Did you know that some 80% of computer crime is committed from within or that 48% of companies blame their worst security breaches on employees? As an LA distributor you know how integral computers and the internet are to your daily operations. But the consequences of misuse can be terrifying; security breaches, data theft, and loss of reputation could be just a mouse click away - whether an employee has meant to cause damage or not.
While the likelihood of such actions often don’t seem all that real, it’s doing the little things that often turn out to be all the difference in how you can protect your business from the risk. And at the start of this is to ensure that every employee and associate, whether full or part time, signs an AUP or Acceptable Use Policy when they begin working with your company. This document will not only outline what’s expected of employees and those with access to your computer systems, but can also assist you during your next security audit. In fact, it’s expected that you have an AUP in place.
What is an AUP, and why is it so important?
In short, an AUP is a document that stipulates the rules that must be followed by anyone accessing a particular network or server. The AUP features a code of conduct that your business expects all employees to follow, mentions specific websites and categories of sites that shouldn’t be accessed, and details how certain software can and can’t be used, as well as detailing the behavior expected of anyone during their time with your company.
So, why is an AUP so important? Think of it this way; how can you expect employees to abide by a certain set of rules if you haven’t taken the time to document what they are? The AUP does just that, as well as listing the penalties for improper use. Such a policy can prevent computers and networks from being misused, deter wrongful behavior, and help to provide better security for your company.
An AUP also forms an integral part of your next security audit, providing evidence of your efforts to improve the safety of your systems and equipment. Such a policy is especially important in an environment such as a warehouse, ensuring that employees’ are well aware of the consequences of improper computer usage before they act. It can be incredibly difficult to monitor equipment on a busy warehouse floor, so a certain degree of self-regulation will always be involved.
Here are the top five inclusions for any AUP:
1. The systems, software, and equipment included within the policy
First thing’s first; you’ll need to detail each piece of equipment, every server and network, and all of the browsers that your business uses, ensuring that employees know what technology you’re referring to during the AUP. This will remove any doubt from their minds, and deter those who may otherwise attempt to find loopholes in the policy for their own ends.
2. Prohibition of certain sites and materials
Employees must be reminded that computer systems have been provided to assist their work, and that accessing sites deemed pornographic, defamatory, or offensive, is strictly prohibited. Essentially, this is your opportunity to lay down the law with regards to network use and misuse, and detail what’s expected of employees.
3. A Social Media Policy
Social media sites and personal emails can be a huge drain on company time, and resources; an AUP can be used to dictate when an employee is able to use such sites, or if they’re banned during company time altogether. The AUP will also remind employees of the limitations relating to mentioning their workplace on social media.
4. Copyright laws
Now is the time to remind your employees of copyright laws, and prohibit the copying or transmission of property that belongs to your company, as well as warning against the misuse of employees’ logins to access confidential information.
5. The consequences of ignoring the AUP
Last, but by no means least, your AUP should include the consequences of misuse, whether that’s instant dismissal, or a process of warnings followed by the termination of a contract. It’s important to differentiate the severity of certain actions, and to be clear that the rules are non-negotiable. An AUP isn’t a suggestion, but a series of rules to be followed; ensure that your employees understand what they’re signing.
An AUP is, of course, far more detailed than the five bullet points listed above. If you are in any doubt how to create such a document please don’t hesitate to get in touch – one of our experts will be glad to help you through the process.
What are your thoughts about these points? Do you have an AUP in place or are you looking to implement one? Please share your thoughts in the Comment field below.
If you own or manage a distribution or manufacturing company in Los Angeles, and you’re looking to stay up to date on the latest technology, be sure to download your free guide, How COOs at Los Angeles Distributors and Manufacturers Get More Done: A Guide to Productivity, Data, Staffing, Delegation, and Making It Home for Dinner Most Nights.