IT Security Policy - Best Practices Guide

By Renee Tarun | December 09, 2022

Build A Strong Framework for IT Security Procedures

As cybersecurity threats increase and evolve, and IT security compliance requirements become more stringent and difficult to meet, organizations must adjust their security policies, procedures, and strategies accordingly or risk becoming victimized.

When an effective IT security policy is in place, then CIOs, CISOs, and other IT team leaders can build cybersecurity programs that work internally across the entire organization. They can also leverage the same policy for vendors, partners, and other third parties.

This blog outlines the basics your organization needs for an effective IT security policy. It also highlights the best practices for building a sturdy IT security procedures framework.

Effective IT Security Policy Checklist

IT security policies are roadmaps to guide organizations away from hazards and threats. In designing a cybersecurity framework, the core objectives that an enterprise needs to keep top of mind should follow the framework of the CIA triad.

The Information Security Triad

  • Confidentiality is about keeping an organization’s data, communications, intellectual property, financials, and other sensitive information away from outsiders or even insiders who don’t need to know or access it. However, not all violations of confidentiality are intentional and could be the result of a simple mistake, forgetting to protect a password, or accidentally sharing credentials.
  • Integrity in this context means making sure your data is trustworthy and free from tampering. You can trust that the data is accurate and complete while at rest, while in use, and while in transit. To protect the integrity of your data, you can use hashing, encryption, digital certificates, or digital signatures. Having integrity in an IT security policy is about keeping the whole organization secure and its assets fully protected ⎯ on all fronts. It’s about equally and appropriately deploying your defenses. An office is not secure if there are five locks on the front and back doors, but the windows are propped open.
  • Availability means ensuring data and information systems are always accessible so individuals with access to specific information can consume it as needed. To ensure availability, organizations can use redundant networks, servers, and applications. When you consider availability in IT security policies, we recommend that you also grant employees the ability to get beyond your strong defenses quickly and easily. If entry and access are so difficult that staff spends an inordinate amount of time circumventing security measures, that’s trading one management problem (cybercrime) for another (inefficiency and bureaucracy).

Key Elements in an IT Security Policy Framework

As you develop IT security policies, you need to consider some additional factors. You should be constructing your IT security framework with the idea that it will serve many purposes, including helping protect your data and IT resources to prevent breaches.

Another consideration when drafting your framework is the organizational roles of those who will be required to follow the policies. You will likely want to have different policies for people with different levels of authority over the company’s data and IT systems. Just like when an employee is given a keycard to access an office building, you’re going to want to have a policy of how many rooms or floors they can access depending upon their role in the enterprise.

Best Practices for Developing IT Security Policies and Procedures

In creating strong IT security policies, you should follow recommended best practices. These include:

  1. Break it Down into Manageable Pieces
  2. Include the Business Owners in the Process
  3. Provide Procedures that Address More Than the Do’s and Dont’s
  4. Ensure Relevancy to Your Organization’s Needs and Goals
  5. Review Policies on a Regular Basis

You should also look at your organization's data and identify the data that is open for public consumption and the data that is top secret and only for viewing by the highest levels of management ⎯ and, of course, everyone between those ends points on the spectrum. Another aspect of data that needs to be addressed in your framework is how it is to be protected, backed up, and managed.

An important but often neglected consideration is how and when IT security policies will be shared with employees. There’s no point in creating great IT security policies if no one knows about them - It's also about having the mechanisms to ensure that policies are being followed.

All organizations should implement ongoing security awareness training programs for employees that aim to change employee behavior and help IT and security teams enhance the organization’s overall security posture. This is best done through a programmatic approach that incorporates several elements to educate, test, reinforce, and adapt learning to address changes in the overall threat landscape as well as the needs of the organization’s risk profile. You may want to develop blogs, emails, ebooks, videos, games, memes, and periodic reminders that promote your IT security framework.


As technology evolves, organizations need to continuously implement and update cybersecurity procedures and strategies to prevent the risk of an attack. When building a cybersecurity program fit for your organization, the highlights and best practices outlined above can lead to a winning security framework.