Recognizing the need to be proactive, many organizations are establishing acceptable use policies for workplace technology. An acceptable use policy (AUP) is a document that outlines the rules and restrictions employees must follow in regard to the company’s network, software, internet connection and devices. It explicitly states how employees should and shouldn’t use employer-provided technology and personal mobile devices in workplaces with bring your own device (BYOD) policies. If you’re considering instituting an acceptable use policy for workplace technology, here’s what you need to know.
In light of the massive data breaches experienced by numerous companies in recent years, it’s not surprising that cyberattacks and data fraud or theft are two of the top five risks CEOs are most likely to face. And it’s not external threats business leaders need to worry about most. IT management software provider Ipswitch found that nearly 75 percent of security breaches are the result of employee actions, either deliberate or accidental.
An employee’s ability to intentionally or inadvertently compromise the security of your company is one of the biggest reasons to consider implementing an acceptable use policy. An AUP ensures employees understand their responsibilities and rights as well as the company’s expectations of them regarding technology in the workplace. It also helps educate employees on how to identify potential threats and keep themselves safe from cybercriminals.
A detailed, well-organized and easy-to-understand AUP can considerably reduce your company’s risk of cyberattacks, data breaches, and compliance violations. It also enables your company to properly hold employees accountable when they violate acceptable use policies.
Acceptable use policies for workplace technology can help save your company from unnecessary headaches, but they can also create issues if drafted improperly.
For example, if the policy outlines specific repercussions for certain actions, it leaves little to no room for interpretation or discretion. If two employees committed the same infraction under different conditions and your company decided to fire one but not the other, the terminated employee has grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit. That’s why the wording of your AUP should provide you with the flexibility to handle violations on a case-by-case basis.
An AUP can help reduce your company’s vulnerability to cyberattacks by limiting employee access to certain websites. But if your regulations are too strict, it can negatively affect the employee experience and, in turn, productivity and retention.
Of course, you want to limit opportunities to put your company at risk of a data breach or virus. But not allowing employees to check their personal email or take a quick mental break to read a news article gives the impression you don’t trust them to be responsible, which can seriously hurt morale. Plus, research shows that giving employees a reprieve from their work can substantially improve their performance.
Here are some guidelines for creating an AUP that is easy to enforce and easy for employees to follow:
For many companies, it makes sense to have acceptable use policies for workplace technology. For others, it may not.
But if there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that workplace technology should be accessible and so easy to use that employees don’t even have to think about it.
When technology isn’t easy to use, employees find work-arounds—including downloading various third-party applications that haven’t been properly vetted.
iOFFICE Hummingbird’s workplace app empowers employees by placing secure, connected technology directly into their hands.
With the Hummingbird app, employees can quickly find what they need to be productive, whether it’s a colleague, an available room or the ability to request service. They can also receive important announcements like road closures, menu offerings and company outings, which keeps them connected to their workplace.
If you give employees the kind of technology they expect in the workplace, they’re a lot less likely to seek out other solutions that could compromise network security.
Ready to see how Hummingbird can take your productivity to new heights? Request a demo today.
As the VP of Product Strategy, Chad David Smith wears many hats that leverage his 20+ years of experience in the industry. Chad collaborates directly with clients and partners as well as with the iOFFICE client experience, client success, sales, marketing and development teams to create the most innovative and valued solutions for our clients.