IT admins each have their own way of doing things. Some of them may use certain techniques that others don’t prefer. Universalities often exist when your IT department develops your online security protocols, though.
We’ll talk a little bit about formalizing your company’s security program in this article. It’s something that all businesses need to do if they’re going to fight off hackers and various other online threats.
How a Security Strategy Becomes a Program
The company JumpCloud mentions on their website that the path to a security program isn’t easy, but “it begins by creating a strategy.” What they mean is that your IT department, or one individual, in some cases, needs to look at your business’s overall needs. They must then look at all the software and processes that you utilize and figure out the best ways to protect it.
That transition from a strategy to a program will consume time and often money as well. However, it’s always worth doing. If you neglect this process, it’s easy for one of your workers to do something that puts the company at risk, and that’s when breaches and data leaks can occur.
Structure and Documentation
Most IT professionals talk about structure and documentation as part of the path between security strategy and program. You need to look at structure because that includes the fundamentals of what you do.
This will depend on your business model. You need documentation because that’s what you can show each new employee during the onboarding process when you’re teaching them how to safely conduct themselves and do their work.
You also need documentation because that shows any governing bodies in your niche that you’re following all laws and statutes having to do with your work. You might need to show those to someone at some point to prove that you’re compliant.
Look at Your Business Assets
You’ll then need to take a look at your company’s assets. The IT department will likely want to catalog or otherwise note all the technology you use and how you utilize it. They can classify and categorize your assets at the same time.
This allows you to know not just what you have but what else you need. If you’re doing something like trying to expand into new markets or you’re developing new products, figuring out what security measures you lack matters a great deal.
Evaluate and Identify Threats
Once you have figured out all your assets, you can next evaluate and identify any possible threats. Again, this part of the process will look different depending on your company’s business model.
For instance, do you only have a work-from-home model at the moment? If so, you’ll need security features like a VPN to make sure your employees only exchange encrypted information.
If you have a physical location, or more than one, you’ll need security measures which work for that. You’ll likely need swipe cards to get into and out of the building. You might need security staff members on-site, in addition to your firewall, antivirus software, single sign-on measures, and so forth.
Look at Any Vulnerability Areas
Your IT department can look at vulnerability areas and the best technology available to shore those up. New tech comes out all the time that makes companies safer on the IT front, and you should get everything you need, regardless of the price tag. Spending money on security is the cost of doing business.
You might even choose to hire ethical hackers once your IT team finishes installing their new security protocols. These hackers can try to penetrate your network to see if there are any weak points that your IT personnel missed. You might ask them to try and get past your protocols regularly since weak points can open up as time passes.
Part of the security program formalization also involves risk mitigation. That means not just figuring out risk areas and putting safeguards in place but also accepting that certain threats exist that you’ll need to continue watching since you can’t ever completely eradicate them.
You might need to have a series of meetings with different security experts before you finalize your protocols. How extensive you want them to be will depend primarily on whether your company deals with any sensitive data.
You might not immediately feel like you do, but think it over. Do you accept credit card numbers on your website because people buy your services or products there? If so, you need to keep their credit card numbers safe and avoid a data breach that can expose them.
Do you have several employees on your payroll? If you do, you likely have their social security numbers, home addresses, phone numbers, and maybe even their bank account routing numbers. You need that if you’ve set up direct deposit for those workers.
Obviously, you need a formal security program with features that can protect all of that. If you don’t have one in place, you’re taking enormous risks, and you’re exposing both your employees and customers.
Risk Always Exists
There’s always risk in the world, and the larger and more complex your company, the more threats exist both inside the business and outside of it. There is no reason to feel panic about that, but at the same time, you need a formal security program in place that will protect your assets in the best way possible.
Once you have this formalized program in place, you can start to learn it, and the rest of your workers can as well. Whenever you hire someone new, you can normalize teaching them about your security measures as part of their training.
Also, remember that just because you have formalized your company’s security protocols into a program, that doesn’t mean you can’t change it when the need arises. On the contrary: any company should expect to change their security measures and needs as they expand or when new threats emerge.