Gartner Research

Ten Security Policy Writing Mistakes You Cannot Afford to Make

Published: 22 September 2016

ID: G00314971

Analyst(s): Sam Olyaei , Jeffrey Wheatman

Summary

Good security policy is a fundamental component to a sound information security posture, but security and risk management leaders may struggle to write effective policy documents, resulting in inflexible policies that can do more harm than good. Improve your policy by avoiding these common mistakes.

Table Of Contents
  • Key Challenges

Introduction

Analysis

  • Mistake No. 1: Policies Are Too Long and Detailed
    • Example
    • Avoid This Mistake
  • Mistake No. 2: Least-Resource-Intensive Security Policies Published Before Ones That Address the Most Significant Risks
    • Example
    • Avoid This Mistake
  • Mistake No. 3: Too Many New or Updated Policies Published in a Short Time Period — Especially When the Policies Require Significant Changes to the Way People Work
    • Example
    • Avoid This Mistake
  • Mistake No. 4: Combining Charter, Policy, Process and Guideline Statements in One Document
    • Example
    • Avoid This Mistake
  • Mistake No. 5: Lack of Clarity About What Is Actually Required or Mandated
    • Example
    • Avoid This Mistake
  • Mistake No. 6: Policy Is Targeted to the Wrong Audience
    • Example
    • Avoid This Mistake
  • Mistake No. 7: Scope of the Policy Is Mixed or Too Broad
    • Example
    • Avoid This Mistake
  • Mistake No. 8: Using Passive and Inconsistent Vocabulary
    • Example
    • Avoid This Mistake
  • Mistake No. 9: Making Compliance Management an Afterthought
    • Example
    • Avoid This Mistake
  • Mistake No. 10: Not Refreshing Your Security Policies
    • Example
    • Avoid This Mistake

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