Factors driving adoption of internet policy


Some of the most common reasons for adoption of an Internet usage policy are:

· Controlling personal use of the Internet by employees
· Reducing unproductive employee work hours
· Utilizing bandwidth optimally
· Lessening vulnerability to security threat
· Reducing sluggish Internet connection due to personal use

Vice-President of IT at the Polaris Software Laboratory informs that the company has ensured that its internet policy in place to mitigate the risk of a possible disaster in terms of viruses and breach of confidentiality of the company. The focus is on optimal usage of bandwidth to ensure maximum productivity. Vice-President of IT, Vertex India, points out that an Internet policy is required to enforce appropriate behavior and also for reasons of security.

While some Indian corporate companies have Internet policies in place, many others are yet to implement any guidelines. However, as experts point out, Indian firms are growing increasingly aware on this front, driven by the increased use of the Internet over the last couple of years.

Usage of the Internet has increased during the last year, which is forcing us to have some policy to prevent misuse of the facility.

What is an Employee Internet Usage Policy?

An Employee Internet Usage Policy is a well drafted document that defines the guidelines for using the Internet within an organization. Considering that the intensity of different forms of misuse may vary from one organization to another, the tolerance levels of companies also vary. It is consequently difficult to arrive at a model policy. However, broadly speaking, the policy spans the following general guidelines:

1) Network security in terms of virus and intruder attacks from the internet
2) Access only to allowed sites/URLs
3) Neither explore nor publicize hacking into banned sites
4) Avoid unnecessary uploads / downloads from the Internet while restricting some extensions like exe, tar, zip, and ftp security purposes. Because of this, users are prevented from sharing and transferring confidential company data the Internet.
5) Monitoring the incoming and outgoing Internet traffic;
6) Monitoring users’ traffic in terms of what they are doing and when,
7) Restricting Internet access timings by defining policy. For example, one user can have Internet access all the time, another only during office hours, and a third no internet access at all,
8) Judicious use of the medium for asynchronous communication and brief and specific e-mails;
9) Choosing the recipients of e-mail on a need-to-know basis
10) Judicious use of the medium for acquiring knowledge for official work / self-development;
11) Self-imposed discipline in making use of the facilities for unofficial purposes.

Internet usage policy is nevertheless being seen as a major step towards creating a healthy net usage culture within the workplace by Indian corporations. According to head of information systems at Birlasoft, having a proper Internet policy will provide immediate protection from many risks. Though no system or policy guarantees absolute protection, the basic purpose is to set the limits and take basic steps to cover the organization once this policy is formulated.

A network administrator says that the productivity improves a lot because of this kind of policy, specially when users know we have an internet and mail policy enabled in the organization. Companies where the policy is in force boast of a success rate of above 90%.

The Internet policy can be made a part of HR Policy itself so that all employees using the net take care to use it judicially.