Social Enterprise

Poll: Does your organization allow reasonable personal use of corporate network resources?

Each organization should develop common-sense policies that fit their needs. But, Bill Detwiler believes there's almost always a way to work a personal use clause into any policy. Does your company allow a little personal use of the corporate network?

Unless above-normal security is required, I've always been a fan of "reasonable" personal use clauses in acceptable computer/internet/network use policies. In a recent blog post, I explain why there's almost always a way to work a personal use clause into any policy.

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

9 comments
rltcok02
rltcok02

A communications company and the Internet is almost as free as the Intranet so restrictions but FaceBook, YouTube, Yahoo, MSN, ect are allowed. Now do they monitor should and say they do but the reality is no man power and unless there is an HR issue they will never check. I did however work at a Tribe in Oklahoma and they restricted everything and it was common to request access to business required sites because of that restriction.

racoonracer
racoonracer

The clause really doesn't matter for a lot of people. In the service industry such as IT, I don' mind tech support hopping on the net digging for cool stuff to read, learn, or enjoy. I also don't expect them and myself pouring over man pages or MS whitepapers on down time either. And what does "reasonable" mean? It is too ambiguous and more of a management excuse to lay someone off. I don't take any breaks but I do spend a 15-30 minutes a day reading TechRepublic. To learn? Get real. What are they gonna do? Fire me for reading TechRepublic for 30 minutes a day :) And besides, I'd probably be in jail from all the pen I have at home from work instead of abusing company network resources. Stick one in your shirt pocket, walk around all day using it, and you'll end up like Office Depot sooner or later.

Datacommguy
Datacommguy

The company I just left was very open about personal network access but did use a commercial product called WebSense to limit surfing and web site access to only those in a allowed catagories. Those were generally dictated by management and were quite arbitrary and a constant source of employee complaints. No porn of course, no personal email. no sports or lottery number checking, no MySpace, Twitter, LinkIn, or Facebook, etc. It was often funny as the database furnished by the vendor sometimes blocked totally innocent sites such as a local newspaper, claiming it was a "non-traditional religion" and therefore. according to management's choices of allowable catagories "not business oriented". On the other hand, YouTube was not blocked. Luckily, we really had no control over what was blocked and what wasn't since we only maintained the app as directed.

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

the ACLU site was blocked but the KKK site wasn't!

Brian Bevan
Brian Bevan

We trust our employees! hence our success in overall terms

K_Green
K_Green

Yes. Our policy specifically permits reasonable Internet usage, as well as email, telephones, fax machines, copiers, voicemail, cell phones and pagers. And, it allows limited use of streaming media so long as it doesn't interfere with business operations. It prohibts behaviors that are illegal, would cause embarrassment to the company, is of a religious or political nature, or interferes with company business.

emanuel.matos
emanuel.matos

I purposely phrased the subject line for its shock value. In Canada (where I live & work) personal privacy is enshrined in the law. This means that a person has some degree of privacy that has to be respected with regards to surfing history, e-mail, voice mail, etc. on the corporate network. Don't get me wrong: the law does not explicitly guarantee reasonable personal use of corporate assets; however, any perusal of a person's e-mail, voice mail, browsing history, etc. has to be done within certain guidelines. For example, where I work, a manager cannot have access to his employee's e-mail without first making a request to IT Security and without valid reason. "Just because I have my suspicions" is not reason enough. What is more, when the manager access the e-mail, it is with the security analyst present in order to ensure that the manager does not go beyond the reason that was given to gain access. For cases of suspected abusive personal use, it is IT that conducts the investigation and reports results to the manager. This protects the privacy of the individual as the contents of the investigation are not divulged, just the results.

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

[i]For cases of suspected abusive personal use,[/i] Who defines "abusive"?

Who Am I Really
Who Am I Really

if you surf kiddie p#rn expect to be caught, fired, charged and likely prosecuted if you go on facebook and post threats (even as a joke: I wanna shoot my manager he's an idiot . . .) don't expect there to be 0 consequence if you spend all day on the company systems in yer twitter account don't expect to be gainfully employed very long there a decent work ethic dictates what's reasonable use vs. abuse of privilege