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Revealed: The dangers of Internet abuse by employees and how to protect your business

by , 02 January 2014
Your communication systems are central to the effectiveness of your business, but misuse of the Internet has become a huge problem, with many employees abusing this business tool. Read on to discover the dangers of employee Internet abuse and how to protect your business.

Internet abuse is rife in many companies.

Sadly, the potential consequences for you, the employer, are dire!

Computer Weekly reports that 'a recent study from Websense and the US Centre for Internet Studies, workplace Internet abuse has gone far beyond accessing adult sites. It is now as much about employees shopping, investing and watching sports online in rising numbers.'

Luckily, there's a way to protect your company from Internet abuse.

Simply draw up an electronic communications policy (ECP).

An ECP will allow you to monitor your employees' communications and other communications tools.

Just remember to get prior consent in writing from your employee.

The Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service stresses that it's important to custom design an email/Internet policy and strategy, which takes into account all of your company's own unique circumstances.

Make sure you clarify these three points in your communications policy.

If you don't implement controls (electronic communications policy), your employees might:

  • Waste working time surfing the Internet or participating in chat rooms or news groups
  • Abuse your email facilities for private purposes
  • Hack into your confidential files
  • Email your confidential information as a means of perpetrating industrial espionage
  • Make defamatory statements via your email system leading to serious legal action, which could cost you thousands of rands in damages
  • Download objectionable material from the Internet or send racist, sexist jokes. This could affect staff morale and can lead to claims of sexual harassment and other punitive action.
  • Make you liable for private contracts undertaken via your email system
  • Play computer games downloaded from the Internet or installed without your permission
  • Innocently or maliciously import viruses into your network or transmit viruses to the systems of other companies that can hold you liable for damage caused. Computer viruses can wipe out the entire content of your hard drive or theirs!
  • Ignore security and password regulations
  • Perpetrate electronic fraud or copyright infringements
  • Change configuration settings without the assistance of the System Administrator.

Make sure that you know the dangers of staff Internet abuse, and make sure you have an electronic communications policy in place so you can protect your business.

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