Connecting to the Internet through the company server is extremely integral to the process of conducting business. For small or large companies, there is often not much time to manage personnel. The hectic pace of most businesses often makes the management staff leave their employees to perform their duties independently.
Whether the employees, supervisors and management staff at the company are using the computers to do work for the company, or check their personal emails, they must follow the rules. However, the only way to ensure that the rules are being met is to have strict policies firmly in place.
Internet usage policies are crucial to the security and reputation of the company. Every business that utilizes computers in any capacity needs them. These policies need to be written down. Only then can every employee read them, understand them, accept them and finally sign the document agreeing to its use. Not only should this happen on the first day of their job, but the policies should be reviewed and updated, so they can be agreed to as necessary.
It should be the strict policy of the company to make every employee sign an effective Internet use policy. This will show them that the company means business and that any access to the Internet must adhere to strict protocol.
Effective Internet usage policies will include any and all appropriate behavior concerning online browsing through the company servers. This includes in the workplace, or from any remote location when tapping into the company intranet. An effective policy concerning personal use will detail any time restrictions that the employee is allowed to browse online, for any tasks that are not directly related to work.
Additionally, the policy should include a clear understanding of acceptable websites that can be browsed and viewed. This should be clearly stated in the company AUP (acceptable use policy). Not only does this effective policy maintain integrity in the workplace, but it maximizes the security of the network infrastructure.
Included in the Policy
Creating an effective Internet usage policy is typically the responsibility of the IT department and human resources. Their combined efforts will ensure protection for both the company network infrastructure, and the employee. Through collaboration, an effective policy can be formulated and enforced, that is strong enough to meet the company’s needs.
It is important that every employee understands that the policy is not designed as a way to snoop into their personal lives, or deny them any rights to online access. The rules, policies and guidelines help minimize any potential for legal ramifications, security breaches, or inappropriate behavior at work.
Highly-developed Internet usage policies should also be created as a way to educate every online employee of all of the Internet threats and the ramifications that can be created through irresponsible web browsing. It should include details of exactly how malicious malware, viruses and worms can be downloaded unknowingly into the company servers, which could infect the entire network system.
Part of the policy should include a training session about all the security aspects of connecting to the Internet. Every employee should understand specifically how their actions at the workstation, or through any remote location, could be extremely detrimental to the business network system should these protocols and policies not be followed.
Making a Clear Distinction
There needs to be a clear and concise distinction between using the Internet for work or for personal use. For many businesses, the Internet serves as a valuable tool and provides many advantages to the day-to-day operations of many company employees. Significant issues often arise when employees are allowed uncontrolled access to social media sites, individual email accounts, and auction websites.
Any excessive personal use of the Internet while at work can create an environment where the employee shuns their responsibilities. This often diminishes their productivity.
Without the proper guidelines set firmly in place, it is extremely easy for any employee to download attachments or software into the company workstation via the business infrastructure. This raises the potential for a harmful virus infection throughout the entire company network.
An effective high security level Internet usage policy designed to help the company should not make the employee feel they are not to be trusted. It is often better to create a policy that allows access that is time-controlled, if it poses no moral or ethical issues. This is better than simply blocking personal Internet accessibility altogether. Many businesses see the advantage of not allowing any instant messenger, unless it is used for company business.
The enforcement of quality Internet usage policies can maintain work productivity, while safeguarding the company infrastructure. The policy should be developed for anyone in the work environment that has access to the Internet. If there are no extenuating circumstances at the company level, it is usually recommended that the policy be designed to pertain to everyone.
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