Your company needs an Internet policy |

Your company needs an Internet policy

Does your company have an Internet and e-mail policy in place? If not, you might want to think about getting one. Without a policy, you’re at risk. Your computers can become infected with viruses and worms. Inappropriate use of the Internet can leave you legally or criminally liable. And, you’re susceptible to lost productivity and an overall decrease in performance of your systems. We recommend putting in place a computer usage policy. Nothing fancy, just a simple explanation of what is and is not allowed, primarily as it relates to the Internet and e-mail. Web Surfing

Establish clear guidelines for employees on when and for what purposes they can surf the Internet. Are employees allowed to surf for personal use? If they are, when is it allowable to do so? You probably also want to prohibit visiting certain types of sites, such as porn and gambling sites. And, you’ll want to prevent employees from downloading anything. Downloads can lead to troublesome adware and spyware. The challenge is that downloads can happen quite unintentionally when employees click on pop-up’s. Common culprits include weather bugs, shopping links such as bargainbuddy and search tools such as mysearch. To help your staff avoid troublesome pop-ups, keep pop-up blockers running at all times. Employees should not be allowed to disable this feature. And in the event they do come across pop-ups, they should be instructed to never click on them. Your policy should state that legitimate items that need to be downloaded are to be handled only by your computer technician or by a designated manager.

E-mailAn e-mail usage policy is a must. There are several items you’ll want to address, the first being personal usage. Decide the degree to which you want to allow personal emails and state so clearly. We recommend prohibiting the sending of chain letters and mass mailings to avoid filling up the mail server and contributing to the overall spam problem. To avoid viruses, warn employees against opening attachments unless they are expected and are for business purposes. The policy should also state that employees should keep the preview pane turned off. To ensure the company e-mail system is used appropriately, be sure to prohibit your staff from distributing offensive or disruptive messages. Employees should also be instructed not to use e-mail to discuss competitors or other information that you consider sensitive. You may also want to give some thought to whether you want to require employees to save and archive designated emails, while deleting others.

Finally, if you want to have the option of inspecting employee e-mails at some point, be sure to advise employees up front that you retain this right.PasswordsMake sure employees build good passwords and that they don’t share them with others. For more information on this topic, visit and search for “Click and Hack.”For additional help, e-mail

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