The e-Policy Handbook: Rules and Best Practices to Safely Manage Your Company's E-mail, Blogs, Social Networking, and Other Electronic Communication Tools / Edition 2

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Overview

Trillions of e-mails travel each year through corporate networks—and they're not all work-related. But for organizations wishing to protect themselves from liability, e-mail is no longer the only danger—they now have to contend with blogs, social networking sites, and other new technologies. Packed with electronic rules, step-by-step guidelines, sample policies, and e-disaster stories, this revised edition of The e-Policy Handbook helps readers:

implement strategic electronic rules • prevent security breaches and data theft • safeguard confidential company and customer information • manage new and emerging technologies • write and implement effective policies • train employees

Updated to cover new technologies, including instant messaging, social networking, text messaging, video sites, and more, this is a comprehensive resource for developing clear, complete e-policies.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814410653
  • Publisher: AMACOM
  • Publication date: 1/7/2009
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Nancy Flynn (Columbus, OH) is founder and executive director of The ePolicy Institute™, a leading source of e-mail- and Internet-related products and services. She is regularly quoted in major media including The Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times , USA Today, NPR, and CNN. Her books include Blog Rules (978-0-8144-7355-9), and E-Mail Rules (978-0-8144-7188-3).

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Read an Excerpt

C H A P T E R 1

Why Every Organization Needs Electronic Rules and

Policies Based on Best Practices

Since the initial publication of The e-Policy Handbook in 2001, electronic

business communication tools and technologies have taken the workplace

by storm. Consequently, many employers find themselves drowning

in risk as they struggle to manage the use—and curtail the abuse

—of what were originally conceived as time-saving, productivity-enhancing

technology tools.

Without question, e-mail has become the business world’s communication

tool of choice, forever altering the ways in which we exchange

information and conduct professional and personal relationships.

Meanwhile, new tools and technologies—instant messenger (IM), blogs,

social networking and video sites, cell phones and camera phones, text

messaging, ‘‘confidential’’ electronic messaging, and the BlackBerry

Smartphone, to name a few—have joined the electronic business communication

mix at a breakneck pace.

The good news: The ever-expanding universe of high-tech tools facilitates

users’ ability to quickly and conveniently transmit business-critical

data and stay connected with colleagues and customers around the

globe. The bad news: Emerging technologies dramatically increase employers’

exposure to potentially costly and protracted risks including

workplace lawsuits, regulatory fines, security breaches, and productivity

drains, among others.

Fortunately, for savvy employers determined to manage technology

use and minimize risks, there is a solution. Through the strategic

implementation of a comprehensive e-policy program that combines

written electronic rules with formal employee training supported by policy-

based monitoring, management, and archiving tools, organizations

can effectively minimize (and in some cases prevent) electronic risks

while maximizing compliance with legal, regulatory, and organizational

guidelines.

e-Policy Rule 1: Through the implementation of a comprehensive

e-policy program that combines written rules with employee

education supported by discipline and technology tools, organizations

can effectively minimize electronic risks and maximize

compliance.

In the Electronic Office, Risks Abound

Even if your organization does not currently use IM, operate a business

blog, or provide executives with BlackBerry Smartphones, you cannot

afford to ignore new and emerging technology. If you fail to provide

the hot, must-have technologies of the day, chances are your tech-savvy

employees (particularly younger employees whose social lives revolve

around IMing, texting, and social networking) will bring them in

through the back door and load them onto your system without management

approval or IT oversight. Left undetected and unmanaged, that’s

a recipe for disaster!

Manage Powerful, Popular Electronic Business

Communication Tools Proactively

Considering that the average personal computer can hold 1 million

pages of information, it’s no surprise that 90 percent of the business

documents we create and acquire are electronic, according to the Association

of Records Managers and Administrators (ARMA) as reported by

Baseline Magazine.1

Employers who are concerned about managing all that electronic

information—and related risks—should act now to put written policies

in place governing the use of established tools and new technologies at

work during business hours and at home on employees’ own time.

