1 Policy Statement
It is [Your Company Name]’s (hereinafter referred to as the “Company”) policy to protect and secure the information and systems within our remit and we take this function very seriously. We have developed and implemented several physical, logical and procedural measures and controls to enforce our approach. We understand that it is vital to protect the systems and information held and used by us from unauthorised use or access and are fully aware of how such access can affect security, personal information and individuals. The types of measures and controls used by The Company are: –
- Physical Access Controls ensuring the availability of systems and information is restricted to authorised persons only, thus preventing locations and information from being accessible to non-authorised individuals. This includes [insert security measures such as deadbolts, alarms, biometrics, key-card access, buzzer systems etc on doors and windows].
- Logical Access Controls utilise tools and protocols for identification, authentication and authorisation of our computer information systems (including remote access, laptops and phone systems). The Company’s logical access controls enforce access measures to our systems, programs, processes, and information and include password protocols, user authentication methods, data and authentication credentials encryption and network, system and user-level firewalls.
- Procedural Access Measures include our defined policies and procedures that are followed by all staff and third parties and provide the steps for areas such as access control, information security, password protocols and clear desk measures.
The purpose of this policy is to ensure that system based and physical access to any information, location and/or system is controlled and where applicable restricted using controls and procedures that protect the associated information systems and data. The Company is committed to the security of the information and assets within our remit and enforce and stress test all access measures to ensure their functionality, effectiveness and purpose.
This Access Control & Password Policy aims to restrict access to controlled information and/or systems to only those staff or third parties who are authorised or have written permission from the Company. Where temporary and/or partial access to information or systems is required, we follow strict protocols to only enable access to the information or for the duration required by the activity.
This policy applies to all staff within the Company (meaning permanent, fixed term, and temporary staff, any third-party representatives or sub-contractors, agency workers, volunteers, interns and agents engaged with the Company in the UK or overseas). Adherence to this policy is mandatory and non-compliance could lead to disciplinary action.
The Company is committed to ensuring compliance with the rules, standards and regulations as laid out by its regulating and governing bodies and confirms that it has developed and implemented the appropriate procedures, systems, controls and measures to manage and mitigate risks.
For systems containing restricted and personal information and data, an access control matrix must be developed to record role based authorised access recorded on an individual basis. Authorisation procedures must be in place for managers to authorise all access (including short term and temporary access) recorded on the matrix. The access matrix must be continually updated and maintained to reflect accurate records of access.
As a company, we have a full understanding of the compliance standards that we are obligated to meet and confirm that we have in place effective and efficient tools and controls for meeting these obligations under the current regulatory system.
The Company’s objectives regarding compliance are to: –
- To gain access to specific systems and information, employees follow a formal request process which are submitted in writing to the [designated person/IT Manager]
- Generic logins are not permitted across the Company systems, however, use of generic accounts under ‘controlled’ circumstances can be permitted at the discretion of the [designated person/IT Manager]
- To ensure relevant company, contractual, regulatory and legislative security standards are met and adhered to, employee screening checks, including DBS, CRB and referencing are undertaken if required (please refer to our Due Diligence Program)
- The appropriate level of access to systems and information will be determined based on the user-level, role-based requirements and ad-hoc job functions and roles
- If authorisation to use systems and information is granted, unique login credentials and passwords will be provided to the employee, utilising the strong password controls detailed in this policy
- Access for remote users shall be subject to authorisation by line managers via the request form submitted to the [designated person/IT Manager]. No access is granted without a completed and authorised request form
[We have not provided a generic access request form as these should be developed by each company to meet the specifics of their business and industry type]
5 Procedures, Controls and Measures
It is pivotal to operating our business and providing services to clients that the Company use computers, telephone systems, software, hardware devices and data storage systems. Due to the nature of our business, such systems are often used to store information and assets that are of a personal and confidential nature. It is therefore essential that we protect and secure such information and access to the systems using a variety of access controls and measures.
We take a multi-tiered approach when securing systems and restricting access and detail in this policy the procedures and methods used throughout the Company. This information is disseminated to all employees and forms part of our information security program.
5.1 Logical Access Control
Access to systems within the Company are governed by our tiered logical access control measures. Access to any system is classified as one of the below access levels and restrictions are implemented at the user level. Levels can be changed at the discretion of the [designated person/IT Manager] and pending a completion of an access change form. Considerations for granting access is assessed based on: –
- An employee or user’s need of access to complete their job and/or task
- Duration of access
- Level of access
- Information types located on the system in questions
- Security measures in place if access is granted
- Ability to remove access at a predetermined time
- Access is decided and allocated on a case by case basis and can only be assigned by the [designated person/IT Manager].
5.1.1 Role-Based Access
Users are identified as being part of a group (such as employee) and their level of access is generic to all required areas. This level of access is inherited by all group members and is controlled by the [designated person/IT Manager]. Such group access is considered necessary for each employee to enable them to carry out their job and includes access to areas such as email, printers, the Company collection system and phone system. Directors, the [designated person/IT Manager] and Managerial staff can assign role-based access.
