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However, this process is extremely hands-on -- someone has to intervene to correlate the data between the various control points, including antivirus programs, IDSes, firewalls and authentication systems such as Active Directory. Manually monitoring for policy compliance can be quite cumbersome. Potential problems include the following:. The time and effort involved in manual policy management can make automated tools an attractive alternative , especially for large organizations.

In recent years, several vendors have come to market with policy management solutions, including Elemental Security, Solsoft and BindView acquired by Symantec earlier this year. Most of these vendors' products couple the creation of policies with management software.

Acceptable Use Policy | Policy Library | Georgia Institute of Technology | Atlanta, GA

Essentially, managers create the policies, and the software enforces them and measures compliance. Elemental Security takes a host-centric view of policy management, implementing polices into servers and workstations on the network. Solsoft uses a network-centric approach by applying policies to network devices. BindView takes a host-based view, but also has an add-on component that helps write policies, push them out to users, and track user acceptance and exceptions. Automated tools work by taking your security policies and procedures and implementing them into control points. As noted, some tools operate by controlling network devices -- they convert policies into configuration criteria for network devices, such as routers.

With host-based tools, policy is converted into configuration commands. What is especially helpful about some policy management products is that they provide the templates for different standards, such as ISO and CobiT, and cross-correlate them with relevant regulations. With the templates provided, you can choose the policies necessary for your organization. Another noteworthy feature of many policy management products is that they integrate across the enterprise, pulling data from a variety of sources, including backup, antivirus, content filtering solutions, firewalls, operating systems and routers; these data feeds should reduce the amount of data the user has to sift through.

Some automated tools also integrate vulnerability management, keeping systems up to date and addressing emerging threats and zero-day exploits. The ability of policy management tools to automatically correlate large amounts of disparate data can also facilitate regulatory compliance and reporting since it allows users to pull compliance data for specific regulations. A major complaint among security professionals is the redundant requests for the same audit-related information from external auditors, internal auditors and government regulators. Instead of having to complete several different audits that address similar issues, these tools allow you to generate reports tailored for different groups.

Automated policy management tools can also monitor for violations and track policy exceptions. A key benefit is that all reports are consolidated into one management console, making them easier to track than with the manual approach. But they are not really active monitoring products -- they won't act like a fire alarm. Symantec, however, plans to integrate BindView with technology that manages incidents; other tools are designed to integrate with security event management products.

None of the products are plug-and-play -- all take time to implement; some even require companies to convert their policies into a specific format. Implementation times vary depending on the product and the state of the organization's policies. Along with implementation times, software cost is a key consideration with automated tools. For instance, the Elemental Security Platform 2.

Creating An Information Security Policy

Both the manual and automated approaches can do the job well, but they clearly have limitations. In a large enterprise, automated policy management tools can be a tremendous help. But for smaller organizations, they may not be worth the cost. Another possible problem with automated tools is that, instead of making customized policies for the enterprise, users can modify the company to fit the policies.

Right now, many automated products are limited in scope by only taking a slice of the pie -- either the network- or host-based approach. To truly be effective, a policy management solution needs both. Symantec is moving in that direction, with plans to add a network-based component. Policy development and policy management are a complex series of daily tasks, but companies must face the challenge.

As our IT infrastructure becomes more complicated and threats continue to grow, we will increase our reliance on manual and automated tools to enforce policies and report on compliance. As policy management products continue to mature, we will see automated tools that are better equipped to deal with the problem holistically, and hopefully prices will drop to where businesses of any size can afford to implement them.

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    Scope This employee internet usage policy applies to all our employees, contractors, volunteers and partners who access our network and computers. Employee internet usage policy elements What is appropriate employee internet usage? To seek out information that they can use to improve their work. To access their social media accounts, while conforming to our social media policy. Employees should: Keep their passwords secret at all times. Log into their corporate accounts only from safe devices.

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    Use strong passwords to log into work-related websites and services. What is inappropriate employee internet usage? Send confidential information to unauthorized recipients. Download or upload movies, music and other copyrighted material and software. Visit potentially dangerous websites that can compromise the safety of our network and computers.

    Send obscene, offensive or discriminatory messages and content. Send unauthorized advertisements or solicitation emails. Examples of serious violations are: Using our internet connection to steal or engage in other illegal activities. Causing our computers to be infected by viruses, worms or other malicious software. Sending offensive or inappropriate emails to our customers, colleagues or partners. Disclaimer: This employee internet usage policy template is meant to provide general guidelines and should be used as a reference.

    Employee internet usage policy