Old and new alike, all electronic business communication tools must

be addressed by comprehensive, best-practices-based rules and policies

as detailed in this book. Failure to establish and enforce written rules

and e-policies puts the organization at risk of electronic disasters including,

but not limited to: regulatory audits, security breaches, lost productivity,

shattered stock valuation, negative publicity, lost credibility, and

workplace lawsuits, which employers and legal professionals alike consistently

identify as their number-one e-mail and Internet-related concern.

2

e-Policy Rule 2: You cannot afford to ignore new and

emerging technology. If you fail to provide the hot, must-have

technologies of the day, chances are your tech-savvy

employees will bring them in through the back door. Left undetected

and unmanaged, that’s a recipe for disaster!

Employers Face Ever-Increasing Legal Liability

As early as 2001, when the first edition of The e-Policy Handbook was

published, employers cited legal liability as their primary reason for

monitoring employee e-mail and Internet use.3 Since then, we have witnessed

the expanding role of e-mail and other forms of electronically

stored information (ESI) as evidence in civil lawsuits and criminal trials.

In 2006, 24 percent of organizations had employee e-mail subpoenaed,

compared to just 9 percent in 2001. Another 15 percent of companies

went to court to battle lawsuits specifically triggered by employee

e-mail in 2006, according to the Workplace E-Mail, Instant Messaging,

and Blog Survey from American Management Association and ePolicy

Institute.4

Electronically Stored Information Plays an

Ever-Expanding Evidentiary Role

There is no doubt that the evidentiary role of workplace e-mail and other

electronically stored information will continue to expand. The United

States Federal Court made clear this fact in December 2006, when the

much-anticipated amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

(FRCP) were announced, affirming the fact that all electronically stored

information is subject to discovery (which means it may be subpoenaed

and used as evidence) in federal litigation.

When it comes to electronic evidence, it is the content that counts,

not the tool or technology used. Whether created, transmitted, acquired,

posted, downloaded, or uploaded via e-mail, IM, the Internet, a cell

phone, or any other tool, ESI creates the electronic equivalent of DNA

evidence. ESI can—and will—be subpoenaed and used as evidence for

or against your company should it one day become embroiled in a workplace

lawsuit. Will you be prepared?

e-Policy Rule 3: Electronically stored information (ESI) creates

the electronic equivalent of DNA evidence. ESI can—and will—be

subpoenaed and used as evidence for or against your organization

should it one day become embroiled in a workplace lawsuit.

Regulators Grow Increasingly Watchful

Over the years, government and industry regulators have turned an increasingly

watchful eye to the content created and the business records

generated by e-mail and other electronic business communication tools.

For example, failure to comply with Security and Exchange Commission

(SEC) rules governing written e-mail and IM content and record retention

policies has cost brokerage firms hundreds of millions of dollars in

fines.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA),

Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), and Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) are

just three of the tens of thousands of regulatory rules with which workplace

computer users must comply—or face consequences including

monetary fines and possible jail time.

In spite of potentially costly penalties, regulated firms have been

slow to adopt the type of business record–related rules and policies detailed

in Chapter 3. Only 34 percent of organizations have e-mail record

retention policies and schedules in place, and merely 13 percent of companies

retain and archive business record IM, according to American

Management Association/ePolicy Institute research.5

Among regulated employees, 43 percent either don’t adhere to regulatory

rules governing e-mail retention or they simply do not know if

they are in compliance.6 Overall, 43 percent of workers can’t distinguish

business-critical e-mail and IM that must be retained from insignificant

messages that may be purged.7

It’s no surprise that employees are confused and employers ill-prepared

when it comes to the management of all-important ESI. Only 21

percent of companies provide employees with a formal definition of

‘‘electronic business record.’’8

This book is designed to educate employers and users about the

importance of establishing and complying with rules and policies governing

electronic business record retention, deletion, and archiving, as well

as overall electronic risk management. Strategic business record retention

and deletion rules and policies are essential for all employers, regardless

of industry, size, or status as public or private entities.

