ISO 27001:2022 A 5.10 Acceptable use of information and other associated assets

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This Control states that the rules for the acceptable use and procedures for handling information and other associated assets should be identified, documented and implemented. There must be a  clear guidelines of how users should behave when working with information assets, to ensure confidentiality, integrity and availability of the organisation’s information security assets.Acceptable use of information and other associated assets means using information assets in ways that do not put at risk the availability, reliability, or integrity of data, services or resources. It also means using them in ways that do not violate laws or the organisation’s policies The Acceptable Use of Information Assets applies to all members of an organisation and assets owned or operated by the organisation. It applies to all uses of Information Assets for any purpose, including commercial. The following are examples of Information Assets:

  • Hardware: computers, mobile devices, phones and fax machines.
  • Software: operating systems, applications (including Web-based apps), utilities, firmware and programming languages.
  • Data: structured data in relational databases, flat files and No SQL data; unstructured data such as text documents, spreadsheets, images, video and audio files; records in any format.
  • Networks: wired and wireless networks; telecommunications systems; voice over IP services.
  • Services: cloud services, email accounts and other hosted services.
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Control

Rules for the acceptable use and procedures for handling information and other associated assets should be identified, documented and implemented.

Purpose

To ensure information and other associated assets are appropriately protected, used and handled.

ISO 27002 Implementation Guidance

Personnel and external party users using or having access to the organization’s information and other associated assets should be made aware of the information security requirements for protecting and handling the organization’s information and other associated assets. They should be responsible for their use of any information processing facilities.
The organization should establish a topic-specific policy on the acceptable use of information and other associated assets and communicate it to anyone who uses or handles information and other associated assets. The topic-specific policy on acceptable use should provide clear direction on how individuals are expected to use information and other associated assets. The topic-specific policy should state:

  1. expected and unacceptable behaviors of individuals from an information security perspective;
  2. permitted and prohibited use of information and other associated assets;
  3. monitoring activities being performed by the organization.

Acceptable use procedures should be drawn up for the full information life cycle in accordance with its classification and determined risks. The following items should be considered:

  1. access restrictions supporting the protection requirements for each level of classification;
  2. maintenance of a record of the authorized users of information and other associated assets;c) protection of temporary or permanent copies of information to a level consistent with the protection of the original information;
  3. storage of assets associated with information in accordance with manufacturers’ specifications;
  4. clear marking of all copies of storage media (electronic or physical) for the attention of the authorized recipient ;
  5. authorization of disposal of information and other associated assets and supported deletion method.

Other information

It can be the case that the assets concerned do not directly belong to the organization, such as public cloud services. The use of such third-party assets and any assets of the organization associated with such external assets (e.g. information, software) should be identified as applicable and controlled, for example, through agreements with cloud service providers. Care should also be taken when a collaborative working environment is used.

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After going through the asset inventory, categorization, and ownership identification, ensure there are documented policies regarding the acceptable use of assets. Define, and document, the rules that clarify the acceptable uses of assets associated with information and information processing facilities. It is important, once the rules are clarified, that appropriate controls are implemented and the security requirements are communicated. Target the communication of security requirements to employees and, if appropriate, third parties who may use these assets. Accountability is key. Asset owners should be responsible and accountable, even if the owner has delegated responsibility, for their use of facilities and resources. The Control was designed to ensure that policies, procedures and technical controls are in place to prevent users from inappropriately accessing, using or disclosing information assets.This control aims to provide a framework for organisations to ensure that information and other assets are appropriately protected, used and handled. This includes ensuring that the policies and procedures exist at all levels within the organisation, as well as ensuring that those policies and procedures are consistently enforced. You have put in place the various requirements related to how your company protects IT assets including:

  • The protection of information in storage, processing and transit.
  • The protection and appropriate use of IT equipment.
  • The use of appropriate authentication services to control access to information systems.
  • The processing of information within an organisation only by users with appropriate authorisation.
  • The allocation of information-related responsibilities to specific individuals or roles.
  • The education and training of users regarding their security responsibilities.

