Quickstart to Information Security Policies for Startups

by Sarah Harvey / July 12th, 2019

Why Startups Need to Make Information Security Policies a Priority

No matter what industry they’re in, startups are especially susceptible to cybersecurity attacks. This is largely due to financial reasons, as startups are far less likely to have the capital needed to implement robust information security management programs. Moreover, often times, startups neglect to place an emphasis on information security from the start because of a lack of understanding of the threats their industry is faced with. But here’s what all startups must realize: robust documentation of information security policies, standards, and procedures is one of the hallmarks of an effective information security management program – and it doesn’t have to be a daunting task to create them. With the right partner, you can create and implement a robust information security policy for your organization and help ensure the security and success of your startup. So, what should an information security policy for a startup include?

Information Security Policy Checklist for Startups

Depending on the industry your startup is in and the legal requirements and/or frameworks that you must comply with, there will be various topics that your information security policies should cover. Considering this, we’ve come up with a checklist of 15 recommended topics that information security policies should include. Please note that this checklist serves as a baseline overview of what policies should be included by a new information security program, and if your organization has to meet other compliance standards, such as SOC 2 or HIPAA, there will be additional requirements or topics that need to be included. A few such topics you might include in your information security policy are…

  • Risk Assessment Standards and Procedures: How often do you perform a risk assessment? Who is responsible for performing a risk assessment? Who communicates the findings of a risk assessment? What is done with the risk assessment findings?
  • Acceptable Use Policy: What constitutes acceptable use within your organization? Does this apply to both company-owned devices and/or bring-your-own-device policies? How do you monitor your acceptable use policy?
  • Monitoring and Logging Policies, Standards, and Procedures: What procedures are in place for monitoring and logging? Who is responsible for keeping logs up to date? Who is responsible for communicating anomalies found in logs?
  • Incident Response Procedures: What procedures are in place in the event of a natural or man-made disaster? What personnel are responsible for implementing your Incident Response Plan? Is your Incident Response team trained regularly with real-life simulated events? How is your Incident Response Plan updated to ensure that it is current based on your risks and needs?
  • Personnel Security Policies, Procedures, and Standards: What procedures are used to hire, train, and retain employees? How are employees trained on company policies and procedures? Do employees undergo security awareness training on a regular basis? If so, how frequently?