Don’t Forget to Update Your Web-Use Policy

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

There has been a lot of buzz surrounding the use of social networks, i.e., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.,  in the workplace recently.  This is a great reminder to all organizations to take a look at their current Web-use policies and update them.

Reuters covered a recent seminar put on by LeClairRyanon covering “Key Issues in Labor & Employment Law,” where the importance of a policy for social networks was discussed.  The speaker, Joseph P. Paranac, a shareholder in LeClairRyan’s Labor and Employment Group, stated, “Inappropriate and unwise use of online social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter is a growing source of liability risk for employers, including discrimination, defamation and retaliation claims.”

He went on to offer some Web-use policy suggestions for employers.

“In order to have a successful policy on the use of social networking sites, Paranac told the audience, employers should stipulate that:

  • Employees may not comment or use any confidential information about the employer or discuss internal matters.
  • Use of online social networks should be limited to non-working hours, unless the use is for legitimate business purposes.
  • Employees’ comments should not be discriminatory or harassing.
  • Similarly, they should not be disparaging or defamatory to the employer’s business.

The veteran attorney also offered the following elements of a successful Internet and e-mail policy:

  • Employees should be trained on electronic communications equipment parameters and prohibitions.
  • All business systems and company-issued electronic communication equipment and data belong to the employer.
  • Systems and equipment must be used for appropriate and lawful business purposes only.
  • Employee use is subject to review/monitoring by the employer and employees who use employer equipment have no expectation of privacy.
  • Use of systems and equipment for harassment, discrimination, or defamation is strictly prohibited.
  • Disclosure of employer confidential information is strictly prohibited.
  • Warn employees of the penalties or policy violations.
  • Obtain a signed acknowledgment of employee receipt of policy.
  • Include a procedure for reporting violations.
  • Enforce the policy!”

Read the full article: TWEET: ‘I’m About to Testify in My Defamation Case!’

Online Holiday Shopping: Here We Go Again

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

It’s that time of year again! The big Christmas shopping spree. As in previous years, the online version ‘officially’ starts on Cyber Monday – the day after the big T-Day weekend. And now this year we’ve got Green Monday (December 7) and Brown Monday (December 14). These are days on which, like Cyber Monday, online retailers put on a full court press to draw in ‘surfer-shoppers.’

And the whole circus runs through New Year’s Day.

The volume can be huge and problematical for employers. A survey conducted for ISACA, an association of 86,000 information technology professionals, states in part:

“Employees plan to spend nearly two full working days (14.4 hours) on average shopping online from a work computer this holiday season. One in 10 plans to spend more than 30 hours shopping online at work. Convenience (34%) and boredom (23%) are the biggest motivators.”

“… the second annual “Shopping on the Job: Online Holiday Shopping and Workplace Internet Safety” survey found that half of those surveyed plan to holiday shop online using a work computer.

“Dangers of shopping online include viruses, spam and phishing attacks that invade the workplace, resulting in financial losses due to reduced productivity and destruction or compromise of corporate data.”

In addition to generating network security and performance issues, online holiday shopping is a huge productivity waster for businesses. When workers are shopping, they’re not ‘minding the store.’ Accordingly, this is a good time for all types of organizations to take stock of their Web-use management practices and seek help if needed.

Wavecrest Computing is ready to provide that help.

Wavecrest’s Cyfin and CyBlock products and services help all types of organizations manage and control inappropriate and risky personal surfing of all kinds, including shopping. Cyfin and CyBlock products do this by monitoring and/or filtering employees’ Web use and reporting on the activity by content categories, e.g., shopping, sports, games, and others. Of particular note, with regard to holiday shopping, CyBlock products can be set up to block Web access by categories and by hour so employees can access shopping sites on their lunch break or after hours. This approach can help sustain morale while minimizing the risks associated with online shopping.

For 13 years, Wavecrest Computing has been providing Internet filtering and monitoring solutions to business, government, and educational organizations worldwide.  Wavecrest’s customer base includes well-known names such as the HP, Procter and Gamble, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, Bridgestone, Mazda and many others.