You will need to develop procedures for handling assets associated with your information and information processing facilities. It is important that your asset handling procedures respect and reflect how you classified it. Ensure that

  • Information is handled and protected according to its classification. This includes sharing with external entities.
  • There are procedures to control classified information. Clarify how yours, and perhaps others’, classifications should be interpreted.
  • Information is stored, processed, transmitted and copied according to its classification. Copies should get the same protections.
  • Access restrictions are designed for each level of classification. Restrictions must meet protection requirements.
  • There is a formal record of the authorized recipients of the assets. Specify who the authorized recipient should be. Label media copies appropriately.

All of the above bullet points can be incorporated into one procedural access handling document. Remember, keep it simple so others will be able to understand and comply with the requirements. Hold a session with your information and physical asset owners so they can help you define the requirements. It’s important everyone feels ownership of this process.

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An example of an Acceptable Use Rules

1.0 General Use and Ownership

  1. proprietary information stored on electronic and computing devices whether owned or leased by , the employee or a third party, remains the sole property of. You must ensure through legal or technical means that proprietary information is protected in accordance with the Data Protection Standard.
  2. You have a responsibility to promptly report the theft, loss or unauthorized disclosure of proprietary information.
  3. You may access, use or share proprietary information only to the extent it is authorized and necessary to fulfill your assigned job duties.
  4. Employees are responsible for exercising good judgment regarding the reasonableness of personal use. Individual departments are responsible for creating guidelines concerning personal use of Internet/Intranet/Extranet systems. In the absence of such policies, employees should be guided by departmental policies on personal use, and if there is any uncertainty, employees should consult their supervisor or manager.
  5. For security and network maintenance purposes, authorized individuals within may monitor equipment, systems, and network traffic at any time, per the organization’s Audit Policy.
  6. reserves the right to audit networks and systems on a periodic basis to ensure compliance with this policy.

2.0 Security and Proprietary Information

  1. All mobile and computing devices that connect to the internal network must comply with the Minimum Access Policy.
  2. System-level and user-level passwords must comply with the Password Policy. Providing access to another individual, either deliberately or through failure to secure its access, is prohibited.
  3. All computing devices must be secured with a password-protected screensaver with the automatic activation feature set to 10 minutes or less. You must lock the screen or log off when the device is unattended.
  4. Postings by employees from an email address to newsgroups should contain a disclaimer stating that the opinions expressed are strictly their own and not necessarily those of unless posting is in the course of business duties.
  5. Employees must use extreme caution when opening e-mail attachments received from unknown senders, which may contain malware.

3.0 Unacceptable Use

The following activities are, in general, prohibited. Employees may be exempted from these restrictions during the course of their legitimate job responsibilities (e.g., systems administration staff may have a need to disable the network access of a host if that host is disrupting production services).
Under no circumstances is an employee of authorized to engage in any activity that is illegal under local, state, federal, or international law while utilizing -owned resources.
The lists below are by no means exhaustive, but attempt to provide a framework for activities that fall into the category of unacceptable use.
3.1  System and Network Activities
The following activities are strictly prohibited, with no exceptions:

