Source: The Canadian Association e-zine

November 2004 issue.  Protected by copyright.






Sample Computer and Technology Acceptable Use Policy

Note: You should adapt this to your own specific situation and have your legal counsel review before publishing and using.

Computer and Technology Resource Usage Policy ABC ASSOCIATION provides a variety of electronic communications systems for use in carrying out its business. All communication and information transmitted by, received from or stored in these systems are the property of ABC ASSOCIATION and, as such, are intended to be used for job-related purposes only.

Employees are required to sign an acknowledgment form before receiving access to the various systems in use at ABC ASSOCIATION. The following summary guidelines regarding access to and disclosure of data on any ABC ASSOCIATION electronic communication system will help you better determine how to use these systems in light of your own and the company's privacy and security concerns. The following are only summary guidelines; employees should contact the Information Technology (IT) department for more detailed information.

The IT department maintains the Computer and Technology Resource Usage Policy on behalf of ABC ASSOCIATION. However, other departments may develop supplemental policies and controls to accommodate specific requirement so long as these policies do not compromise corporate policies and controls.

Monitoring: ABC ASSOCIATION provides the network, personal computers, electronic mail and other communications devices for your use on company business. ABC ASSOCIATION may access and disclose all data or messages stored on its systems or sent over its electronic mail system. ABC ASSOCIATION reserves the right to monitor communication and data at any time, with or without notice, to ensure that company property is being used only for business purposes. The company also reserves the right to disclose the contents of messages for any purpose at its sole discretion. No monitoring or disclosure will occur without the direction of either the human resources department, or executive leadership, unless otherwise noted.

Retrieval: Notwithstanding the company's right to retrieve and read any e-mail messages, such messages should be treated as confidential by other employees and accessed only by the intended recipient. Employees are not authorized to retrieve or read any e-mail messages that are not sent to them and cannot use a password, access a file, or retrieve any stored information unless authorized to do so.

Passwords: Initial passwords are assigned by the IT department and should not be given to other staff or persons outside the organization. Employees should change the provided passwords as soon as possible using the instructions provided by the IT staff. ABC ASSOCIATION reserves the right to override any employee-selected passwords and/or codes. Employees are required to provide the company with any such codes or passwords to facilitate access as needed. Periodically, staff may be required to change their passwords. At no time should an ABC ASSOCIATION employee allow a temporary, contractor or another employee use of their login. In the case where an employee does provide another person access to their account, they will be responsible for the actions of the individual using their account. Passwords should not be stored in computer data files, on the network, or be displayed openly at any workstation.

Message Content: The e-mail system is not to be used to solicit or proselytize for commercial ventures, religious or political causes, outside organizations or other non-job-related solicitations. The system is not to be used to create any offensive or disruptive messages. Among those which are considered offensive are any messages which contain sexual implications, racial slurs, gender-specific comments or any other comment that offensively addresses someone's age, sexual orientation, religious or political beliefs, national origin or disability. The organizationís overall employee manual or code of conduct shall be considered the prevailing authority in the event of possible misconduct.

Employees should note that any data and information on the system will not be deemed personal or private. In addition, the e-mail system may not be used to send (upload) or receive (download) copyrighted materials, trade secrets, proprietary financial information, or similar materials without prior authorization.

Legal Proceedings: Information sent by employees via the electronic mail system may be used in legal proceedings. Electronic mail messages are considered written communications and are potentially the subject of subpoena in litigation. ABC ASSOCIATION may inspect the contents of electronic mail messages in the course of an investigation, will respond to the legal process and will fulfill any legal obligations to third parties.

Physical Security: Access to computer rooms will be limited to staff who require access for the normal performance of their jobs. Computers with sensitive information installed on the local disk drive should be secured in a locked room or office during non-business hours. Equipment which is to be removed from ABC ASSOCIATION property must be approved in advance with the IT department and an inventory of this equipment maintained by IT. All equipment removal from the premises by an individual must be documented, including the makes, manufacturers and serial numbers on an IT supplied form, and a copy of this form shall be filed in the employees HR folder. If the employee leaves the organization, he or she must return the equipment to ABC ASSOCIATION prior to the last day of employment.

Network Security: IT will monitor network security on a regular basis. Adequate information concerning network traffic and activity will be logged to ensure that breaches in network security can be detected. IT will also implement and maintain procedures to provide adequate protection from intrusion into ABC ASSOCIATION's computer systems from external sources. No computer that is connected to the network can have stored, on its disk(s) or in its memory, information that would permit access to other parts of the network. Staff should not store personal, business, member or other credit card/account information, or passwords within word processing or other data documents.

Personal Computer Security: Only legally licensed software will be installed on ABC ASSOCIATION computers. Users are expected to read, understand and conform to the license requirements of any software product(s) they use or install. Software cannot be copied or installed without the permission or involvement of the IT department. IT will configure all workstations with virus protection software, which should not be removed or disabled. Each employee is responsible for protecting their computer against virus attack by following IT guidelines for scanning all incoming communications and media, and by not disabling the anti-virus application installed on their workstation. All data disks and files entering or leaving ABC ASSOCIATION should be scanned for viruses. All staff will log out of the network and turn their computers off before leaving the office at night. Staff should log off of the network when they will be away from their desk for an extended period.

Backup Procedures: All network resources are backed up nightly, and tapes are rotated on a 6 week schedule and stored off-site. Nightly backups are stored for one week, and a weekly tape will be stored for no more than five weeks. Data stored on the local PC drives is not routinely backed up, and as a result, important data and applications should not be stored on the C: drives of these machines. Staff working on especially crucial information are encouraged to backup these projects to disks which can be supplied by the IT department. Computer users will be responsible for ensuring that the data stored on their local machines is backed up as required by the owner.

Access to ABC ASSOCIATION Computers: ABC ASSOCIATION will provide computer accounts to all ABC ASSOCIATION staff. External people who are determined to be strategically important to ABC ASSOCIATION, such as temporary staff, volunteers, or contractors, will also be provided accounts as appropriate, on a case-by-case basis. The employee managing the temporary or contract staff assumes responsibility for the identification of access requirements and use of the account. Accounts will be revoked on request of the user or manager or when the employee terminates employment at ABC ASSOCIATION.

Internet Use: The Internet is to be used for business purposes only. Employees with Internet access are expressly prohibited from accessing, viewing, downloading, or printing pornographic or other sexually explicit materials. In addition, employees should be mindful that there is no assurance that e-mail texts and attachments sent within the company and on the Internet will not be seen, accessed or intercepted by unauthorized parties.

Failure to comply with all components of the Computer and Technology Resource Usage Policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment. If you do not understand any part of the policy, it is your responsibility to obtain clarification from your manager or the IT department.

Software Usage: Employees are expected to use the standard software provided by IT, or identify applications they need in the course of their work. Staff members are not permitted to download applications, demos or upgrades without the involvement of IT. Employees will use the standard e-mail system provided by ABC ASSOCIATION for official e-mail communications, and should not install their own e-mail systems. Additionally, use of instant messaging programs, such as ICQ, AOL Instant Messenger, Microsoft Messenger, etc., is prohibited unless otherwise approved by management or the IT department.

Failure to comply with all components of the Computer and Technology Resource Usage Policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment. Any employee who does not understand any part of the policy is responsible for obtaining clarification from his or her manager or the IT department.


Adapted and used with permission.

Source: Techno Prophet site

Credit: George Breeden


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