What is Internet Usage Policy?
Most businesses these days provide internet access to their employees to assist with their work-related activities. This network could be available on the office computer, laptop or mobile device. However since there is a real danger of misuse and abuse of the workplace internet network, most employers provide an internet usage policy that provides clear guidelines on the dos and don’ts of using the company’s internet-related equipment, network and internet access.
Employees are made to sign this important internet usage policy document when joining work. When it’s not followed strictly, there could be serious consequences; aside from not adhering to the rules, the employee may also end up jeopardizing the safety of the company’s privileged information.
While the employee is instructed not to use the company’s network for personal use, the employer also reserves the right to monitor internet usage by employees. The internet usage policy can be tailored to suit the specific needs of an organization and includes some of the following rules and regulations:
- Internet should only be used for job-related purposes and not for personal use- unless in special situations.
- The employee needs to understand that anything done using the company network makes the company liable for it.
- Employees shouldn’t use the company’s email system to send out emails that may be offensive, derogatory or harassing in any manner.
- The employee shouldn’t share the company’s logins or passwords without the employer’s permission.
- The employee shouldn’t download games, screensavers or any software using the company’s network.
- Employees shouldn’t introduce any malicious malware into the company’s system.
- Employees should know that the inward and outward traffic generated by them can be recorded by the company and used at their discretion.
- An employee cannot use the company’s network to engage in any form of gambling – virtual or otherwise.
- Employees should also not use the company’s network to hack into other internet sites as it makes the company liable for it.
- Employees shouldn’t use the company’s network system to download material that is sexually explicit or offensive, racist or infringes on anyone’s legal rights.
- Employees shouldn’t use company resources to infringe on a person or entity’s trademark, copyright or patent rights.
- Aside from all these, employees shouldn’t use the company’s network to do anything that’s unlawful or constitutes a criminal offence as this can damage the company’s reputation.
Violating any of the afore-mentioned policies can result in disciplinary or legal action against the employee and might even lead to termination of appointment. The employee will also be held responsible for any damages that arise due to the violation.