Employ Tougher Rules to Combat Growing Risks

Along with increased risk, there has been growing awareness among

employers of the devastating impact that inappropriate electronic content

and unprofessional behavior—accidental or intentional—can have

on users’ careers and the corporate bottom line. Consequently, employers

are increasingly putting teeth in their electronic policies.

In 2007, more than a quarter of employers (28 percent) fired employees

for e-mail misuse. That’s double the 14 percent reported just

six years earlier in 2001. An additional 30 percent of bosses terminated

workers for Internet violations in 2007, according to the 2007 Electronic

Monitoring and Surveillance Survey from American Management Association

and ePolicy Institute.9

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Table of Contents

C O N T E N T S

PART ONE: Electronic Business Communication Rules

1 Why Every Organization Needs Electronic Rules and Policies Based

on Best Practices, 3

PART TWO: E-Mail Rules

2 Legal Risks and Rules: E-Mail Creates Discoverable Evidence, 13

3 Record Retention Risks and Rules: Courts and Regulators Take

Seriously the Production—and Destruction—of Electronic Evidence, 20

4 Regulatory Risks and Rules: Government and Industry Watchdogs

Guard Content and Records, 28

5 Archiving Rules, Tools, and Best Practices, 34

PART THREE: Privacy, Confidentiality, and Data Security Rules

6 Online Privacy Risks, Rights, and Rules, 49

7 Confidential Messaging Rules and Tools, 56

8 Data Security Risks and Rules, 71

PART FOUR: Content, Personal Use, and Netiquette Rules

9 Content and Personal Use Risks and Rules, 79

10 Netiquette Rules, 85

PART FIVE: Instant Messaging Rules

11 IM Is Turbocharged E-Mail: All the Risks, Rules, and Regulations

Apply, 93

12 IM Management Rules and Tools, 100

PART SIX : Internet Rules: Web, Blog, Social Networking, and

Video Site Risks, Rules, Policies, and Best Practices

13 Internet Risks and Rules, 109

14 Blog Rules, 114

15 Blog Risks, 118

16 Blog Policies and Best Practices, 124

17 Social Networking and Video Site Risks and Rules, 133

PART SEVEN: Software Rules

18 Software Risks, Rules, Policies, and Best Practices, 143

PART EIGHT : Cell Phone and Texting Rules

19 Cell Phone and Text Messaging Risks, Rules, Policies, and Best

Practices, 155

PART NINE: Monitoring and Compliance Rules: Minimize

Risks—and Maximize Compliance—with Training,

Discipline, and Monitoring

20 Employee Education Policies and Best Practices, 173

21 Disciplinary Rules, Policies, and Best Practices, 181

22 Monitoring Rules and Tools, 184

PART TEN: User Rules

23 How to Communicate Online Without Getting Fired: Ten Tips for

Employees WhoWant to Protect Their Privacy—and Keep Their Jobs,

195

24 Q&A: Answers to Employees’ Most Commonly Asked e-Policy and

Privacy Questions, 205

PART ELEVEN: Electronic Writing Rules

25 e-Policy 101: How to Draft Effective e-Policies for Your Organization,

217

26 Establishing Electronic Writing Style Policies for Employees, 222

APPENDICES

A Fifty-Seven e-Policy Rules to Help Keep Your Organization in

Business . . . and Out of Court, 233

B e-Policy Dos and Don’ts: Best Practices to Help Minimize Risks and

Maximize Compliance, 240

C Sample Electronic Business Communication Policies, 247

D Glossary of Electronic Business Communication, Legal, and

Technology Terms, 273

E Resources and Expert Sources, 284

Notes, 287

Index, 311

About the Author, 323

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