Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Internet User Policy and Internet Acceptable Use

The misuse of the Internet represents a loss of productivity and abuse of resources for non-business needs. Employee productively, network performance, security issues, legal liability and bad publicity can affect company’s who fail to have a policy and the right tools in place.

Controlling Internet usage to stop staff surfing for Internet porn, legal downloads, taking up bandwidth and legal liability or behaviour that may damage reputation. An Internet Acceptable Use policy can clarify company usage, protect against liability and security threats and educate users on effective good practise and the consequences for breaching the policy.

You’ll need to decide how much personal Internet use is acceptable and what types of content and sites/files need to be blocked and locked down. Porn, Gambling, Harmful sites, Social Networking Sites, File Sharing and as well as blocking image files (bmp, gif, jpg, png, tif), movies/music (avi, mpg, mp3) and executable files so users can’t download or run them.

Another issue is protecting company secrets and data. You’ll need to educate users and make sure they understand password security, the breach of confidence, copyright, data protection and not forgetting digital harassment like racial/sexual. Managers across the organisation also have a responsibility to ensure that they fully understand the email policy and effectively communicate this to staff.

My advice is to write your policy before evaluating any web site monitoring, filtering and blocking solution and work closely with your HR department to lay down the ground rules for employees. In addition also make sure the software reporting is half decent so you can get useful and reliable data out should/when a nasty breach or event is escalated to IT.

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