Drafting of Policies and Contracts

Computer Usage Policy

What is a Computer Usage Policy?

A Computer Usage Policy is a clearly defined and documented policy that effectively establishes an organization’s rules of engagement on the appropriate usage of the internet and company technology for employees. A Computer Usage Policy creates awareness in the workspace regarding prohibiting browsing particular websites, downloading specific files, and using an organization’s systems thoroughly that may compromise the organization’s security. The Policy also lays down the handling of certain breaches in the Computer Usage Policy for which strict action may be taken depending on the laws of the Organization’s Region.

Why is a Computer Usage Policy Required?

The need for Stringent Cybersecurity compliances and awareness has been growing exponentially, with the global automotive cybersecurity market estimated to grow to $9.7 billion by 2023. According to Aberdeen’s Risk Report[1], nearly 33% of data breaches involved internal team members; of those, 78% were from unintentional data loss or exposure. Additionally, according to a Benchmark Report on Phishing by Knowbe4[2], the security risk of phishing in several industries on average was 32.4%, with the percentage decreasing upon employee awareness.

A Computer Usage Policy can drastically decrease the probability of an organization being a victim of a Cyber Attack due to employee negligence. This would protect an organization from risks such as losing or leaking company information, destruction of computer files, malware, or ransomware attacks. Developing a Computer Usage Policy can prevent misuse and effectively identify and address any misuse before such misuse could lead to a severe breach.

What Benefits can a Computer Usage Policy Provide to an Organization?

A Computer Usage Policy offers Legal Protection for an Organization by placing certain liabilities on the user and setting a clear and well-defined boundary between the liabilities of an organization and that of the user regarding the security of computer systems. A good policy will inform employees of their privacy and company ownership rights, decreasing the risk of employees’ negligence in using an organization’s computer systems.

In addition to protecting an organization’s legal interests, developing a well-defined Computer Usage Policy sets the tone for upholding a professional environment in the workplace. Highlighting appropriate uses of Computer Systems and outlining inappropriate uses of Computer Systems can further promote an organization’s productivity levels and prevent employees from using Computer Systems in a personal capacity, thereby reducing the chances of an organization’s vulnerability.

Finally, a well-defined Computer Usage Policy also addresses the precautionary steps employees must undertake in using an Organization’s Computer System, such as ensuring a strong password. Employees can be held personally liable if such reasonable preventive methods have not been undertaken.

Therefore, in the age of growing Cyber Threats to an organization, precautions are urgently needed to minimize the risks of loss to organizations. Millions of Dollars are spent every year in the Cybersecurity industry alone, and a simple, well-defined Computer Usage Policy can go a long way in securing an organization’s interest in the long run.

Information Security Policies

What is an Information Security Policy?

In a world driven by data, every organization needs essential policies, rules, and regulations to protect its data from exploitation by external hackers or third parties. This is precisely what an Information Security Policy Provides. Often referred to as a Cybersecurity policy or Data Security Policy, it establishes comprehensive rules and processes for an organization’s users regarding using an Organization’s Computer Systems to protect data confidentiality, integrity, and availability.

Why is an Information Security Policy Important?

According to a report by IBM[3], the average data breach cost in 2021 was $4.24 million. Furthermore, security breaches are only increasing, with an estimated 67% increase since 2014, according to Accenture.[4] What makes all these figures even potentially spine-chilling is that the average time to identify a breach in 2021 was 212 days[5]. These figures only point to a need to protect an organization’s data efficiently.

In addition to the significant growth of Security Concerns, governments worldwide are in a frenzy to develop new laws and regulations to prevent security breaches by holding organizations liable for data and security breaches of personal data. Legislations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) entail heavy penalties on organizations for breaches of Personal Data.

In light of this, an Information Security Policy can drastically reduce the chances of Security Breaches and prevent the malicious theft of data. An Information Security Policy will provide an organization with a comprehensive idea of the various security measures in place and provide for the maintenance of a good Cybersecurity Policy in the organization.

