The information age has brought about rapid changes to the ways in which businesses conduct day to day operations. Although this move to electronic commerce has resulted in extraordinary advantages in terms of speed and cost-effectiveness of business, it also presents new challenges in the workplace.
The information that is available to everyone on the internet, and more particularly to individuals within an organization is far greater now than it was just a few years ago. Despite the obvious advantages of this forward movement of technology, it creates a severe problem with control of information. Whereas organizational information in the past would typically follow a formal chain of command or an informal office communication network, it can now be passed around the world in milliseconds over the internet.
Implementing and maintaining a set of checks and balances to ensure that e-mail and other means of electronic communication are used only in an acceptable manner can prove to be a difficult, time-consuming and costly endeavor.
Therefore it is critical for any organization to establish policies and procedures for dealing with these problems in order to ensure the company is not faced with a liability problem for the distribution of indecent, harassing or protected information.
A good starting point for an organization to try to minimize exposure to these sort of problems is by defining what is and what is not acceptable use of e-mail and other office communication systems. Policies and procedures can then be developed around this definition. Acceptable use is defined as the use of e-mail and other company information systems for business purposes. The policies and procedures regarding acceptable use must be in writing and be communicated to all the employees of the organization.
A written policy should include some of the following the key elements which are...