Why are IT Policies Necessary?
Clear policies about how IT is or may be used lead to a well managed, effectively run business. They provide a set of instructions to ensure the smooth running of operations on a day-to-day basis.
An up-to-date, fully functioning IT system is now fundamental for the majority of businesses to open their doors, and with such technical systems, policies need to be employed to ensure the correct handling of the equipment. IT systems increase the efficiency of business processes and getting it right will save you both time and money.
Whilst IT has hugely enhanced business efficiency, this has not been without its risks. Hackers and scams pose a constant threat to IT security, while any breaches in data protection laws put businesses at risk of legal action. Policies therefore need to be put in place to govern IT use, to keep risks to a minimum and protect your business. With potentially damaging consequences, there is little room for mistake here.
Protecting your staff is part of protecting your business. These are the people who can lead you to success and they need to be looked after. Impose policies that teach them how to be secure and protect data. Don’t leave them exposed – look after your staff and they will look after you.
Implementing IT Policies
- Be specific – when creating policies it is not a one-size-fits-all scenario. You need to create policies specific to the different areas of IT within your business e.g. protecting data, email use and staff internet use at work.
- Be realistic – it is important that your IT policies accurately reflect the real day-to-day running of your business. Creating a policy based on an idealistic view of how your business operates will only lead to employees falling short of your expectations and will have no benefit to your business.
- Be thorough – the majority of your IT policies will affect your staff, so include them in the process. Find out what they don’t know and how it will be best communicated to them. Getting their input will help you to create a usable document that will be simple to understand and easy to follow.
Reviewing IT Policies
It is important to review your policies regularly to assess their strengths and weaknesses. Frequent reviews will ensure you are getting the best out of both the policies and your business.
If your staff are not following the policies in the way that you had hoped, you need to consider the reasons for this. Are the policies being ignored or misinterpreted? Could it be that your staff just need more training? Run training sessions or refresher sessions to ensure that your employees are clear about what is expected of them and to remind them of the details of the policies.
As your business grows and evolves, policies need to be consistently reviewed to make sure that they are still relevant and accurately reflect your business and your goals. Out-of-date policies will not get you results.