Welcome to the SANS Security Policy Resource page, a consensus research project of the SANS community. The ultimate goal of the project is to offer everything you need for rapid development and implementation of information security policies. You'll find a great set of resources posted here already, including policy templates for twenty-seven important security requirements.
Policy Templates - Categories
There is no cost for using these resources. They were compiled to help the people attending SANS training programs, but security of the Internet depends on vigilance by all participants, so we are making this resource available to the entire community.
Over the years a frequent request of SANS attendees has been for consensus policies, or at least security policy templates, that they can use to get their security programs updated to reflect 21st century requirements. While SANS has provided some policy resources for several years, we felt we could do more if we could get the community to work together. This page provides a vastly improved collection of policies and policy templates.
This page will continue to be a work in-progress and the policy templates will be living documents. We hope all of you who are SANS attendees will be willing and able to point out any problems in the models we post by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We also hope that you will share policies your organization has written if they reflect a different need from those provided here or if they do a better job of making the policies brief, easy to read, feasible to implement, and effective.
We'll make improvements and add new resources and sample policies as we discover them.
Is it a Policy, a Standard or a Guideline?
What's in a name? We frequently hear people use the names "policy", "standard", and "guideline" to refer to documents that fall within the policy infrastructure. So that those who participate in this consensus process can communicate effectively, we'll use the following definitions.
A policy is typically a document that outlines specific requirements or rules that must be met. In the information/network security realm, policies are usually point-specific, covering a single area. For example, an "Acceptable Use" policy would cover the rules and regulations for appropriate use of the computing facilities.
A standard is typically a collection of system-specific or procedural-specific requirements that must be met by everyone. For example, you might have a standard that describes how to harden a Windows 8.1 workstation for placement on an external (DMZ) network. People must follow this standard exactly if they wish to install a Windows 8.1 workstation on an external network segment. In addition, a standard can be a technology selection, e.g. Company Name uses Tenable SecurityCenter for continuous monitoring, and supporting policies and procedures define how it is used.
A guideline is typically a collection of system specific or procedural specific "suggestions" for best practice. They are not requirements to be met, but are strongly recommended. Effective security policies make frequent references to standards and guidelines that exist within an organization.