Many small businesses around Lafayette, LA neglect to create and enforce IT policies. It’s easy to think that IT policies are just a waste of time. You might even be tempted to skip them altogether because they’re so formal and make you feel like you’re treating your employees like children. But having IT policies can actually save you from some serious legal trouble in the future.

Did you know? A recent study indicates that 77% of employees access their social media accounts during work hours, while 19% spend an average 1 full working hour per day on sites like Facebook and Twitter. In some cases, these workers are ignoring company policy—but in others there is no specific policy for them to follow

Equipping your business with effective IT policies is an essential part of business and technology management, regardless of the size or type of organization. We’ll help you get started with some of the most important IT policies your business should have in place.

Does Your Business Have These IT Policies? (If not, Then It Should)

Password Security Policy

Approximately 77% of data breaches occur due to compromised passwords. Compromised credentials are now the number one cause of data breaches globally. That’s why establishing a password policy is critical from small businesses in Lafayette, LA, such as guidelines on length and complexity of the password.

Password policies typically include a few key components:

  • How long passwords should be
  • How to construct passwords (e.g., using at least one number and symbol)
  • Where and how to store passwords
  • The use of multi-factor authentication
  • How often to change passwords
  • What happens if someone forgets their password

Acceptable Use Policy (AUP)

The Acceptable Use Policy is a set of rules for how employees should use technology and data in your organization. It includes how to properly use devices and data, as well as what business-related activities are allowed on company devices. For example, these policies will govern things like device security, where it’s appropriate to use company devices, and how you store and handle data.

Device Security

Your AUP may include a requirement that employees keep their devices updated with the latest software patches. You might also want to restrict employees from sharing their work devices with family members or friends.

Where Employees Can Use Company Devices

You may restrict remote employees from using company-owned devices outside of designated office hours, or prohibit them from bringing those devices into certain locations such as airports or hospitals.

Data Handling

You may require your employees to encrypt all data stored or transmitted via e-mail.

Cloud & App Use Policy

A Cloud and App Use Policy is an important part of your company’s security strategy. It will help you protect your data and keep your employees safe by limiting their access to unauthorized cloud applications.

The use of unauthorized cloud applications by employees is a big problem. Employees often use cloud apps on their own without permission, not realizing how much of a security risk this poses. Experts say that between 30% and 60% of all cloud-related software used in companies has been installed without their knowledge. If a company doesn’t establish and enforce limits on the use of unauthorized cloud-based apps, they risk losing control over their data.

A cloud and app use policy will tell employees which applications may be used on tablets or mobile devices. It should restrict the use of any unapproved apps, as well as provide a way to suggest new apps that can enhance productivity.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Policy

BYOD is a growing trend in the workplace, and companies are embracing it for many reasons. According to a recent survey, 83% of companies allow employees to use their own devices for work. This saves businesses money and makes the workplace more convenient for employees. However, if you don’t have a BYOD policy in place, your employees may be vulnerable to attacks from malware and other threats that could compromise your company’s data security.

Your company’s BYOD policy should address security concerns while also clarifying how personal devices can be used at work. It should include provisions regarding the required security of employee devices and any required installation of an endpoint management app on those devices. It should also cover compensation for business use of personal devices.

Wi-Fi Use Policy

Public Wi-Fi is a real issue when it comes to cybersecurity in Lafayette, LA. The fact that 61% of surveyed companies say employees connect to public Wi-Fi from company-owned devices is pretty scary—and the reason why you should have a Wi-Fi policy in place.

It’s not just about protecting your network. It’s about keeping your employees safe, too. Many employees won’t think twice about logging in to a company app or email account, even when on a public internet connection. This could expose those credentials and lead to a breach of your company network—but also expose them to hackers who could steal their personal data.

Your Wi-Fi Use Policy should explain to employees how to check that they have safe connections. It may dictate the use of a company VPN, which protects your network and identity by encrypting communications between devices and servers so no one can see what you’re doing online unless they have access to your computer or phone (which means no one can access sensitive information like passwords or payment card details). Your policy may also restrict the activities employees can do when on public Wi-Fi, such as not entering passwords or payment card details into forms that could be intercepted by third parties over an unsecured connection.

Social Media Use Policy

With social media use at work so common, businesses in Lafayette, LA must address it. It can be tempting to waste hours of work time scrolling through your Instagram feed or chatting with friends on Facebook Messenger. But if your business doesn’t have policies in place, that could add up to a lot of lost productivity. In fact, according to a recent survey, 72% of employees surveyed admitted to checking their personal social media accounts during work hours.

With that in mind, here are some guidelines for managing social media use in your workplace:

  • Restrict when employees can access personal social media. Employees should be limited to using their phones or computers for personal use only during lunch or break times, or after business hours.
  • Restrict what employees can post about the company. Employees should be reminded not to share confidential information about clients or projects with others outside of their department or company.
  • Restrict employees from posting confidential data. If an employee has access to sensitive documents that need to remain private (e.g., client lists), they should not post them publicly on their accounts

Improve Your IT Policy Documentation with Help from Experts

If your organization is struggling with IT policy documentation, or if you’re just not sure where to start, we can help!

We offer comprehensive IT policy documentation services in Lafayette, LA, so you don’t have to worry about whether your policies are comprehensive and compliant. We’ll take on the burden of writing and reviewing your policies, so that you can focus on other important aspects of running your business.

We offer free consultations with no obligation—all you have to do is reach out today!