Creating an email and internet policy :

If your employees have access to the internet and email systems provided by the company, then you should consider creating a policy which defines what is acceptable browsing behaviour, how and when personal usage is allowed, and how such activity is monitored.  It is normal for all employees who are granted internet access to sign the policy, agreeing to the rules and guidance stated by the policy. 

Normally, the policy may state that employees violating the policy may have their access to the internet revoked.   In some cases this may mean that the employee is unable to perform their normal job function.

Some businesses apply a restriction and network policy which stops all internet downloads.   Any employee who has a requirement to download files from the internet would have to apply to have this restriction removed from their profile.  Senior management approval is normally required to grant such approval.

The policy should draw distinct boundaries between company and personal internet / email usage.  While internet usage is beneficial for legitimate company business, it is necessary to restrict access to social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, as excessive employee usage of these sites can lead to a loss of productivity.  The policy should consider access to personal email and instant messaging as these are prime carriers for malware, spyware and viruses.

Access to sites such as social networking may be allowed outside of working hours such as breaks and lunch, by the use of a timed allowance applied by web filtering software.  Some web filtering will allow the administrator to set an amount of time per day for an employee to have personal internet access.  Rather than set a particular time of the day, the employee may be allowed a period of time for example, one hour, which may be taken in ten minute chunks during which they are permitted to use the company internet connection for personal usage.

The policy will also need to define the actions which would be taken if an employee is found to be in breach of the policy conditions.

Although seen by some employees as an unnecessary and restrictive measure, the purpose of the policy is to protect the business, the network and the integrity of the company data.

Revision 4 can guide you through the creation of a policy and implement filtering software which will help to enforce that policy.

Please contact us via the contact form for further information.