Policy Awareness

How to Define and Enforce Corporate Policies

Everything You Need to Know About Cyber Policy Compliance Series

Now that you completed reading our first post of the series “Everything You Need to Know About Cyber Policy Compliance”, it’s time to get a better understanding of how corporate policies are built and created.

At this point, you might now that an organization is vicariously responsible for any act, omission or wrongdoing of an employee committed during the course of their employment. Hence, it is imperative for an organization to take steps to prevent such wrongdoings.

Your organization should only claim to hold employees accountable for data breach incidents after you’ve provided them with education and a solid compliance program.


How to Define a Cybersecurity Policy?

The aim is to lay out relevant direction and value to the individuals within an organization with regard to security. Keep in mind the following core reasons why your organization should have information security policies while you write out your own documents:

  • Formulate  IT policies that are important and relevant to your company and industry;
  • Emphasize what is expected of an organization’s employees from all levels;
  • Specify solid policy documents for employees which include awareness initiatives so your employees know the “whys” and “hows”; 
  • Provide direction upon which a control framework can be built to guard against external and internal threats;
  • Build a mechanism to hold employees accountable for compliance with regard to information security;
  • Explain how you will measure different policies’ enforcement;

Who is responsible for creating security policies?

The IT department, often the IT Manager, CIO or CISO, is usually responsible for all cybersecurity policies. Other stakeholders, like legal personnel, usually contribute to the policy, depending on their expertise and roles within the organization. Below are the key stakeholders who are likely to participate in policy creation and their roles:

  • C-Suite Executives — They define the key business needs that cybersecurity policies should serve, as well as the resources available to support the policy’s deployment and enforcement.
  • The Legal Department — They ensure that policies meet legal requirements and comply with government regulations.
  • The HR Department — They are responsible for explaining and enforcing employee policies. HR personnel ensure policy awareness, and discipline those who violate it.
  • Procurement Department — They are responsible for vetting cloud services vendors, managing cloud services contracts, and vetting other relevant service providers.

How to Enforce Policies?

The first step is to put yourself in the shoes of your employees. Look across your organization and ask yourself whether your policies can be applied fairly to everyone. If not, it’s time to start drafting new ones. Your policies must be able to clearly guide and govern employee behavior. 

If the policy is not enforced, then employee behavior is not directed into productive and secure practices. This results in greater risk for your organization. Users need to be exposed to security policies several times before the real message sinks in deep enough to translate into positive behavior change. Once you have crafted a strong set of policies, state clearly  how you will measure behavior improvement and policy enforcement. 

Are you interested in learning how to develop, store, disseminate, increase awareness and drive behaviour change for corporate policies? Schedule a demo of Compliance Readiness and see how Right-Hand can make your compliance journey easier!

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