The Three Principles of Information Security

Information Security Policies provide an organization with complete authority over the three principles of Information Security, i.e., Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability.

Confidentiality

Confidentiality of Data relies on the protection of personal and sensitive data. Private Data that could be used to identify an individual is often the target of various external actors, as such data can be used for the commission of Identity Theft or Fraud. Confidentiality also extends to company data and trade secrets that require stringent protection.

 Integrity

Data integrity is another essential principle of Information Security that relies on protecting data quality. Organizations must preserve data integrity and avoid alterations that potentially harm data owners.

Availability

Availability of Data refers to the ability to ensure users access to data whenever needed. Accuracy of data, completeness of data, and consistency of data are necessary to fulfill this principle of Information Security. Procedures are required for the storage and recovery of data by an organization.

An Information Security Policy, therefore, provides an organization with the power to protect itself from data breaches and ensure awareness and best practice methods are employed in handling data. Such a policy would benefit an organization by detecting new threats early on and safeguarding against data breaches, thereby providing customers with an added layer of confidence in the management of data by an organization. Having a well-defined Information Security Policy will ultimately protect the interests of an organization in a world full of data.

Vetting of Agreements/Contracts

What is Vetting of Agreements?

In today’s fast-paced world, an organization cannot go through its lifetime, from incorporation to termination, without being a party to an agreement or a contract. An agreement may very well hold the keys to the functioning of an organization and can be very detrimental to the life of an organization. From the rights to the liabilities to the duties, contracts can determine it all, and any breach of such agreement can result in legal consequences that could severely harm a company.

A poorly drafted contract can result in chaos and confusion concerning an agreement’s wording and intention. It can further result in the loss of standing for an organization. Nevertheless, the best solution to avoid getting caught in a bad contract would be to carefully and critically examine the agreement, referred to as the Vetting of Agreements.

What are the various actions taken under the Vetting of an Agreement?

During the Vetting of an agreement, each word is carefully examined, and the contract as a whole is read and analyzed to rule out any slight possibility of additional meanings or words being drawn into the agreement apart from the literal meaning to be associated with the contract. It further enables a third party to provide a fresh perspective on the contract resulting in a more precise opinion.

Additionally, the Vetting of an agreement also ensures clarity in any terms, including monetary figures or securities, to rule out any discrepancies that may arise after an agreement is executed. All duties, roles, liabilities, and rights of an agreement would also be examined to ensure reduced risks to an organization during the course of the contract. Moreover, clauses such as the arbitration clause, termination clause, or guarantee clause would also be vetted to ensure an extra layer of protection for the interests of an organization.

Finally, the Vetting of an agreement would also include the legality of the agreement and ensure that the contract is valid and sound so that in the event of any breach or issue that may arise, the contract would be held perfectly valid in the eyes of the law. The contents of the agreement, the consideration, and the ability of the parties to agree would be vetted and inspected in great detail to avoid any technicalities that may arise.

Who can vet an agreement?

While any person can vet an agreement, it is highly advisable and recommended that a third party should vet an agreement as such a person would be able to provide an objective and clear understanding of the agreement. Additionally, a professional well versed in the law relating to the subject matter of the agreement would be better equipped to vet an agreement.

In this day and age, where contracts have the power to determine the rights of an organization, the Vetting of an agreement is an unavoidable necessity for any organization or person. No matter how minute an agreement may seem, the risk of not vetting an agreement would more often than not outweigh the benefits of an agreement.

[1] https://www.code42.com/resources/reports/aberdeen-report-understanding-your-insider-risk-and-the-value-of-your-intellectual-property?utm_source=pressrelease&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=cpg_reputation_awareness&utm_bu=ent&utm_content=aberdeen-report-understanding-your-insider-risk-and-the-value-of-your-intellectual-property#main-content

[2] https://www.knowbe4.com/hubfs/2020PhishingByIndustryBenchmarkingReport.pdf

[3] https://www.ibm.com/reports/data-breach

[4] https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insights/cyber-security-index

[5] https://www.ibm.com/reports/data-breach

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