Types of Cybersecurity Documents
Cybersecurity solutions require and generate a great deal of documentation, from policies and procedures to guidelines and standards. These documents must be written in a clear and precise manner tailored for internal and external audiences.
Other audiences include employees, clients, investors, business partners, stakeholders, and more. While these documents do not have a one-size-fits-all approach, they overlap in their fundamental policies, procedures, and plans to build a successful security program.
(1) Cyber Incident Response Plan
A written set of guidelines that instructs teams on how to prepare for, identify, respond to, and recover from a cyber attack is called a cyber incident response plan. A comprehensive response plan should cover technology-related issues and address problems encountered by other departments such as HR, legal and compliance, finance, customer service, and PR teams, among others.
An incident response (IR) plan specifies the roles and responsibilities in the event of a disruption, similar to a disaster recovery plan. However, incident response plans focus primarily on IT and security incidents.
The priority in an IR plan is to minimize damage caused by a data breach, including business operations, financial losses, and customer data. An IR plan also continually monitors and updates security information as the digital landscape evolves and cyberattacks become more frequent and sophisticated.
(2) Business Continuity Plan
Business continuity plans (BCP) detail the procedures and processes an organization must take to continue operating in the event of an emergency. Due to the wide and evolving range of threats, organizations must regularly update this document.
Each BCP is unique and must be coordinated with business objectives, security measures, and likely emergencies. This way it can restore essential business operations, ensuring continuity and a minimization of damages.
(3) Continuity of Operations Planning (COOP)
The goal of Continuity of Operations Planning (COOP) is to ensure that individual entities can maintain their mission essential functions in various emergency scenarios. This effort involves the planning and preparation necessary to enable governments, departments, businesses, and agencies to continue their vital daily operations. Whether the emergency is caused by natural disasters, human-made incidents, technological threats, or national security emergencies, COOP requires agencies to develop plans for relocating their operations to alternative or continuity sites to ensure that their essential functions can continue uninterrupted.
(4) Disaster Recovery Plan
Companies create disaster recovery plans in conjunction with business continuity plans. They describe the specific steps needed to resume business operations after an event, whether it’s a power outage, cyber attack, pandemic, natural disaster, or anything else.
Disaster recovery plans include the response manager and the protocols around testing, whether that involves drills or orchestrated threats. They also help monitor and update information as business operations change. It’s critical that businesses update their disaster recovery plans on a systematic basis.
(5) Configuration Management Plan
The Configuration Management Plan aims to provide project stakeholders with information on how Configuration Management (CM) will be implemented in a project, including the CM tools to be used and their application. The plan outlines the methodology that the Program Manager (PM) and systems engineer will use to manage program documentation and the program baseline (Technical, Functional, and Allocated). Its main objective is to document and communicate the CM approach to ensure effective control and management of program components.
(6) Security Awareness Training
Security awareness training exists because human error is responsible for many successful data breaches. Cybersecurity learning programs or awareness training should teach employees to avoid target attacks like phishing.
This training should occur regularly. As cyber-attacks evolve, so must employees’ understanding of how to identify them. Training should involve interactive learning to keep employees engaged. Awareness training can also cover how to handle personal devices and identify different types of security threats, critical protocols in a remote work environment.
(7) Risk Assessment Standards and Procedures
Risk assessment standards and procedures contain the process of identifying, analyzing, and evaluating any cyber risk. This type of documentation is critical for preventing data loss, avoiding data breaches, saving money, meeting compliance, and gaining knowledge for future assessments.
(8) Change Management Policy
The purpose of this policy is to manage changes in a well-communicated, planned, and predictable manner that minimizes unplanned outages and unforeseen system issues. This document explains how any changes can avoid impacting business operations or customers.
(9) Information Security Policy
An information security policy is a pillar of a cybersecurity defense documentation. It contains the company’s rules and guidelines to ensure employees adhere to security protocols and procedures to minimize any security risks. These protocols may include safeguarding any corporate information, IT assets, security strategies, and other preventative measures.
(10) Data Backup Policy
A data backup policy is an action plan that outlines the guidelines in the case of data loss, deleted or corrupt files, or other cybersecurity events. This includes implementing strategies on how to restore important documents and how to resume business services after an emergency has occurred. It also details the type of backup needed to best serve your organization.
(11) Remote Access Policy
The COVID-19 pandemic posed a significant challenge to organizational cybersecurity protocols as millions of office workers abruptly transitioned to remote work. As a result, remote access policies have gained more importance and relevance since 2020. These policies define how employees should interact with company systems while working remotely.
A comprehensive remote access policy should cover various aspects, including securing devices, adhering to bring-your-own-device (BYOD) guidelines, avoiding unauthorized applications, and refraining from visiting non-work-related websites. Additionally, the policy should include guidelines on strong password management, multi-factor authentication, accessing third-party services, and adhering to email security regulations.