Many small businesses make the mistake of neglecting policies. They assume that informal communication about expectations will suffice, and many believe this to be sufficient coverage.
This way of thinking can present difficulties for business owners in small and medium sized organizations. Employees do not possess the capacity to read minds, so you might think certain things are obvious to them even if you think otherwise.
Without policies in place, you could find yourself with weak legal protection in the event of a dispute. For instance, an email account or company device being misused could result in litigation.
Did you know that 77% of employees utilize their social media accounts at work? Furthermore, 19% spend at least one full work day on it. Sometimes employees disregard company policies while other times they're not required to adhere to specific ones.
IT policies are essential for IT security management and technology management, regardless of size. Here are a few essential IT policies that every business should have in place:
Are You Adhering to These IT Policies? (If not, now is the time)
Password Security Policy
77% of cloud data breaches are due to compromised passwords. Globally, data breaches are now increasingly being caused by compromised credentials.
Your team should develop a password security policy that outlines how they should handle login passwords. It should include:
- What Length Passwords Should Be?
- How to create passwords (using at least one symbol and a number)
- How and where should passwords be stored?
- Multi-factor authentication is possible (if needed).
- How frequently Should Passwords Be Changed?
Acceptable Use Policy (AUP).
Your Acceptable Use Policy (or policy) is the overarching document that sets forth how technology and data are to be utilized within your company. This could include things such as device security; you may require employees to update devices according to this policy; make sure it accurately reflects these changes.
Additionally, be sure to specify where company devices are allowed. Remote employees may not be permitted to share work devices with their families.
Another element of the AUP pertains to data. It should specify how data is stored and handled securely, with some policies necessitating an encrypted environment for security reasons.
Cloud & App Use Policyx
Employees accessing unauthorized cloud applications has become a problem. This "shadow IT" can account for up to 60% of an organization's cloud usage.
Many employees are unaware of the risks associated with cloud apps and use them without authorization. Unapproved cloud tools can pose a security risk to company data.
An employee will have control over which cloud and mobile applications they can use for their business data by creating a cloud and app usage policy. It should prohibit the use of any unapproved apps while allowing users to suggest apps that will enhance productivity.
Policy on Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
83% of mobile workers utilize BYOD for work purposes. Employers can save money by allowing employees to utilize their smartphones at work, as they won't need to carry around an extra device. Furthermore, employees will find it more convenient to utilize their own smartphones for work tasks since they won't have to carry around another one with them.
When your workplace does not permit BYOD use, security and other issues can arise. If the operating system is outdated, employee devices could be at risk. Furthermore, confusion regarding compensation for personal devices used at work may arise.
The BYOD policy outlines how employees may use their devices for business purposes, outlining security requirements for those devices as well as whether you need to install an endpoint management application. Furthermore, compensation should be provided for personal devices used by businesses for work-related activities.
Cybersecurity is an issue when using public Wi Fi. 61% of companies surveyed reported that employees use company-owned devices to connect to public Wi Fi networks.
Many employees will not hesitate to log into an email or company app even if it's connected to the internet. But these credentials could be exposed, leading to your network being breached.
Your Wi-Fi policy should specify how employees will ensure secure connections. This may necessitate using a company VPN. Similarly, you might have restrictions on what employees can do when on public Wi-Fi - for instance, do not enter passwords or payment card information into any forms.
Policy on Social Media Use
Addressing social media usage at work, which is so prevalent, is essential. Without discipline and structure, scrolling and posting could take away hours of productive time each week.
Your social media policy should include the following details:
- Restricting Employee Access to Personal Social Media
- Limiting employee access to company information
- Be mindful of "safe selfie zones" and other areas that do not permit public images.
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