UK: Beware Internet pitfalls.

UK: Beware Internet pitfalls. - Make sure your employees know the do's and don'ts of the Net.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Make sure your employees know the do's and don'ts of the Net.

Many SMEs rush onto the Internet unaware of the responsibilities and business risks involved. Employers, for example, could face prosecution in cases of inappropriate e-mail use or if their company falls foul of the data protection requirements. Companies signing up to the Internet may also need increased protection to secure confidential information such as trade marks and property rights.

Two questions are key. First, if your employees have e-mail access, who should they be e-mailing and what can they send? Second, if you have a web site, what should you be publishing? Employers should give employees a clear, comprehensive, contractually binding, written guide to Internet usage. In addition to providing the guidance they need, this guide also limits your liability for prosecution if anything goes wrong. The guide should be distributed throughout the company and state the following:

Employees engaging in unauthorised activities may be subject to disciplinary action, including termination of employment and/or legal proceedings.

Unauthorised activities include sexual or racial harassment by e-mail; the downloading of messages that could defame, slander or lower the reputation of any person or entity; the downloading, possession or copying of any copyright work.

Information that can be downloaded.

The acceptable levels of e-mailing and personal Internet surfing.

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