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21 May 2022

Responsible disclosure - another new policy

We have just completed and released another topic-specific information security policy template, covering responsible disclosure (of vulnerabilities, mostly).

The policy encourages people to report any vulnerabilities or other information security issues they discover with the organisation's IT systems, networks, processes and people. Management undertakes to investigate and address reports using a risk-based approach, reducing the time and effort required for spurious or trivial issues, while ensuring that more significant matters are prioritised.

The policy distinguishes authorised from unauthorised security testing, and touches on ethical aspects such as hacking and premature disclosure.

It allows for reports to be made or escalated to Internal Audit, acting as a trustworthy, independent function, competent to undertake investigations dispassionately. This is a relief-valve for potentially sensitive or troublesome reports where the reporter is dubious of receiving fair, prompt treatment through the normal reporting mechanism - for instance, reporting on peers or managers.

It is primarily intended as an internal/corporate security policy applicable to workers ... but can be used as the basis for something to be published on your website, aimed at 'security researchers' and ethical hackers out there. There are notes about this at the end of the template. To be honest, there are plenty of free examples on the web but few if any are policies covering vulnerability disclosure by workers.

All that in just 3 pages, available as an MS Word document for $20 from SecAware.com.

I am working on another 2 new topic-specific policies as and when I get the time. Paradoxically, it takes me longer to prepare succcinct policy templates than, say, guidelines or awareness briefings. I have to condense the topic down to its essentials without neglecting anything important. After a fair bit of research and thinking about what those essentials are, the actual drafting is fairly quick, despite the formalities. Preparing new product pages and uploading the templates plus product images then takes a while, especially for policies that relate to several others in the suite - which most do these days as the SecAware policy suite has expanded and matured. As far as I know, SecAware has the broadest coverage of any info/cybersec policy suite on the market.

... Talking of which, I plan to package all the topic-specific policies together as a bulk deal before long. Having written them all, I know the suite is internally consistent in terms of the writing style, formatting, approach, coverage and level. It's also externally consistent in the sense of incorporating good security practices from the ISO27k and other standards.

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