It’s not enough to assume that your employees know what’s considered an appropriate use of the Internet, your software, and your company’s computer equipment. If you don’t tell them, they’re likely to make up their own rules.

Last year, for example, there were plenty of instances of employees losing their jobs for accessing inappropriate material while at work. In July, the Dow Chemical Company fired 50 employees and disciplined 200 after it was discovered that they sent pornography through the company e-mail.

How about computer viruses? Recently, businesses were hit by the “Prolin” virus, which replicated itself when users opened an e-mail attachment. Do your employees know not to open attachments from unknown users?

Have you explained the importance of software licensing to everyone? Your art department has six copies of Photoshop: How many of them are licensed?

One way to help ensure that your employees know what’s permissible in the workplace is to put together a set of guidelines that covers all of these issues. One TechRepublic member, Henry Dumas, the IS manager at Springfield, MA-based Hano Document Printers, sent us a policy that covers both the employees’ and the organization’s responsibility regarding:

  • The Internet and e-mail.
  • Computer viruses.
  • Access codes and passwords.
  • Physical security.
  • Copyrights and license agreements.

Download this set of guidelines to see how your company’s policies and acceptable use documentation compare to it. If you haven’t put together a policy, you can use this one as a template.
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