Monday, 4 June 2007

Curbing rogue IT userss

Shropshire employers must protect their business by taking a tough stance on staff who abuse IT and email services in the workplace.

Stuart Haynes, of the Commercial Team at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Telford, said many businesses did not have a clear policy about the private use of internet and email facilities.

“It’s important for employers to consider whether they should limit the use of email and internet to business purposes only, or whether they will allow reasonable personal use.

“The risk is that if you fail to take action, excessive private use can pose a real security threat to your business and its systems – if your employees are accessing all kinds of websites, you don’t know what information is being leaked about your company.”

Stuart said employers should draw up an “acceptable use” policy, which sets out what is, and what isn’t, acceptable when it comes to IT and email in the workplace.

“Each time a new employee joins your company, you should ask them to read, agree and sign the policy, to ensure they are fully aware of the penalties they will face if they break the rules. The policy should also make it clear that you reserve the right to monitor their private use.

“You need to set out clear boundaries on how much personal use is acceptable, and with the internet, your employees need to know which websites are appropriate.

“You should also warn them you will be able to check which sites they have visited, to remind them of their responsibilities.
“But most of all, once you have implemented the policy, you need to regularly update and police it, if you want to protect your business against unauthorised email and internet access.”