  1. Violations of the rights of any person or company protected by copyright, trade secret, patent or other intellectual property, or similar laws or regulations, including, but not limited to, the installation or distribution of “pirated” or other software products that are not appropriately licensed for use by.
  2. Unauthorized copying of copyrighted material including, but not limited to, digitization and distribution of photographs from magazines, books or other copyrighted sources, copyrighted music, and the installation of any copyrighted software for which or the end-user does not have an active license is strictly prohibited.
  3. Accessing data, a server or an account for any purpose other than conducting business, even if you have authorized access, is prohibited.
  4. Exporting software, technical information, encryption software or technology, in violation of international or regional export control laws, is illegal. The appropriate management should be consulted prior to the export of any material that is in question.
  5. Introduction of malicious programs into the network or server (e.g., viruses, worms, Trojan horses, e-mail bombs, etc.).
  6. Revealing your account password to others or allowing the use of your account by others. This includes family and other household members when work is being done at home.
  7. Using a computing asset to actively engage in procuring or transmitting material that is in violation of sexual harassment or hostile workplace laws in the user’s local jurisdiction.
  8. Making fraudulent offers of products, items, or services originating from any account.
  9. Making statements about warranty, expressly or implied, unless it is a part of normal job duties.
  10. Effecting security breaches or disruptions of network communication. Security breaches include, but are not limited to, accessing data of which the employee is not an intended recipient or logging into a server or account that the employee is not expressly authorized to access unless these duties are within the scope of regular duties. For purposes of this section, “disruption” includes, but is not limited to, network sniffing, pinged floods, packet spoofing, denial of service, and forged routing information for malicious purposes.
  11. Port scanning or security scanning is expressly prohibited unless prior notification to Information Security is made.
  12. Executing any form of network monitoring which will intercept data not intended for the employee’s host, unless this activity is a part of the employee’s normal job/duty.
  13. Circumventing user authentication or security of any host, network or account.
  14. Introducing honeypots, honeynets, or similar technology on the network.
  15. Interfering with or denying service to any user other than the employee’s host (for example, denial of service attack).
  16. Using any program/script/command, or sending messages of any kind, with the intent to interfere with, or disable, a user’s terminal session, via any means, locally or via the Internet/Intranet/Extranet.
  17. Providing information about, or lists of, employees to parties outside.

3.2 Email and Communication Activities

When using company resources to access and use the Internet, users must realize they represent the company. Whenever employees state an affiliation to the company, they must also clearly indicate that “the opinions expressed are my own and not necessarily those of the company”. Questions may be addressed to the IT Department

  1. Sending unsolicited email messages, including the sending of “junk mail” or other advertising material to individuals who did not specifically request such material (email spam).
  2. Any form of harassment via email, telephone or paging, whether through language, frequency, or size of messages.
  3. Unauthorized use, or forging, of email header information.
  4. Solicitation of email for any other email address, other than that of the poster’s account, with the intent to harass or to collect replies.
  5. Creating or forwarding “chain letters”, “Ponzi” or other “pyramid” schemes of any type.
  6. Use of unsolicited email originating from within ‘s networks of other Internet/Intranet/Extranet service providers on behalf of, or to advertise, any service hosted by or connected via ‘s network.
  7. Posting the same or similar non-business-related messages to large numbers of Usenet newsgroups (newsgroup spam).

3.3 Blogging and Social Media

  1. Blogging by employees, whether using ’s property and systems or personal computer systems, is also subject to the terms and restrictions set forth in this Policy. Limited and occasional use of ’s systems to engage in blogging is acceptable, provided that it is done in a professional and responsible manner, does not otherwise violate company’s policy, is not detrimental to ’s best interests, and does not interfere with an employee’s regular work duties. Blogging from ’s systems is also subject to monitoring.
  2. Company’s Confidential Information policy also applies to the blog. As such, Employees are prohibited from revealing any confidential or proprietary information, trade secrets or any other material covered by ’s Confidential Information policy when engaged in blogging.
  3. Employees shall not engage in any blogging that may harm or tarnish the image, reputation and/or goodwill of and/or any of its employees. Employees are also prohibited from making any discriminatory, disparaging, defamatory or harassing comments when blogging or otherwise engaging in any conduct prohibited by Company’s Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment policy.
  4. Employees may also not attribute personal statements, opinions or beliefs to when engaged in blogging. If an employee is expressing his or her beliefs and/or opinions in blogs, the employee may not, expressly or implicitly, represent themselves as an employee or representative of . Employees assume any and all risks associated with blogging.
  5. Apart from following all laws pertaining to the handling and disclosure of copyrighted or export controlled materials, ’s trademarks, logos and any other intellectual property may also not be used in connection with any blogging activity

4.0 Policy Compliance

  1. Compliance Measurement: The IT team will verify compliance with this policy through various methods, including but not limited to, business tool reports, internal and external audits, and feedback to the policy owner.
  2. Exceptions: Any exception to the policy must be approved by the II team in advance.
  3. Non-Compliance: An employee found to have violated this Rules may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

—————————End of example—————————————

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