5 Essential Elements of an Effective Workplace IT Policy

 In IT Security

IT policy management has become increasingly complex and more important than ever.  Public information has never been more accessible with the advent and implementation of such things as cloud computing, social networking, mobile data, and more.  Security and regulated compliance requirements have also intensified. So, how can an organization keep up with and enforce policy management without overstepping their authority?

The risk management factors alone involved in dealing with such a complex subject require a well-established, well-thought, and well-communicated IT policy.  In order to create and enforce an effective workplace IT policy, there are some key elements that must be a part of your strategy. And, the easiest way to do this is to start by enforcing the policy process itself.  Here’s how:       

  1. Create Ownership – In order to get your policies right, you have to first create ownership.  IT policies are necessary for the protection and efficient operation of any business.  It even effects employee productivity. So, the key here is to carefully align your policies with specific needs of your organization and its strategies.  Your IT policy must be practical, yet adaptable and effective. To do this, it helps to create a policy task force made up of key leaders from every group or division within your company that will be affected by the policies.  This creates accountability, as this group will be responsible for creating, communicating, monitoring, and enforcing your set IT policy. 
  2. Centralize – Centralizing IT policies is a must.  This is how you will be able to control costs, simplify IT processes, stay organized and compliant, monitor and enforce compliance, and optimize IT assets and overall productivity.  
  3. Open Communication – Internal communication must happen early and often, as this is critical to enforcing an effective policy and its overall management.  After all, if your employees don’t understand the policies or follow them, then your plan is entirely ineffective. The key to effectively communicating your set IT policies and procedures includes getting employee input, building awareness, creating buy-in, providing education and training, and providing ongoing education as policies shift and evolve.  
  4. Refine – Once you create your IT policy, the job isn’t really over.  Once established, your task force needs to continue to meet in order to assess effectiveness and compliance.  This way procedures can be refined and adjusted as may be necessary. You’ll need to ensure that policies and procedures remain aligned with both internal company changes and external factors at all times.  
  5. Enforce – Even after you’ve devised and implemented your new workplace IT policy, you’re likely going to run into a little resistance to the changes.  This is normal. But, deliberate breaches of a set policy will need to be addressed. To fully enforce this, you’ll need to be able to clearly communicate, clear punitive consequences.  After all, you simply can’t enforce any policy without repercussions for breaking said policy. That would defeat the entire point of its existence, which is there, ultimately, for safety and security.  It puts your entire organization at risk. So, make sure your task force has established a hierarchy of penalties, and make sure all personnel clearly understand them.   

Establishing and enforcing an effective workplace IT policy protects not just your business and its assets but everyone who deals with your business.  In our tech-forward world where cybersecurity is always at the forefront of everyone’s mind, IT policies and procedures are necessary protection. 

For more information, contact our Chicago IT policy consultants today.

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