What is a Network Security Policy? - Procedures & Examples

Instructor: David Whitsett

David has taught computer applications, computer fundamentals, computer networking, and marketing at the college level. He has a MBA in marketing.

In most group activities, we use rules for common behavior. Using a network in a group setting is no different; there are rules for computer access in order to protect the data. In this lesson, we'll define what a network security policy is and discuss its usage.

What is a Network Security Policy?

Imagine working in an office building with big windows where people could see in and doors that were never locked. There are no guards at the door and right in the middle of the floor, in plain view from inside or outside, is a pile of gold coins. Employees could easily put them in their pockets and walk out, and people could come in from outside and do the same thing - walk away with the gold.

Without a proper, enforceable network security policy, the data in a company could walk out the door just like the gold mentioned above. A network security policy is a set of rules put in place for how data is accessed. It defines what needs protecting, what processes are critical to the success of the company, and how to ensure the company is able to do business and fulfill its mission. It includes management objectives, rules for computer users and administrators and also specifies consequences for unauthorized usage or behavior.

Data needs to be protected like anything of value
Network lock

One of the most common general polices within a network security policy is an acceptable usage policy (AUP), which specifies how employees can utilize company computer resources, and instructs them on how to protect company resources and private information. There may also be separate sections in the network security policy dealing with email usage, remote access, passwords, using personal devices and phones, document retention and acceptable software applications. The policy will typically cover both physical network assets (i.e. company laptops) and data.

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