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As technology continues to advance, we're ever more vulnerable to the rise in data security breaches and system malfunctions. A cybersecurity policy can set your company and employees on the right track to safeguarding against hackers.
Here we outline how you can craft a cybersecurity policy, and where to find helpful legal templates online.
What is a cybersecurity policy?
A cybersecurity policy is a legal document which can offer protection for your business against potential financial damages relating to cyberattacks and data breaches. It does this by outlining processes that work to protect your technology and data and explaining rules for sending data over networks.
The policy establishes responsible security measures for your business, by setting the standards for behaviours among all your employees when it comes to protecting data.
Download this cybersecurity template at Lawpath
When should I use a cybersecurity policy?
If your company deals with technology and data, it's really important that you protect your information and systems with a cybersecurity policy. The document is vital for public companies and organisations, particularly those in regulated industries such as insurance, healthcare or finance. Larger companies such as these face the risk of hefty penalties if their security procedures are considered inadequate.
A cybersecurity policy is also important for small companies which are still expected to meet minimum IT security standards. While small firms may not be subject to federal requirements, there is still a chance you could be prosecuted if your company is deemed to have acted with negligence.
What is included in a cybersecurity policy?
A cybersecurity policy typically starts with a 'roles and responsibilities' section which outlines general security expectations for all employees in your organisation, including all outside consultants, administration, financial staff and of course all IT staff. The following are the key areas which are often included in a cybersecurity policy.
- Password requirements
- Device security
- Email security
- Handling of sensitive data
- Transferring data
- Working remotely
- Using personal devices
- Social media and internet access
- Incident response plan
- Security requirements
- Disciplinary action.
How effective is a cybersecurity policy?
With the rapid rise in data breaches and cyberattacks around the world, a cybersecurity policy can be highly effective in minimising these problems by establishing clear responsibility of security for all of your staff. It lays out procedures to follow to avoid attacks on your information and systems which will minimise the probability of cyberattacks and thus major financial damage.
A cybersecurity policy also includes a section on disciplinary action for your staff in the event of a breach which will help enforce your policy and keep everything above board.
Do I need to engage a lawyer?
A lawyer is not entirely necessary to write a cybersecurity policy as you can follow online samples of this policy or download templates. However, it may be a good idea to seek legal advice in drafting your policy or at least getting a lawyer to review it for you to ensure is covered accurately.
Get access to customisable cybersecurity policy templates online
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How do I write a cybersecurity policy?
You can start drafting your cybersecurity policy by making some notes on the key areas outlined above. It's important to prioritise the areas of primary importance to your organisation which may be security for the most sensitive or regulated data. You may wish to run a risk analysis before you start to pinpoint the areas to prioritise in your policy.
Business.gov.au suggests guiding your employees in your policy in these key areas:
- The type of business information that can be shared and where
- Acceptable use of devices and online materials
- Handling and storage of sensitive material.
There are plenty of cybersecurity policy samples and templates available which we've listed below, to help you through the process.
Where to get free cybersecurity policy templates and samples?
Cybersecurity policies are often very long documents, particularly for larger organisations, which is why a legal template can be very helpful. Here's where you can find some easy to follow templates and sample policies online.
- Lawpath. Lawpath is a legal platform for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Users can sign up and get the first template for free but will need to purchase a plan for customisation options.
- Workable. Workable is a recruitment resource full of expert advice and resources for hiring staff. It also has some free policy templates to help you set up your business, including a cybersecurity policy template.
- Business.gov.au. The Australian government website, business.gov.au, has plenty of business information, advice and training for Australian businesses. They have a detailed page on how to create your cybersecurity policy.
- LawLive. LawLive is an Australian website which provides legal contracts and documents that you can easily customise. You can download each document for a one time fee as low as $9 or choose a monthly subscription.
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