5.1.2 Manager Access
System access is granted at a higher level for managers and Directors who can access more system areas than generic employees. Such access is deemed essential to their oversight role and enables managerial staff to carry out functions and processes that require access to personal information, secure systems or data. Manager access is not inherited by the group and only the [designated person/IT Manager] can assign Manager Access.
5.1.3 Individual Access
System access is granted at the required level based on a business and/or legal requirement and is only granted to the individual(s) who requires access (i.e. if an employee is granted extended access, this is not inherited by any other role-based group member). Individual access is usually granted for a limited period by the [designated person/IT Manager] and is deactivated after the set period. Such access may include a role-based user needing access to sensitive information or restricted systems to perform a task or one-off project.
Passwords are a key part of the Company’s protection strategy and are used throughout the company to secure information and restrict access to systems. We use a multi-tiered approach which includes passwords at user, management, device, system and network levels to ensure a thorough and encompassing approach.
Passwords afford a high level of protection to resources and data and are mandatory requirements for all employees and/or third parties who are responsible for one or more account, system or have access to any resource that requires a password.
5.2.1 Password Creation & Change
Only those authorised to access specific devices, information and systems are provided with the relevant passwords and such provisions are reviewed monthly to ensure that access is still valid and required. Employees may never share their passwords with anyone else in the company, including co-workers, managers or IT staff and unique passwords are used for all employees and access to systems and devices.
Employees are made aware that strong passwords are required for all systems and user-access and that a strict non-disclosure protocol applies to passwords. Where applicable to the system or device being used, the Company utilises software to enforce the use of strong passwords through screen prompts. Employees are not allowed to share or disclose any password and failure to adhere to this rule could lead to disciplinary action being taken.
Strong passwords are enforced on systems and by users and must be: –
- More than 8 characters
- Include letters, numbers and at least 1 special characters
- Not be easily recognisable (i.e. no names, dates of birth, places etc)
- Must include upper and lowercase letters
- [Add/delete as applicable]
All passwords are changed monthly, and users are not permitted to reuse the same password within a 3-month period. This is forced using software on all systems and a password change is automatically promoted at the start of each month. This change is enforced within [insert number of days] of the change reminder being shown.
If a password is forgotten, only the [designated person/IT Manager] can reset passwords. Passwords that have been forgotten are changed by default and cannot be reset with a previously used password. A forced change of password is required where a user knows or suspects that their password or system may have been compromised.
Where a password is reset, the individuals identify is first verified. This is essential where remote access passwords are changed or reset, and the [designated person/IT Manager] is not able to physically verify the identity of the user. A two-step identification process is used in such instances with user-known variables being asked and answers verified prior to passwords being reset and disclosed.
5.2.2 Default Passwords
It is occasionally necessary to set up default password at the IT Manager level. This is usually only when a new system or user are being set up and a password change will be promoted from the first user use. Default passwords are change as soon as is possible and where applicable, access to information is restricted until a strong password has been created.
Where new systems, devices or software is purchased, default passwords are immediately changed and reset to use the strong variables indicated above.
5.2.3 Protecting Passwords
The Company is aware that viruses, software and phishing scams can attempt to obtain passwords at a user level. Whilst Firewalls are used to secure and protect systems and software, employees are provided with training and guidance on phishing and are instructed to never disclose their passwords in a physical or online environment. This includes not disclosing passwords to third-parties, clients or representatives who may have a legitimate need to access a system.
Password fields are always displayed in a hash or star format (i.e. ### or ***) so that clear text is not present when a password is typed. This helps to prevent unauthorised access or password disclosure by copy and paste or electronic printing methods.
Writing down or storing passwords in any written or digital format is forbidden and all employees are made aware of this. Disclosure or unintentional loss of a password that has been written down in any format will result in disciplinary action being taken.
If a user fails to use the correct username and/or password when logging in to a system or device, we utilise generic failure messages that do not disclose the exact nature of the login error. After 3 failed attempts, the system will advise that login has failed, however it will not disclose if this is due to the username, password or both being incorrect. This aids in preventing brute force attacks or a non-authorised user being aware of which field is incorrect, which then increases their login attempts.
Where login fails, we operate a three-strike approach and the system will become unavailable for 15 minutes before the login can be re-tried. This protects against external ‘bot’ attacks and brute force.
5.3 User ID’s and Badges
[Delete if not applicable]
The Company has adopted ID badges for all employees, visitors and third parties who are in our office building. Such badges are specific to those they are assigned to and ID’s or badges not in use are stored in a secure, locked area.
Employees must wear their ID badge at all times whilst in the building or whilst visiting third-party offices and are not allowed to share or copy their badge. All ID badges are assigned a unique verifying employee code which is specific to the employee and is logged on an Access Control Register. If an employee loses their ID, their code is immediately deactivated, and a new code is assigned. Codes are never reused after deactivation.
