9 key components of a network security policy

Healthcare organizations must educate staff on important policies to safeguard network integrity.

9 common standards in ensuring network security

Securing patient information and protecting networks from hacking are of prime importance for healthcare organizations. For that to happen, the organization’s data security policies needs to published, understandable and enforceable, says Travelers Insurance. The policy should outline practices that help safeguard employee, customer, company and third-party business data and sensitive information. Here are nine essential elements of a data security policy.

Establish password management

A password policy should be established for all employees or temporary workers who will access an organization’s resources. In general, password complexity should be established according to job functions and data security requirements. Passwords should never be shared by any workers.

Govern Internet usage

Most people use the Internet without a thought to the harm that can ensue. Employee misuse of the Internet can place your organization in an awkward, or even illegal, position. Establishing limits on employee Internet usage in the workplace may help avoid these situations. Every organization should decide how employees can and should access the web. Employees should be productive, and this may be the main concern for limiting Internet usage, but security concerns should also dictate how usage guidelines are formulated.

Manage email usage

Many data breaches are a result of employee misuse of email that can result in the loss or theft of data and the accidental downloading of viruses or other malware. Clear standards should be established regarding use of emails, message content, encryption and file retention.

Govern and manage the organization's mobile devices

When organizations provide mobile devices for their employees, a formal process should be implemented to help ensure that mobile devices are secure and used appropriately. Requiring employees to be responsible for protecting their devices from theft and requiring password protection in accordance with the password policy should be minimum requirements.

Set an approval process for employees' devices

With the increased capabilities of consumer devices, such as smart phones and tablets, it has become easy to interconnect these devices to an organization’s applications and infrastructure. Use of these devices to connect to an organization’s email, calendaring and other services can blur the lines between its controls and consumer controls. Employees who request and are approved to have access to company information via their personal devices should understand and accept the limitations and controls imposed by the organization.

Establish social media policies

All users of social media need to be aware of the risks associated with social media networking. A strong social media policy is crucial for any business that seeks to use social networking to promote its activities and communicate with its customers. Active governance can help ensure employees speak within the parameters set by their company and follow data privacy best practices.

Oversee software copyright and licensing

There are many good reasons for employees to comply with software copyright and licensing agreements. Organizations are obliged to adhere to the terms of software usage agreements, and employees should be made aware of any usage restrictions. Also, employees should not download and use software that has not been reviewed and approved by the organization.

Report security incidents

A procedure should be in place for employees or contractors to report malicious malware in the event it is inadvertently imported. All employees should know how to report incidents of malware and what steps to take to help mitigate damage.

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