Acceptable Use in a Remote World

by | Mar 29, 2023 | Cyber Risk

The workplace dynamic has changed drastically with many employees not going to the office every day. In many jobs (not all), employees have the ability to work from almost anywhere (at home, in a different country) and on any device (mobile device, personal computer). Remote work makes it more important than ever to have an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) in place to protect not only your organization but also your employees. 

Given the importance of an AUP, Cowbell has created a template that you can utilize to help jump-start the process. Keep in mind that the template has most aspects of industry-standard Acceptable Use Policies. It should be thoroughly reviewed to decide what applies to your organization, as each organization varies in structure. Areas that are irrelevant or not enforced should be removed from your policy.

Before implementing an AUP, it’s essential to understand the benefits of having one, and how to utilize the template. 

What is an Acceptable Use Policy
An Acceptable Use Policy (AUP), also known as a fair use policy, is a set of rules that outlines what employees can and can’t do while utilizing the organization’s internet access, network, data, or a specific piece of technology. In addition, the AUP will also cover the consequences of infringing the policy rules.

Benefits of implementing an Acceptable Use Policy
An acceptable use can be the foundation of a more extensive IT policy; it helps employees have a clear understanding of data and technology usage. One of the benefits of implementing an AUP is that it can be proof of “due diligence” and protect the organization from reputational harm. This “due diligence” is essential for organizations that have compliance requirements like HIPAA, PCI, GDPR, and others. It also helps communicate that cybersecurity is the responsibility of all employees, not just the IT department or other technical roles. An AUP combined with employee awareness training is part of building a good culture of cybersecurity.

How to use our Acceptable Use Policy template
The first step is downloading our Acceptable Use Policy template. Take the time to tailor it to your organization. It’s equally important to take the time to communicate to employees the importance of such policy and have processes in place to enforce it. After the policy is published, it needs to be reviewed regularly. We would recommend at least an annual review to make sure the contents are up to date and reflect changing technologies that the organization uses. 

This blog post was written by Cowbell’s Risk Manager, Jay Gohil, and Cowbell’s Risk Engineer, Nathan Abir.

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