Access control policy and procedures

When you hear the words “access control policy” you may immediately think about a bank security vault or about CIA folders with “top secret” labels on them. But in reality, things are a lot more boring and virtually every company out there can actually benefit from implementing a clear and strict access control policy and practices in its operations. This can be done by separating employees into several groups according to their level or access privileges and granting different groups access to a different set of applications, networks, systems or even areas in your offices, warehouses and production facilities.

Why does my company need an access control security policy?

The goal of a user access control policy is to maximize your company’s level of security and minimize the risk of security breaches by tightly controlling who, how and when can access different information and IT systems in your company. An access policy with different tiers can help you limit the risk of exposure and can streamline your company’s security procedures overall. Plus, these policies make it easier to investigate security breaches and information leaks, as you will have a detailed log of who accessed your networks, applications, devices and premises and when.

What is required under the access control security policy?

There are a lot of things to consider when setting up access control procedures. In a basic scenario, all people who are granted access to certain information, networks, applications and areas of the building need to sign acceptable use and compliance statements – each individual who requests access to certain information, systems or devices need to sign documents stating that he or she is aware of your company’s policy regarding how the information or network has to be used to prevent potential inappropriate use that exposes you to security threats. Each person also needs to sign a compliance statement, confirming that they agree to abide by your company’s policies and procedures.

You also need to ensure that you have proper protocols for entity authentication – each employee needs to have their own identifier – an ID, a personal login and password, a token or you can even use biometric identification.

It is also necessary to ensure that each employee’s device is password protected and that the user is automatically signed out and required to log back in after a certain period of inactivity. You should also set up clear guidelines and policies for remote access to your company’s networks and for use of personal devices for work purposes, as today it is becoming increasingly more popular for employees to bring their own devices to work or to sometimes telecommute and work from home.

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