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ZDL Group’s Guide to Writing Effective Security Policies


The Cyber Security Journey ideally starts with policies “what shall we protect and how shall we protect it”. However, most organisations we work with plug this step in somewhere along the maturity road, either when expectations of customers or organisational complexity and size demands it.


For those starting on their security policy writing, it can be an overwhelming task, which is where we can help. With 1000’s of policies under our belts we can short cut organisations to an ideal format, structure, and appropriate collection of documents to present a security framework that can underpin any security program.

In this blog post, we’ll guide you through our process of creating effective security policies.

  1. Understanding Organisational Needs: Before diving into writing security policies, it's important for us to understand an organisation's unique needs and requirements. Consider the nature of the business, industry regulations, and any specific security challenges. This understanding helps with tailoring policies to address the specific risks and vulnerabilities organisations may encounter.
  2. Reviewing Risks: A risk review is a key step in developing effective security policies. Reviewing potential threats, vulnerabilities, and assets that require protection. This helps us prioritise and ensures that policies address the most critical areas of concern.
  3. Defining Policy Objectives and Scope: Clearly defining the objectives and scope of security policies helps identify the overarching goals, such as protecting sensitive customer data or ensuring the confidentiality of proprietary information. Additionally, we outline the policy scope by specifying the systems, networks, and the people they apply to. This provides clarity, avoiding ambiguity in policy documents.
  4. A Structured Approach: We organise security policies in a structured manner to make them easy to follow. Beginning with an introduction that outlines the purpose and importance of the policies. Then, into specific sections addressing various areas such as employee responsibilities, exceptions processes, and the details of specific security practices, procedures, and controls. Each section includes clear and concise guidelines, current procedures, and best practices.
  5. Involving Stakeholders: We seek input from IT, legal, HR personnel, and department heads to ensure that all perspectives are considered. Collaboration with stakeholders not only improves the quality of policies but also fosters a sense of ownership and adherence within an organisation.
  6. Keeping It Simple: We ensure security policies are written in a manner that is easily understood by all employees. Avoiding technical jargon or overly complex language that may confuse readers. We use plain language and avoid duplication across documents always remembering, the goal is to communicate effectively and promote compliance.
  7. Consistency: Once we have an appropriate policy structure for an organisation, we ensure a consistent approach and for all other documents. This allows those reviewing and approving to easily understand what they are looking at, making the process more efficient. A common format improves reading for the intended audience, making policies easier to follow, digest and ultimately understand.
  8. Regular Updating: Policies are a living thing, describing an approach to security threats, regulatory requirements, technology, people, and processes which are constantly evolving. To maintain their effectiveness, we recommend establishing a schedule for regular reviews and updates. This ensures that policies remain relevant and aligned with the changing landscape of cybersecurity.

Writing effective security policies is a critical step in safeguarding an organisation's assets and maintaining a secure environment. Getting a kick start from the experts can shorten the time to get policies in place, ensure they are aligned to best practices and meet the compliance requirements for standards like ISO/IEC 27001.

With a solid foundation of well-crafted security policies, organisations can lay the groundwork for a robust security framework that reduces vulnerabilities, protects against cyber-attacks, aligns to laws and regulations, and hopefully helps with the peace of mind for security leaders!

Get in touch with the ZDL experts for more information and support with your policies. Email [email protected] or Contact Us