Key Elements of a Data Security Policy

In recent years, small businesses have suffered around 31% of cyber attacks. It’s clear that an effective data security policy is essential to avoiding these attacks, and in order for a policy to be effective there are key elements that must be included in the framework. In a world where 52% of breaches are caused by human and system failure vs. malicious intent, it’s imperative that the policy you create be shared and well-understood by all employees at your company. By incorporating the following key elements into your data security policy, your company will be in a better position to beat the odds.

1.     Safeguard Data Privacy
Your company’s privacy policy is a promise to customers to keep their information safe and secure. Employees must understand this, in addition to conforming to all applicable laws and regulations.

2.     Password Management
A password policy should be in place for all workers’ at your company who have access to sensitive information. A password should be complex, and is never to be shared.

3.     Internet Usage
When you hear “employee internet usage,” your first thought may be productivity. That’s valid, however, security should be just as much if not more of a concern. Misuse of the can put your business at risk, so you must decide how employees can and should access it.

4.     Email Usage
Accidental downloading of viruses and other malware is unfortunately commonplace. Be sure to set the standards on message content, encryption and file retention.

5.     Company Owned Mobile Devices
The minimum requirements of employees utilizing company-owned devices should include protecting their devices from theft, and password protection in accordance with your company’s password policy.

6.     Social Media
An active social media presence is an asset to a business. Just make sure that your employees dispense information within the parameters set by your company.

7.      Copyright and Licensing
Employees must follow copyright and licensing guidelines for the software that they use, and must also avoid new software without permission.

8.     Security Incident Reporting
All workers should know how to report incidents of breaches and malware, as well as any steps that can be taken to mitigate the damage.

In our next article, we will explain how to create a data breach response plan keeping in mind these key elements. For questions on cybersecurity insurance coverage, which works to protect your organization when safeguarding plans fail, please contact cybersecurity coverage expert Brian Kilcoyne, CIC. He is reachable by phone at (617) 612-6515, or by email at

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