100+ critical IT policies every company needs, ready for download

From remote work and social media to ergonomics and encryption, TechRepublic Premium, ZDNet's sibling site, has dozens of ready-made, downloadable IT policy templates.
Written by Bill Detwiler, Contributor

Whether you're writing corporate policies for business workers or university policies for faculty and staff, crafting an effective IT policy can be a daunting and expensive task.

You could spend hours writing a policies and procedures manual yourself, but consider how much your time is worth. According to job site Glassdoor, the average salary of an IT Director in the U.S. is over $140,000 (depending on geographic location, company, education, etc.). Over a year, that salary breaks down to about $67 per hour. If it takes you one work day to write an IT policy, that single policy cost you $536 ($67 x 8 hours).

Don't have time to write a business or university policy? You can pay a consultant hundreds of dollars to create one for you, but there's a better way.

Download a policy template from TechRepublic Premium. For less than what it would cost to create a single policy, TechRepublic Premium subscribers get access to over 100 ready-made IT policies. Just need one or two policies? We've got you covered. You can also purchase individual technology policies if that's all you need.

Once you download one of our information technology policy templates, you can customize it to fit your company's needs. Here's a sample of the types of policies in our library.

IT security policies

Security incident response policy: The Security Incident Response Policy describes the organization's process for minimizing and mitigating the results of an information technology security-related incident, such as a data breach, malware infection, insider breach, distributed denial of service attack (DDoS attack) and even equipment loss or theft. The policy's purpose is to define for employees, IT department staff and users the process to be followed when experiencing an IT-security incident.

Data encryption policy: The policy's purpose is to define for employees, computer users and IT department staff the encryption requirements to be used on all computer, device, desktop, laptop, server, network storage and storage area network disks and drives that access or store organization information to prevent unauthorized access to organization communications, email, records, files, databases, application data and other material.

Information security policy: From sales reports to employee social security numbers, IT is tasked with protecting your organisation's private and confidential data. To accomplish this, you need to define acceptable and unacceptable use of systems and identify responsibilities for employees, information technology staff, and supervisors/managers. This policy offers a comprehensive outline for establishing standards, rules and guidelines to secure your company's sensitive data.

VPN usage policy: Using a VPN to access internal resources comes with responsibilities to uphold network security, as well as to safely and equitably use company information resources. This policy will help you enforce security standards when it comes to VPN use.

Password management policy: Employee passwords are the first line of defense in securing the organization from inappropriate or malicious access to data and services.  Password-driven security may not be the perfect solution, but the alternatives haven't gained much traction. This password policy defines best practices that will make password protection as strong and manageable as possible.

Mobile device security policy: More and more users are conducting business on mobile devices. This can be due to increases in remote workers, travel, global workforces, or just being on-the-go. This policy provides guidelines for mobile device security needs in order to protect businesses and their employees from security threats.

Identity theft protection policy: Help protect your employees and customers from identity theft. This policy outlines precautions for reducing risk, signs to watch out for, and steps to take if you suspect identity theft has occurred.

Remote access policy: This policy outlines guidelines and processes for requesting, obtaining, using, and terminating remote access to organization networks, systems, and data.

User privilege policy: This policy provides guidelines for the delegation of user privileges on organization-owned systems and guidance for high-privilege and administrator accounts.

Perimeter security policy: While security principles should apply throughout the organization, locking down the perimeter and ensuring only necessary connections get through is an especially critical goal. This policy provides guidelines for securing your organization's network perimeter from potential vulnerabilities.

Security awareness and training policy: A security policy is only as valuable as the knowledge and efforts of those who adhere to it, whether IT staff or regular users. This policy is designed to help your information technology staff guide employees toward understanding and adhering to best security practices that are relevant to their job responsibilities and avoid a potential security incident.