Visitors to the Company are given ‘Visitor ID Badges’ which states their name, company, position and responsible person. Visitors are accompanied on the premises at all times and are required to sign in and out of the building, sign confidentiality agreements and are assigned a company employee who is responsible for them during their visit.
5.4 Privileged Accounts
The Company understands the extreme importance of securing and restricting access to privileged accounts. Such accounts enable direct access to our network, servers, firewalls, routers, database servers, systems and software and as such are treated with the utmost security and protection. Employees and third parties are never given access to privileged accounts, unless they have been assigned responsibility for a direct function. Where this is the case, access is only given to the exact system or infrastructure required to complete their take.
We audit access to privileged accounts on a [daily/weekly/monthly] basis and review access monthly to ensure that it is still required. Records of access to privileged accounts are reviewed for consistency with access records.
5.5 Authorised Access
The Company keeps an Access Register and details which employees or third parties have access to which systems and information. The register also notes when the access was given, when it will be restricted (if temporary access), the type of data or system being accessed and the reason for access.
5.5.1 Login Controls
Systems can only be accessed by secure authentication of user validation, which consists of a username and password at the role-based user level. All computers have an active firewall and default to a lock screen with user authentication required after [1/2/5/10/15] minutes of inactivity. All staff are aware that if they leave their workstation, their monitor is to be turned off and their system locked. All computers are closed down at the end of the day and are not allowed to be left running out of business hours.
5.5.2 Credentials & Roles
on the valid credentials being used. Each user is assigned unique credentials and are not allowed to share or disclose them to any other employee or third-party. It is necessary for credentials to be stored so that when they are used to access a system, database or send an email, the authentication process works. All authentication credentials are encrypted when stored and transmitted and access is restricted to the [designated person/IT Manager].
[Delete if not applicable] As the Company is a small company, many roles are carried out by the [owner/director/manager] or validated staff, which means that having separate roles for areas such as authorised access or setting up accounts is not always possible. However, all requests for access are verified by the [designated person/IT Manager] and employees are never allowed to set up their own access, disclose credentials or bypass validations. An access request form is completed for all individual access requirements and is verified by the [designated person/IT Manager] before being authorised.
5.6 Physical Access Controls
Access to the Company building, office sections and secure rooms are protected by our building access controls. These increase building, information and employee security and safety and ensure that no unauthorised access is possible.
5.6.1 Door & Window Controls
The Company has [insert number & location of entrance/exit points] providing access to the building/office, which are secured via [insert security measures (i.e. deadbolts, CCTV, alarms, biometrics etc).]
All windows are alarmed and are kept locked when the building is vacated. Windows open during the day are secured with restricted access hinges to prevent access. Visitors are escorted at all times during a visit and are given an ID badge. They are also required to sign in and out in our access register and sign a confidentiality agreement. Where a visitor is required to carry any bag with them (including laptops), we reserve the right to search them on entering and leaving the building.
5.6.2 Outside Opening Hours
When the building has been vacated at the end of working hours, the alarm system is activated and secures all windows and doors. The building is ‘locked down’ after [18:00] and any alarm trigger will immediately notify the [director/manager/police/security services] who have a contact tree for the Director and deputy. [Insert out of hours alarm protocols]
5.6.3 Direct Access
The use of keys to any buildings, rooms, secure cabinets, safes etc are always controlled and recorded and keys are only provided to employees who require them for business and/or legal reasons. When not in use, keys are stored in a secure, locked cabinet and only the [designated person/IT Manager/Senior Manager] has access. Locations of keys are known at all times and if there is any suspicion that a key has been lost or compromised, lock and access points are changed immediately and monitored until the change is affected.
Visitors are not permitted to access server, network or confidential information areas without prior authorisation. Where authorisation has been given, visits are always escorted by a manager or the [designated person/IT Manager/Senior Manager].
5.7 Leavers & End of Contract
The Company operates an immediate deactivation process of any credentials and access rights on termination and reactivation is only possible via a written request and [designated person/IT Manager] authorisation.
Leavers are required to turn in their ID badge before existing the building and strict security checks and personal searches are performed. Hard copy ID’s are destroyed and where applicable, any electronic ID’s are deactivated with immediate effect. It is the line managers responsibility to ensure that ID badges are returned (or the [designated person/IT Manager] responsibility in the case of managers, visitors or third parties).
Where a project or service contract ends, any access or credentials provided during the contract are deactivated and any ID badges or keys are returned and signed back into the logbook.
Where an employee is on annual leave, we can suspend their credentials and access rights and reactivate on their return. This reduces the risk of unmanned access points, but also prevents having to reset up new credentials and access levels. If a user account is inactive for 30 days or more, the system automatically disabled access and prompts the user to contact the [designated person/IT Manager] to resolve.
[Designated person/IT Manager] are responsible for ensuring that all staff and managers are aware of security policies, including access control and secure passwords and the Company operates a top-down approach. Managers need to be aware they have a responsibility to ensure staff have sufficient, relevant knowledge concerning the security of information and systems and new starters and existing staff training workshops are run on an annual basis covering the access control and password policies and objectives.