it’s still critical to put those down on paper for your employees to follow so they’ll understand things like which cloud applications they can use for work or how they handle company data on their smartphones.
You can think of IT policies as one more piece of your IT security and technology management. Without them, your company’s technology use could easily get out of hand, becoming unmanageable and leaving you open to the risk of a data breach.
So, where should you get started in putting together key IT policies? Here are some of the most important things you should have in place, no matter what size business you have.
Acceptable Use Policy (AUP)
Your AUP is an overarching policy that discusses how technology, in general, should be used and data should be protected at your company.
This would govern things like device security and the use of screen locks, who can use company-issued devices, and what can be stored on those devices.
Your Acceptable Use Policy can also cover things like cloud backups and data retention, and the process for maintaining your IT infrastructure.
Password Security Policy
Poor password security is responsible for approximately 77% of all cloud account data breaches. Without direction, users will naturally gravitate to creating easy-to-remember passwords and reuse those passwords across multiple accounts, increasing the risk of a cloud account takeover.
A password security policy doesn’t have to be elaborate. In fact, it can be just a single page outlining how employees are to handle passwords and any account protections that need to be in place.
Things you might include are:
- The minimum length that passwords should be
- That passwords should always be unique
- That passwords should use a combination of numbers, letters, and symbols
- That passwords should be protected by multi-factor authentication
BYOD Policy for Mobile Devices
Mobile devices are used just as much by employees for their work these days. For example, many people prefer reading emails from their smartphone to a PC. A good many companies rely on employees to use their own mobile devices to access work applications and may even compensate them monthly for this.
But too many of them don’t have a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy in place to govern how business data needs to be protected on an employee’s mobile device.
For example, what happens to customer SMS conversations on an employee’s personal device? How does the company keep a record of these when that employee leaves?
Your BYOD policy should include details on some form of mobile device management so business data and accounts can remain secure even if employees are accessing them on their smartphones.
Cloud Use Policy
The use of shadow IT (unauthorized cloud applications) has run rampant during the pandemic. When employees use apps that haven’t been officially approved for their work, this can leave your company open to a data breach.
But it’s often done innocently because employees didn’t know any better and their company did not have a cloud use policy in place.
A cloud use policy will include details on what applications employees are authorized to use for their work. It may also include penalties for shadow IT use and an official system for recommending new cloud apps for consideration.
Incident Response Policy
Data breach and ransomware costs can be cut significantly when you have an incident response policy in place. Instead of everyone panicking when hit with an attack, they know exactly what to do and can follow the steps laid out in your plan.
When you’ve suffered a data breach, time is of the essence if you want to mitigate major losses. So the incident response policy is more like an insurance policy in this way to reduce your risk and liability in the case of an attack.
Wi-Fi Use Policy
61% of surveyed companies say that employees connect to public Wi-Fi networks from company-owned devices. This can easily put company data and cloud accounts at risk.
All an employee has to do is log in to one of their work applications while on public Wi-Fi and a hacker on the same network can easily steal their login credentials.
Your Wi-Fi Use Policy will include instructions on how employees are to connect to Wi-Fi securely – for example, using a VPN if on public Wi-Fi.
This policy can also include instructions about how to secure the office Wi-Fi password and who is allowed to have it.
Improve Your Technology Infrastructure with Expert IT Consulting
Pro Tech Guy can help your Framingham or Natick business put together meaningful IT policies that are common sense and keep your business protected from unnecessary risks.
Contact us today to learn more. Call 508-364-8189 or reach us online.