IT emergency response and disaster recovery policies

Disaster recovery policy and business continuity plan: Natural and man-made disasters can jeopardize the operations and future of any company, so it's critical to develop a plan to help ensure ongoing business processes in a crisis. This download explains what needs to go into your DR/BC plan to help your organization prepare for-and recover from-a potential disaster.

Severe weather and emergency policy: This policy template offers guidelines for responding to severe weather activity and other emergencies. The download includes both a PDF version and an RTF document to make customization easier.

Resource and data recovery policy: All employees should be familiar with the processes for recovering information if it becomes lost, inaccessible, or compromised. This policy provides guidelines for the recovery of data from company-owned or company-purchased resources, equipment, and/or services.

Incident response policy: Whether initiated with criminal intent or not, unauthorized access to an enterprise network or campus network is an all too common occurrence. Every enterprise needs to establish a plan of action to assess and then recover from unauthorized access to its network. This policy provides a foundation from which to start building your specific procedures.

IT personnel policies

Contract work policy: It's common practice for companies to leverage contractors in order to offload work to specialized individuals or reduce costs associated with certain tasks and responsibilities. Our Contract work policy can help your company establish guidelines for retaining, overseeing and terminating contracts including orientation, access and role determinations and business considerations.

IT training policy: Successful IT departments are defined not only by the technology they deploy and manage, but by the skills and capabilities of their people. This IT training policy is designed to help workers identify training options that fit within their overall career development track and get the necessary approvals for enrollment and reimbursement.

Employee Performance Review Policy: A good performance review emphasizes the positives and seeks to turn weak areas into measurable goals to strengthen employee abilities and adherence to job responsibilities. It also solicits input from employees to address any issues or concerns they may have with their role at the company. TechRepublic Premium's Performance Review Policy and the accompanying review template can help you answer these questions and implement fair, effective and comprehensive reviews for your staff.

Third party vendor policy: Many businesses rely on outside companies, known as third party organizations, to handle their data or services.This policy provides guidelines for establishing qualified third party vendors with whom to do business and what requirements or regulations should be imposed upon their operational processes.

Moonlighting policy: Moonlighting, is especially frequent in technology where people with varying skills and backgrounds may find their abilities in demand by multiple companies. This policy provides guidelines for permissible employee moonlighting practices to establish expectations for both workers and organizations.

Drug and alcohol abuse policy: This policy provides a working framework for establishing rules and procedures that prohibit drug and alcohol use on company premises or in company vehicles. 

Employee non-compete agreement: Don't let your valuable corporate assets, proprietary information, or intellectual property walk out the door when an employee leaves the company.

Workplace safety policy: This policy will help ensure that your company facilities are safe for all employees, visitors, contractors, and customers. 

Severance Policy: The Severance Policy outlines the differences between simple departure scenarios where the employee is paid a final check for the time they worked and any unused vacation hours, as well as more complex situations.

Interviewing guidelines policy: This policy will help organizations conduct useful and appropriate interviews with potential new hires, both from a proper methodology perspective and a legal standpoint.

Employee objectives policy: Defining objectives is a prime way to motivate employees, giving them tangible proof of their accomplishments, their progress, and their contributions to the business. However, it's important to follow certain guidelines to provide an effective framework for establishing objectives, monitoring them, and helping employees complete them.

Personnel screening policy: This policy provides guidelines for screening employment candidates, either as full-time or part-time employees, or contingent workers, including temporary, volunteer, intern, contract, consultant, offshore, or 1099 workers) for high-risk roles. It aims to ensure that candidates meet regulatory and circumstantial requirements for employment.

Telecommuting policy: This policy describes the organization's processes for requesting, obtaining, using, and terminating access to organization networks, systems, and data for the purpose of enabling staff members to regularly work remotely on a formal basis.

IT staff systems/data access policy: IT pros typically have access to company servers, network devices, and data so they can perform their jobs. However, that access entails risk, including exposure of confidential information and interruption in essential business services. This policy offers guidelines for governing access to critical systems and confidential data.

