What Is an Email Usage Policy? 

An email usage policy highlights the regulations that employees are required to follow when utilising a company email system. It also ensures that data collected by companies is not compromised by harmful viruses and security threats. Email use and access must be administered to ensure that numerous threats are avoided. 

Email policies also help to outline that employers reserve the right to access and read employees’ emails at any given time. Rules regarding email usage on personal computing devices, such as mobile phones, should also be outlined. Having an email usage policy which highlights that employees cannot use the company email system for unlawful or inappropriate actions can minimize your organisation’s culpability for their activity. 

Why Do I Need an Email Policy? 

  • If dangerous viruses are introduced to company I.T. systems, self-replicating viruses could slow down the company’s network traffic.
  • Trojan horses could compromise delicate data and information, resulting in a breach in security. 
  • Employees could conduct improper company email usage. 
  • Productivity can be lost. 
  • Not having an email system during a work misconduct lawsuit could be detrimental to your organisation. 
  • Not forewarning employees about your right to access and read their emails could result in your business being sued for breaching the employee’s right to privacy. This leads to unnecessary time and money spent defending yourself in court. 

What Do I Need to Include? 

Your email usage policy should be customised to your organisation, but below are a few components which can be used as standard points in your policy: 

  • Conventions for when sensitive data is allowed to be shared. Include information on how this can be implemented safely. 
  • The time frame for when a change of company email account passwords is required. 
  • Content which is prohibited in emails, such as offensive commentary or delicate data in plain text. 
  • Rules governing whether employees can utilise the organisational email system for personal messaging and use. 
  • Rules concerning accessing the company email system when outside of the workplace. An example of this would be that employees may not compromise the email system by accessing it via a public WiFi hotspot. 
  • The personal computing devices employees may or may not access the email system from. 
  • The fact that employers reserve the right to access and read employees’ emails at any time. 
  • Stipulate the limits on mailbox storage. 
  • Employees should refrain from utilising the company email system in an unlawful or inappropriate way. 
  • Disciplinary actions and consequences should be highlighted, should an employee breach the email policy rules. 

Email policies, just like Internet policies, are a fundamental element to the successful upkeep of your business and its I.T. infrastructure. They help to identify the boundaries concerning the company email systems when used by employees. Equally important, sensitive data is less likely to be compromised with an email policy in place. 

If you require assistance with setting up your organisation’s email policy, HRToolkit can assist. Give us a call on 012 000 1111 or email us on info@hrtoolkit.co.za

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