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What is a Security Policy for an Organization Example

December 17, 2022

What is a Security Policy for an Organization Example? You have heard of a security policy and maybe how every organization needs to have one. But what exactly is a security policy and why is it so crucial?

In this article, we will examine the definition of a security policy and why it is vital to the informational integrity of a company. We will also mention some best practices as well as common examples of security policies in an organization.

What is a Security Policy?

A security policy can be defined as a document that lays down the organizational plan and approach towards protecting the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of its physical and information technology (IT) assets. Any organization with an effective security policy will subject it to regular updates and changes as its technologies, risk assessment, and security requirements necessitate.

Oftentimes, organizational security policies are accompanied by other types of documentation. A common one is an acceptable use policy. An acceptable use policy stipulates access controls, constraints, and practices.

Each employee must agree to in order to access the corporate network, information, and other resources. The policy plays a data security role, working to protect all the company’s data assets.

Another set of common accompanying documents are standard operating procedures. These are integral to the security goals of the security policy. While the policy marks out the general strategy and security stance of the company, the standard operating procedures guide the implementation of the policy into practice.

The Importance of a Security Policy for an Organization Example.

We have mentioned the vital nature of a security policy. In this subsection, we will delve into the reasons for this significance as pertains to information systems and information security.

Hence, we will examine these under the broad headings of physical security policies and information security policies.

Physical Security Policies.

Protection of physical assets

Physical security policies are garnered towards safeguarding an organization’s physical assets. These could be anything from buildings and vehicles to computer systems and other IT equipment. Examples of elements used to protect physical assets include security guards, entry gates, and door and window locks.

Data protection role

It is crucial to note the importance of this kind of policy as it plays a very key part in a company’s informational security as well. Data is usually stored on physical devices. Thus, if a physical IT asset is compromised, this can create a huge data security risk.

Physical access control

A physical security policy helps to control who is authorized to access, handle, and move physical assets. This is especially important when it comes to sensitive equipment, buildings, rooms, and other areas of an organization. The policy also enforces best practices for monitoring and handling these assets.

Maintenance of up-to-date technology

A physical security policy will also contain stipulations for regular updates of technologies and methods used to keep physical assets safe. This is crucial because the more technical a company’s security risks get, the more advanced its security technology and practices need to be.

Information Security Policies.

Information security policies protect a company’s informational and intellectual property from costly events such as data breaches and data leaks.

Directs the application of security and access controls

An information security policy might not get into specifics (that is where other documentation come in). Nevertheless, it serves to set a guide that denotes what the heads of a company intend and expect in terms of security. This guide then serves as a form of directive for the company’s security or IT teams to translate into specific technical actions.

While the application methods may change or upgrade over time, the intent drawn from the policy will likely always remain the same. Below is a good basic illustration of the above:

Policy: Only authorized users should be granted access to the company’s sensitive information.

Application: Implementation of biometric verification and other authentication systems to enforce access control.

Lays down clear expectations

Absence of a guiding policy can result in inconsistent application of security controls across different departments and entities within the organization. This can expressly lead to disaster. An information security policy is crucial so that all employees are on the same page as regards the company’s exact expectations for security.

Furthermore, an information security policy should also clearly spell out how compliance is monitored and enforced. 

Compliance with regulatory requirements

Documented security policies are a requirement of local legislation. These are such as the Data Protection Act and the unofficial UK SOx, as well as global regulations and standards like ISO 27001.

Boosts organizational efficiency to meet business goals

A good information security policy can improve an organization’s efficiency. The policies get everyone on the same page, prevent duplication of effort, and create consistency in monitoring and enforcing compliance. A company’s information security policy can also be even more beneficial if it is aligned with the business goals and culture of the organization. This will help to guarantee bona fide business continuity.

Types of Security Policies.

Security policies can be divided into three (3) types according to the scope and purpose of the policy. The three types are:

Organizational Security Policy

These are security policies that give a general blueprint of the whole organization’s security program.

System-specific Security Policy

A system-specific policy encompasses the security procedures for the protection of a company’s information network.

Issue-specific Security Policy

These types of policies target certain aspects of the larger organizational policy. An example of an issue-specific policy is an acceptable use policy.

7 Key Tips for Creating an Effective Security Policy.

When creating an effective security policy for your company, ensure to take the following into account:

Set down a clear purpose and objectives

This is especially important for program policies. Not every employee is conversant with security threats and the importance of asset and data security. Spelling out a clear mission statement or purpose within your security policy will help the entire organization understand the importance of information security. This is as well as the adherence to security programs.

Mark out the scope and applicability

An effective security policy should always clearly state to who the policy applies. This can be based on any group of entities within the organization as long as it is explicitly defined. 

Involve the members of management

The intent and expectations that lie within a security policy should ideally come from a company’s senior management. Without input from this level of leadership, any security program is likely to fail. Hence, to build a successful policy, support from the management is requisite. The policy must be communicated to employees, updated regularly, and enforced consistently.

Ensure policies are realistic and enforceable

Any policies that are overly burdensome policy are unlikely to be widely adhered to. In the same vein, a policy with no means for enforcement can easily be ignored by the organization as a whole.

Define all key terms clearly

Keep in mind that the majority of your employees are non-technical when it comes to security (unless you run a security company). So ensure that key policy language is concise and jargon-free and any technical terms in the document are clearly defined.

Tailor policies to the organization’s risk

Firstly, security risk assessment must be carried out regularly in every organization. Secondly, risk can never be completely eliminated. Decide what level of lowered risk is acceptable for your company and tailor your policies to achieve that.

Always ensure information is up-to-date

An effective security policy will only remain effective if its information is kept up-to-date. While general or master policies may not need frequent updates, regular reviews are advisable. Issue-specific policies, in most cases, require very frequent updates as technology, workforce trends, and other factors are subject to regular change.

5 Examples of Common Organizational Security Policies.

The following represent some of the most common policies implemented in organizations.

Program or organizational policy

This is a high-level security blueprint that spells out the goals and objectives of an information security program. Also specified within this type of policy are roles and responsibilities, compliance monitoring and enforcement, and alignment with other organizational policies and programs.

Acceptable use policy

This is an issue-specific policy that defines and directs acceptable employee use of organizational assets and resources.

Remote access policy

This is another issue-specific policy that guides how and when employees can remotely access company data.

Data security policy

This is a policy dedicated especially to data security. It describes data classification, ownership, and encryption principles for the organization. 

Firewall policy

This is one of the most common system-specific policies. A firewall policy describes the types of traffic that an organization’s firewall(s) should allow or deny.


A security policy is an indispensable tool for any organization that wishes to fully protect its assets and resources from security incidents and data breaches. However, a security policy will only work in an organization’s favour if it is drafted to suit all of the company's security needs.

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