Ergonomics policy: A safe and healthy work environment provides the foundation for all employees to be at their most productive. Not only does it promote productivity in the workforce, it also helps prevent accidents, lawsuits, and in extreme cases, serious injury and potentially loss of life. This policy establishes procedures to help ensure a safe, ergonomically healthy environment.

IT asset management policies

IT Hardware inventory policy: This policy describes guidelines your organization can follow to track, process, and decommission IT equipment.

Asset control policy: This customizable policy template includes procedures and protocols for supporting effective organizational asset management specifically focused on electronic devices.

IT hardware procurement policy: A strong hardware procurement policy will ensure that requirements are followed and that all purchases are subject to the same screening and approval processes.

BYOD Policy: Our BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Policy describes the steps your employees must take when connecting personal devices to the organization's systems and networks.

Home usage of company-owned equipment policy: Employees who work from home often use company-supplied systems and devices, which helps ensure that they have consistent, state-of-the-art equipment to do their work. However, organizations should provide usage guidelines, such as this policy, covering the responsibilities of IT staff and employees.

Hardware decommissioning policy: When decommissioning hardware, standard and well-documented practices are critical. The steps outlined in this policy will guide your staff methodically through the process. Assets won't be unnecessarily wasted or placed in the wrong hands, data stored on this hardware will be preserved as needed (or securely purged), and all ancillary information regarding hardware (asset tags, location, status, etc.) will be updated.

Acceptable Use Policy: Equipment:Employees rely on IT to provide the equipment they need to get things done. This policy template assists in directing employees to use that equipment safely and within organizational guidelines.

IT software management policies

Software usage policy: This policy is designed to help companies specify the applications that are allowed for installation and use on computer systems and mobile devices systems owned by the organization. It also covers the appropriate usage of these applications by company employees and support staff.

Development lifecycle policy: Software development is a complex process which involves a specific series of steps (known as the development lifecycle) to transform a concept into a deliverable product. The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines for establishing and following a development lifecycle system.

Patch management policy: A comprehensive patching strategy is a must in order to reap the benefits, however a willy-nilly approach can result in unexpected downtime, dissatisfied users and even more technical support headaches. This policy provides guidelines for the appropriate application of patches.

Artificial intelligence ethics policy: Artificial intelligence has the power to help businesses as well as employees by providing greater data insights, better threat protection, more efficient automation and other advances. However, if misused, artificial intelligence can be a detriment to individuals, organizations, and society overall. This policy offers guidelines for the appropriate use of and ethics involving artificial Intelligence.

Scheduled downtime policy: IT departments must regularly perform maintenance, upgrades, and other service on the organization's servers, systems, and networks. Communicating scheduled downtime in advance to the proper contacts helps ensure that routine maintenance and service tasks do not surprise other departments or staff, and it enables others within the organization to prepare and plan accordingly.

Internet and email usage policy: This policy sets forth guidelines for the use of the internet, as well as internet-powered electronic communications services, including email, proprietary group messaging services (e.g., Slack), and social networking services (e.g., Facebook, Twitter) in business contexts. It also covers Internet of Things (IoT) use, and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) practices.

Virtualization policy: Virtualization platforms are available from a number of vendors, but it's still critical to maintain your virtualization environment to avoid unnecessary resource consumption, out of-compliance systems or applications, data loss, security breaches, and other negative outcomes. This policy defines responsibilities for both end users and the IT department to ensure that the virtualized resources are deployed and maintained effectively.

Machine automation policy guidelines: Many industries rely on machine automation implementations to save money and reduce risk. However, along with the benefits comes the critical need to implement policies for its proper use. This set of guidelines will help your organization keep its machine automation safe, reliable, and in compliance.

Software automation policy guidelines: Software automation is used for many business and IT processes, depending on industry vertical and individual company business and IT needs. Because this automation is far-reaching, policy considerations touch on many areas. This set of guidelines will help you cover all the bases as you build a comprehensive software automation policy.

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