Why Is Acceptable Use Policy Important for Your Business?

Acceptable use policy

Acceptable use policy (AUP) is a regulation that employees must follow within their company’s internet use. This document specifies practices and responsibilities which the user of the network must follow and agree to when using the web. Otherwise, they can face revocation of access.

Every business and educational facility user must adhere to the code of conduct. The strict guidelines exist to protect businesses against data breaches and malware threats.

These policies are, for example:

  • Company internet guidelines specify business use only 
  • E-mail spamming breaches the code of conduct
  • Mail bombing in order to block the server violates the regulations
  • Network use for illegal file download infringes acceptable use policy 

Users must report any suspicious activity, such as compromised credentials. 

Why Are Acceptable Use Policies So Important?

Simply put, if your business uses internet access, you will need an AUP for your company’s protection.

AUPs are essential guidelines for your business protection against lawsuits. These policies shield your business against legal action—for instance, because of employees’ negligent internet actions. 

Employees’ internet activity, such as visiting illegal sites, can introduce malware and expose the company’s network. Moreover, accidental copying of data into a storage cloud can lead to leaked private organization data. As a result, these infringements can make the company prone to lawsuits. Businesses affected through this negligence can pursue legal action for the violation of acceptable use policy regulations. 

To sum up, more user actions violating the guidelines are, for example, video streaming from a legal site. Although seemingly harmless because it is a legitimate site, it violates the code of conduct. 

Why Do Companies Have Acceptable Use Policies?

Acceptable Use Policies are a fundamental part of information security and a document that can render proof of “due diligence.” These regulations provide safety for the network and protect sensitive customer data in the event of regulatory breach audits. 

These regulations can protect your brand from reputational damage because of a data breach. 

The actions of consumers, vendors, contractors and employees could be a risk to your organization. The main purpose of AUP regulations is to safeguard your business from anyone with access to your systems.

Acceptable Use Policies cover unintentional and intentional users’ actions. In addition, it is important the intended clientele understands the instructions for the guidelines. Most importantly, it is critical for users to know that the policies monitor their activity, so they can be responsible with their internet actions. This notice alone may deter its users from proceeding with illegal internet activities and respect the code of conduct.

The policies apply to everyone in the organization — no exceptions — this applies to upper management position leaders too.

Certainly, users with legal access can help to report suspicious activities before they become worse for the organization.

What Is An Acceptable Technology Use Policy?

Businesses benefit from Acceptable Use Policy Technology. It can protect your company from expected future problems. 

The AUP can protect your organization from threats that could come, for example, a terminated employee. Also, employees can have limited access to some sites. 

To put these regulations in place, there has to be a balance. Extreme limitations to access the internet for a mental break, such as checking personal email, can affect companies’ employee retention.

These 5 stipulations are a few of the guidelines instructions, to which employees must adhere to comply with AUP regulations

  1. Create real-life scenarios on which technologies the acceptable use policy covers
  1. Clarify with employees the reason for AUP and why it is important to comply
  1. Explain the consequences if a violation of the code of conduct takes place
  1. Use general vocabulary that is easy for anyone to understand about these guidelines 
  1. Update acceptable use policies is essential, to ensure no outdated technology is being used

Some organizations may reference acceptable technology use policies for the workplace. However, other businesses may not. 

What Is Strictly Prohibited As Per The Acceptable Use Policy?

AUP access is strictly for lawful purposes. User is liable for any data received, sent, and stored. Most importantly, the material is subject to regulations. 

Strict prohibitions which are illegal if violated are, for example:

  • Transmission of protected trademark and copyright data
  • Patenting property rights without permission
  • Transmission of confidential material posing a threat
  • Unauthorized access to systems to monitor network data
  • Posting material for libel, defamation, and threats 
  • Breach of any security and measures used by the system

Acceptable use policy prohibitions highlight not attempting to infringe the security of any system and network. Most importantly, posting commercial messages and e-mail spamming violates the policies. 

What Are The 6 Key Elements Of AUP?

The administrator of the network implements acceptable use policy regulations. It is the user’s responsibility to follow the guidelines as the administrator sets them.

The National Education Association suggested 6 key elements to the AUP code of conduct.

The six Acceptable Use Policy key elements are…

  • The Preamble is a key element that describes AUP goals covered and not covered in the computer systems. For example, in an educational institution, it translates the conditions that students can use the network and the regulations. The preamble designates proper use of the computer services by its users.
  • The Definition Section clarifies the policies in simple words. This confirms that the users of the network can understand the language and terminology used by the Acceptable Use Policies.
  • The Policy Statement explains the computer services protected by the Acceptable Use Policy. This key element summarizes the guidelines under which users have access to the network. For instance, in educational institutions, students will have access to the network according to the task they will perform on the computer. In that case, it will be a class project and homework.  
  • An Acceptable Uses Section defines the code of conduct of the computer network according to AUP — an example is learning centers. It will limit the student to access the computer network for educational purposes only. Similarly to employees, they will have limited access to workstations network for work-related tasks.
  • An Unacceptable Uses Section specifies what is acceptable and unacceptable to Acceptable Use Policy. The unacceptable uses section key element defines the code of conduct. In addition, it monitors what users send and receive through the network.

Summing Up…

An Acceptable Use Policy is essential for all educational institutions and businesses. Users in these facilities can expose the network to cyber threats when they are on the internet.Finally, users must agree and sign to the agreements. Similarly, when you sign for the internet in your home, you must agree to a set of guidelines. 

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Written by Brenda Diaz

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