Failure to enforce email usage policies

By | December 10, 2006

50 per cent of businesses are putting themselves at unnecessary risk by never reviewing or updating their email usage policies. This is cause for concern as many company directors could be opening themselves up to confidentiality breaches, IP infringement and defamation among other things, by not updating email management policies.

The research carried out by FAST Corporate Services also found that over two thirds (69 per cent) of the 100 companies surveyed never get staff to renew their acceptance of email usage policies. With new email threats emerging all the time, updating policies and ensuring employees understand and accept them is crucial.

As well as liability and exposure risks, failure to monitor employees use of email or make revisions to policies could result in an abuse of corporate email for personal use and have a damaging effect on productivity.

FAST Corporate Services advises companies to regularly review and update IT policies and procedures in accordance with legal compliance including the Data Protection Act and Lawful Business Practice Regulations, to ensure they take all necessary steps to minimise potential security risks or embarrassment for the company.

“You can´t go more than a few days without reading about an organisation which has taken employees to court for emailing inappropriate images or sacked a member of staff for badmouthing the company in an email. To avoid getting to this stage it is important to set clear standards of conduct and performance and give employees examples of appropriate and inappropriate actions, for example prohibiting the sending of chain emails or jokes and advising on email etiquette including content,” said Chris Minchin, membership manager at FAST Corporate Services.

FAST conducted the survey with 100 businesses in the UK, all of which are FAST members at various stages of registration to the FAST Standard for Software Compliance FSSC-1:2004. The survey included companies from a broad range of industries including manufacturing, public sector, financial and retail sectors.

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