A computer and internet usage policy or IT Usage Policy can clarify expectations on how company equipment is to be used. With the internet, social media and other internet distractions, a loss of productivity in the office can harm your business thus costing you money. An IT Usage Policy can clearly and concisely inform your employees what your rights are, ramifications for violating the policy as well as inform your employees of what expectations you as the business owner or manager expect while performing their duties with company devices.
Without a clear IT Usage Policy, there could be legal ramifications if an employee does something that could result in a civil suit this could bankrupt your business. All equipment owned by the company can be subject to search and seizure by company management if the employer suspects an employee is doing something untoward on their company owned devices such as; workstations, telephone systems and voicemail, company cell phones, company email, browser history, and internet usage.
Employees need to understand that there is no expectation of privacy when they are pursuing personal things on their company owned devices. A company cannot compel an employee to open personal email or personal social media accounts. But if those accounts are on a company system, they could be viewed by the employer if the device is seized. An example of this, if an employee’s partner sends an email to the employee’s business email account, the email is automatically owned by the company because the email is arriving into a company owned email account. That’s why it’s important to inform your employees that they should be utilizing these devices for company business only.
The above is the broad strokes of a typical IT Usage policy. Consulting the Canada Privacy Act as well as obtaining legal advice can assist you as the business owner in writing this policy to ensure your business is protected and your clients and employee’s privacy rights and responsibilities are defined and remain intact. Myriad Information Technology Solutions has extensive experience in helping clients create such policies to ensure businesses are prepared with safeguards in place should a violation breach occur so you do not expose your business to litigation. Contact Myriad ITS today!