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Have You Implemented an Acceptable Use Policy?

Today, the Internet for businesses is an essential tool of trade, and any business without an internet connection will find it difficult to operate effectively.

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Today, the Internet for businesses is an essential tool of trade, and any business without an internet connection will find it difficult to operate effectively.

Business internet connections are usually a lot faster than one may have at home as well. As such, staff often find it tempting to go beyond work related internet surfing, and businesses find internet use difficult to manage.

Businesses can go a long way in setting the boundaries of internet use in the workplace and making staff accountable, by implementing an Acceptable Use policy.

A typical Acceptable Use policy contains the following headings:

Overview – A few lines outlining the importance of the policy from a company perspective.

Purpose – The reasons the policy has been implemented, such as ‘ensuring the confidentiality, integrity and availability of Company A data’.

General Use – This is the ‘guts’ of the policy. It outlines the general expectation of the user, and details this in the sub-headings below:

  • Acceptable Use – Specific details such as how devices are to be used, whether company supplied or not; what the boundaries are and what must be approved and by whom.
  • Unacceptable Use – Specific details about what behaviour will not be tolerated and deemed unacceptable. This should cover all aspects of the computer environment.
  • Copyright – The Company’s expectations around copyright.
  • Confidentiality – Details of what data is to remain confidential.
  • Disclosure – Details of what data may not be disclosed.

Network Use – Specifics about how personal and generic user accounts are to be used; what the boundaries are within the network and the expectations and guidelines around passwords.

Breech / Enforcement – What action may take place if a staff member is found to be in breech of the policy, and how that may be enforced.

An Acceptable Use policy is implemented in an organisation by providing staff with two copies. A signed copy remains on file.

A clear Acceptable Use policy will set the boundaries of internet use, and keep staff accountable. Any deviation from the policy and the business can take appropriate action.

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