Saturday, July 19, 2008

Failure to Implement a Corporate Email Policy Is Tantamount to Commercial Negligence!

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CORPORATE EMAIL POLICY is a MUST

It doesn’t matter whether your organization employ's a single part-time worker or thousands of full-time staff, granting access to your corporate email system, which in turn places your organization’s reputation and very existence at risk.


Misuse of the email system can result in direct financial
penalties and/or negative publicity, both of which are
likely to have long term impacts on your firm’s bottom
line.

According to the 2008 Computer Securities Institute/FBI
Computer Crime and Security Survey, 78% of employers
reported staff abusing email and the Internet whilst at
work.

SO WHAT CONSTITUES MISUSE? Unfortunately, there are
numerous ways your company’s email system may be used
inappropriately. These threats are greater due to the
informal and viral nature of email communication.

BREACH OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION Email is a simple way
for a disgruntled employee to disseminate confidential
information which could impact competitive advantage. Such
a breach could lead to the loss of an existing client or
expose your business strategy, providing opportunities for
a competitor to exploit this at your organization’s
expense.

LEGAL LIABILITY In most cases, employers rather than
employees are held legally responsible for the content of
messages transmitted via their corporate email systems. 
Similarly, legal action brought about as a consequence of
misuse may lead to severe financial penalties imposed by a
court.

8% of firms have had sexual discrimination claims from
current or former employees because of inappropriate use of
email or the Internet by employees. In one case, $2.2
million was paid by the Chevron Corporation to four female
employees to settle a suit in which the women had claimed
jokes sent via Chevron’s email system amounted to sexual
harassment.

Your firm’s legal liability however, is not just limited
to claims by employees. In a well known case in the United
Kingdom, a leading insurance company was ordered to pay
more than $675,000 to a rival insurer following the
disclosure of libelous emails.

LOSS OF PRODUCTIVITY Numerous surveys tell us that a
significant proportion of email transmitted via a corporate
email system is not business related.

Loss of productivity caused by staff using the corporate
email system for personal use can also lead to increased IT
network traffic and storage requirements, whilst also
increasing the organizations vulnerability to viruses.

RISKS ARISING FROM EMAIL RECEIVED Email risks can also
arise from third parties sending unsolicited or other email
to staff within the organization. If employees are not
aware of how they are expected to deal with these offending
emails, the risks can still be realized, sometimes to
devastating effect.

EMPLOYEES OF ALL LEVELS CAN SUBJECT THE COMPANY TO RISK
Be aware, it is not always inexperienced or disgruntled
employees who expose an organization to these risks. There
are numerous examples of senior professionals - including
CEOs and lawyers - who have damaged their company’s
reputation by sending emails of an inappropriate nature
which have been leaked to the media or posted on the
Internet.

Neal Patterson, CEO of Cerner Corporation, was upset at
his employees' level of commitment so he emailed his
managers. The tone and content of the email, instead of
having the desired effect just alienated staff and resulted
in it being leaked to the media. Cerner's stock slipped 22
percent in just 3 days and its reputation was severely
tarnished.

EDUCATION AND TRAINING According to a recent survey
conducted by the American Management Association, a
staggering 52% of employers fail to educate their employees
regarding the risks of electronic communication and about
their own company policies.

COMMERCIAL NEGLIGENCE Failure to draft, publish and
successfully implement a corporate email policy is, given
the risks, tantamount to commercial negligence. Although a
successfully implemented policy will never completely
eradicate the risks, it will eliminate unintentional and
ignorant misuse.

BENEFITS OF AN EFFECTIVE POLICY AND IMPLEMENTATION
STRATEGY An effective Email Policy establishes a
comprehensive set of rules and guidelines to enable your
organization to effectively manage these risks. It allows
you to communicate the standards and behaviors expected and
provides a blueprint for effective management and use of
email.

For More Details click here now


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The author has created a toolkit for organizations who need
to implement a corporate email usage policy. The package
provides both a template policy and guidelines on how to
implement the policy in your organization.  

To get a copy of the Corporate Email Policy from the author please follow this  link now
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