Enforcing an Acceptable Use Policy


December 16, 2020

You’ve written your acceptable use policy. Great! Now what? Enforcing an acceptable use policy is the next step to adding this valuable layer of security to your cybersecurity strategy.

But how do you do that?

Signing the Acceptable Usage Policy 

The acceptable use document should be printed out and hand-signed by every employee within your company. A signed copy should be kept in the employee’s file.  

A copy of this policy should be given to the employee as well, and a space on the original document should be provided for the employee to acknowledge physically receiving the policy. 

This signature is your protection if the employee is found to be in violation of the policy, and it can help limit your liability in case of a data breach caused by employee negligence. While you will still be responsible for the breach, it is valuable to prove that you have an acceptable use policy in place, signed by all employees and enforced company wide.

Enforcing an acceptable use policy begins with every employee signing a copy, acknowledging that they have received it and understand it. Store this copy in a physical location as proof that the employee is familiar with the document. Then, give each employee their own copies of the policy for their own personal reference.

Cybersecurity Awareness Training 

Since all employees should take a cybersecurity awareness training class, this becomes the perfect platform for introducing the acceptable use policy to your workforce. A clearly defined acceptable use policy is more effective when it’s presented as a module in your company’s training classes. When your document is introduced this way, it: 

  • Reminds employees why the acceptable usage policy is necessary 
  • Removes the “responsibility” for implementing the policy from your administration department 
  • Covers each topic in the policy at length, allowing a deeper understanding of the policy 
  • Allows employees to ask questions or address concerns before signing the document 
  • Can be routinely updated with each cybersecurity awareness class refresher 

Whether you have an existing policy that needs to be updated or you are interested in drafting a new policy for your company, managed IT services can help. Integris can guide you in drafting and launching your acceptable use policy ensuring it is compliant with laws, complete, and easily understood by your workforce. 

There are always legal considerations in every move you make as a business owner and adopting an acceptable use policy has a few of these as well. 

  • Federal data privacy laws: If your industry is governed by specific rules and regulations, make sure they are incorporated into your acceptable use document. One example would be HIPAA regulations for the healthcare industry. 
  • State data security regulations: Make sure your acceptable use policy covers any state laws regarding data privacy and security. 
  • Jurisdiction: Plainly outline in your document where and when the policy applies, such as during work hours only or any time the work-issued device is used. 
  • Individual responsibility: Individuals must understand that they will be held accountable for any damages incurred because of a failure to follow the acceptable usage policy. 
  • Applicable monitoring laws or requirements: There may be local laws or considerations when you are drafting your acceptable use document. Your employees may be unionized, for instance, which can dictate the amount of monitoring allowed in the workplace. Some monitoring activities are limited by state and federal laws. Some types of monitoring may even violate the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. Make sure that your monitoring activities are well within the legal limits. 

You are within your rights to enforce the acceptable use policy. Remember that you own the equipment and the network, giving you the authority to decide how it is used. An acceptable use policy will clearly state how you can monitor the rules you set within the document if they are within the law. 

Integris Will Help You in Drafting and Enforcing an Adoptable Use Policy

Integris recommends that all businesses take the right steps in creating and and enforcing an acceptable use policy. We understand that the process can seem daunting, however, and we are here for you. We will help you draft your acceptable use policy specifically for your business’ unique needs. Reach out to Integris for the acceptable use policy guidance you need with our free, no risk, no obligation consultation.

We're Integris. We're always working to empower people through technology.

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