Thought Leadership

Why Every Organization Needs IT Policies and Governance

IT policies

(April 1, 2024) Although most organizations are aware of today’s security threats, many have not implemented the IT policies necessary to reduce risk. Those that have established formal IT policies often struggle to keep them up to date. In one recent survey, more than 41 percent of organizations said keeping policies and procedures up to date was a major challenge.

Many organizations must meet legal and regulatory requirements for IT security, data privacy, and business continuity. IT policies based on best practices help achieve those goals. However, every organization can benefit from an established set of policies and governance. These documents serve as a “mission statement” for the organization’s IT and security objectives, laying out the requirements governing user behaviors and the management of technical controls.

Developing IT policies can be time-consuming. However, a formal approach to policy development has proven to increase an organization’s security posture and minimize the damage should a security incident occur.

The Role of IT Governance

Policy development begins with IT governance. IT governance describes organizational structures and processes and identifies who is responsible for implementing and managing those processes. It also ensures that IT operations are aligned with company strategies, goals, and risk tolerance. It’s a structured approach to mitigating risk in a way that meets overall business objectives.

IT governance is often confused with regulatory compliance, and the two are related. However, they differ in focus, scope, and objectives. Regulatory compliance is concerned with meeting specific standards, with penalties for failing to do so. IT governance encompasses the organization’s overarching strategy, to improve IT security and performance. Governance is attuned to the organization’s specific needs, with the flexibility to adapt as those needs change.

IT governance also differs from IT management, which focuses on day-to-day operations. IT management implements and maintains technology tools and ensures that they meet the organization’s day-to-day needs.

How to Get Started

An IT governance framework should define roles and responsibilities, promote accountability, and aid decision-making and risk management. Once the framework is in place, organizations should conduct a risk assessment to identify potential vulnerabilities in the IT environment. This assessment will help guide the development of the IT policy.

Policies should be developed with a clear understanding of the specific problems to be prevented or solved. The first step is to conduct research and consult with all relevant stakeholders. Legal, human resources, executive management, and users will likely share different insights into the structure of each policy.

When drafting a policy, it’s important to avoid technical jargon and long-winded explanations. Once adopted, the policy will need to be communicated across the organization. With that in mind, the policy’s language and presentation should be simple to avoid confusion. The draft should be circulated to key stakeholders and revised to ensure clarity and alignment with corporate governance. 

Ongoing Review Is Critical

Once all parties agree on a policy, it must be presented to staff, and implemented with minimal business disruption. Mandatory policy training is also a requirement to ensure users understand the policy and how to follow it. After implementation, the policy must be continuously monitored, reviewed and updated to ensure it does what it needs to do while minimizing the impact on business operations.

As part of our managed services program, Mainstream can help you develop, implement and maintain IT policies that follow best practices. Let us work with you to minimize risk by creating IT policies that secure your network, satisfy business and regulatory requirements, support business operations, and meet strategic objectives.


Mainstream Technologies delivers a full range of technology services in Arkansas and the surrounding region including managed technology services and consulting, custom software development and cybersecurity services. We also offer industry-leading data center services in our Little Rock facilities. Established in 1996, Mainstream has earned a reputation for delivering quality, reliable, and professional technology services for public and private-sector customers across the United States. 

Jeff Pracht
IT Business Development Manager
(479) 715-8629 Office
(501) 529-0008 Mobile

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