Policies and procedures serve a real purpose
Ben Franklin once said, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Prevention for business can take the form of policies and procedures. Policies are the rules the business abides by; procedures serve to inform employees how to implement rules.
As a former auditor and commercial lender, Anne Wakeman of MultiCultural Writers Inc. notes that, "Particularly for small- to medium-sized businesses, policies and procedures are absolutely critical in ensuring success and avoiding disaster."
Let's take a look at how implemented policies can help prevent problems.
Several laptops were stolen from an office by a group of people pretending to be part of the cleaning company. Every laptop stolen contained sensitive client data. After the theft, all clients had to be notified that their personal information may have been compromised. The breach of security prompted 25 percent of the company's clients to close their accounts.
One laptop had the company's computer identifications and passwords taped to the bottom, which the thieves used to gain access to the plans for an upcoming product. The information was then sold to a competitor.
If the company had policies on how computer ID and passwords should be stored; on how sensitive data must be encrypted; and how all laptops and desktops must be secured, some of these problems may have been avoided.
Policies and procedures are frequently viewed as boring and bothersome, but they do serve a valuable purpose. They protect company assets and provide a guide for employee actions.
Susan Kastan, Kastan Consulting, can be reached at (585) 734-0804 or email@example.com.
This column is written by members of the Rochester Women's Network, whose focus is to help women connect, grow and succeed. For more information, go to www.rwn.org.