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Establishing information polic

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Establishing information polic

The information age has brought about rapid changes to the ways in which businesses conduct day to day operations. Although this move to electronic commerce has resulted in extraordinary advantages in terms of speed and cost-effectiveness of business, it also presents new challenges in the workplace.

The information that is available to everyone on the internet, and more particularly to individuals within an organization is far greater now than it was just a few years ago. Despite the obvious advantages of this forward movement of technology, it creates a severe problem with control of information. Whereas organizational information in the past would typically follow a formal chain of command or an informal office communication network, it can now be passed around the world in milliseconds over the internet.

Implementing and maintaining a set of checks and balances to ensure that e-mail and other means of electronic communication are used only in an acceptable manner can prove to be a difficult, time-consuming and costly endeavor. Therefore it is critical for any organization to establish policies and procedures for dealing with these problems in order to ensure the company is not faced with a liability problem for the distribution of indecent, harassing or protected information.

A good starting point for an organization to try to minimize exposure to these sort of problems is by defining what is and what is not acceptable use of e-mail and other office communication systems. Policies and procedures can then be developed around this definition. Acceptable use is defined as the use of e-mail and other company information systems for business purposes. The policies and procedures regarding acceptable use must be in writing and be communicated to all the employees of the organization.

A written policy should include some of the following the key elements which are necessary for a typical organization entering the information age.

Define what is and is not appropriate use of company communication systems. This definition must be congruent with other company policies. For example, it should outline what is considered to be offensive or harassing material and the policy should clearly state that the company lines of communication are not to be used to distribute this sort of material. Furthermore, this definition should be all-inclusive in that it must cover all types of potential problems; from discrimination, to individuals personal information rights. The reason this is so critical is because this definition will form the framework of the company's information policy and will therefore be the critical legal element which stands to prevent these potential problems and serves to protect the company from liability should problems occur regardless of existing policies.

In order to protect the company further from exposure to legal action, the formal policy must also include the procedure that employees can follow should their rights be infringed upon. Not only should victims of e-mail harassment or discrimination be encouraged to come forward and report the problem, they must also be assured that the company will not let such action affect the employee in any negative way. Otherwise the organization is leaving themselves open to allegations of covering up or failing to follow through on employee complaints. The policy must state that such reports will be kept in the strictest confidence and that victim is free to report an incident to someone other than their direct supervisor if necessary. Generating the confidence necessary for someone to come forward with allegations of harassment involving misuse of company information systems can ...

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Keywords: establishing an information policy, establishing policies and procedures, establishing policies and procedures of an event, what is policy standards and procedures

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