Elements of a Data Security Policy

Elements of a Data Security Policy

The importance of data security is top-of-mind for individuals, businesses, and government organizations alike. While state laws may vary widely, and federal guidelines struggle to keep up with the pace of technology, implementing a sound data security policy that meets or exceeds standard requirements puts your business ahead of the curve.

Knowing that your company’s policy covers all the key elements—including data sanitization and protecting your customers’ financial information, as well as securing confidential, classified, or proprietary data—is essential to an organization’s reputation and future success.

What Is a Data Security Policy?

A Data Security Policy is a complete protocol which covers data privacy and data security. These two components are broadly but specifically defined:

  • Data Privacy refers to using customer data appropriately and only for an agreed-upon purpose. Customer data may not be sold, rented, or “disclosed” without the customers’ prior approval. Laws governing data privacy are enforced by the FTC. Accidentally disclosing private data carries penalties as well.

  • Data Security refers to practices which keep data confidential, available, and protected. The law requires policies which prevent unauthorized access, back up valuable information securely, gather only necessary data, and destroy it completely when it is no longer required.

What Are the Essential Elements of a Data Security Policy?

A well-designed DSP protects privacy and integrity at each step of the data lifecycle. These key factors should be addressed in your organization’s formal data security policy:

  • Privacy Policy. Data privacy policies must be clearly defined and provided to employees, including organizational safeguards to protect customer identity and confidentiality.

  • Password Management. All employees and temporary staff must have a secure and unique password. How complex passwords must be and how often they will be changed should be clearly outlined and meet industry standards for data security.

  • Controlled Internet Access. Misuse of open internet access can jeopardize security and customer privacy. Limits on allowable employee use of the internet should be documented in your data security policy.

  • Secure Email Practices. Data can be lost or stolen through email channels as well. Your policy should outline email usage, encryption, file destruction, and archiving practices.

  • Destruction of Data. When sensitive data is no longer needed, your policy should outline the secure process by which the data will be destroyed.

  • Mobile Device Management. Company-owned mobile devices require a policy which defines appropriate use and security measures. Password protection or bio (thumbprint) locking are basic requirements. Use of personal phones for business use should also be covered if allowed.

  • Social Media Usage. Including a social media policy in your security planning will prevent damage to your business reputation, as well as security breaches through casual networking.

  • Software Licensing and Copyright Protection. Software used for data management must be appropriately licensed, included in policy guidelines, and kept secure. Downloading unauthorized software onto organization IT assets should be prevented.

  • Security Incident Reporting. A process should be established and documented which outlines proper reporting of data security threats and breaches. Viruses, malware, and human error should be reported through proper channels for appropriate review and corrective action.

Managing Computer Data Destruction

One of the biggest concerns in maintaining data security is using an effective data erasure tool to prevent deleted data from being recovered by unauthorized users. Many highly secure government entities and corporations use solutions from White Canyon Software to effectively erase sensitive or classified data.

For a complete data sanitizing software solution, we offer WipeDrive for complete equipment erasure and SecureClean for individual file scanning and deletion. Our solutions use government-approved data wiping technology which truly erases data to the extent that it can never be recovered.

No matter how sensitive the data your organization holds, we have the industry-leading tools to keep it secure. Contact us today to implement the best solution for your unique needs.

Call White Canyon Software at 801.224.8900, connect on Live Chat, or schedule a webinar today.

Tagged: Data Security Policy, Data Sanitization, Software Erasure, Lifecyle,
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