Many companies rely on IT to help run their businesses. For this reason, they often depend on a set of IT policies to ensure the productive, appropriate, and legal use of IT resources. IT policies establish expectations and regulations for behavior related to company computers and networks.
In addition, IT policies detail consequences for employees or customers in the event of a policy violation. The proper enforcement of IT policies may also provide a basis for defense in the event of a lawsuit.
Here are six common IT policies to help protect your company:
1. Acceptable Use Policy
An acceptable use policy, or AUP, restricts use of a company’s network or services. AUPs prevent illegal activity, ensure security, and safeguard the reputation of the company.
AUPs also outline the consequences of breaking the rules. A common penalty is restricted or permanent loss of access to the associated network or service.
Privacy policies protect the personal information collected from a company’s customers and employees. Personal information includes anything that can be used to identify an individual. Names, social security numbers, credit card numbers, email addresses, and even photos of individuals are considered personal information.
Privacy policies typically document how personal information is collected, stored, used, and disposed of. Privacy policies may also disclose when personal information is shared or sold to third parties.
3. Data Governance Policy
Data governance policies describe how data is managed as it passes through company systems. Specifically, these policies document how a company makes sure that data is accessible and secure, as well as accurately collected and properly maintained.
Data governance policies also identify the people responsible for the quality and security of company data. They might also mention any third parties that play a role in the company’s data management plans.
4. Disaster Recovery Policy
A disaster recovery policy outlines the broad requirements of a company’s disaster recovery plan. These policies identify critical data and responsible departments or staff. They also specify allowable downtime, as well as how to ensure business continuity in the event of downtime.
Disaster recovery plans are usually created by senior IT staff. However, the specifics of data recovery plans are normally left to those designing and executing the plan.
5. BYOD Policy
A BYOD policy, or Bring Your Own Device policy, is an IT policy that governs the use of personal mobile devices in the workplace. BYOD policies are becoming increasingly important, with study after study showing the dramatic shift of personal mobile devices into the workplace.
Specifically, BYOD policies state the degree to which personal mobile devices are allowed within the workplace, what can be done with these devices, and how the company will support them.
6. Social Media Policy
Social media policies govern employee use of social media both in and out of the workplace. These policies define how a company will manage and monitor the online behavior of it’s employees. They also set forth any company expectations regarding the nature and tone of information being posted.
As a result, social media policies are sometimes perceived as repressive. However, they can actually empower employees by letting them know what can and cannot be posted. Striking a balance between the needs of the company and employees is the key to a successful social media policy.