Does Your Company Have an Acceptable Use Policy for Its Employees?

An acceptable use policy is a comprehensive set of detailed standards regarding how employees utilize company-owned Internet access and other related devices and networks, such as prohibited sites, security protocols, and other expectations for online behaviors. No matter the size of your organization, an acceptable use policy is critical for various reasons. Here is why your company needs to have an acceptable use policy for its employees:


The most fundamental strategic purpose behind having an acceptable use policy is to protect your company against liability. Without an acceptable use policy, employees could put the company at legal risk, such as because of a data breach if they visit websites or download files infected with malware. If an employee’s internet usage actions were negligent and caused negative consequences to an outside party, your company could be sued; therefore, having these policies in place can reduce instances of employees engaging in unsafe online behavior.


It is mutually helpful for your employees to have guidelines clearly defined regarding their expectations for acceptable use of workplace technology and related consequences for not following them. Not only does it provide them tips for protecting themselves against viruses and malware attacks, but they won’t have to worry if they are inadvertently breaking a rule, putting the organization at risk, or otherwise opening themselves up to disciplinary action.


The ramifications of employees not having an acceptable use policy means there could be a significant loss in productivity if and/or issues occur due to irresponsible online behavior. When your company has to deal with malware attacks, compromised data, or system outages, it takes time and resources to resolve problems that could be otherwise used for more critical work. Additionally, much of the online behavior that leads to detrimental outcomes is due to activities that are not work-related anyway, such as checking personal email, downloading files, or visiting social media; an acceptable use policy can limit distractions from productivity.

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