The rapidly changing landscape of today’s digital workplace necessitates agile and comprehensive corporate policies. As an employer, one of the most important documents that you must keep up to date is your Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). This policy guides employees on the appropriate use of technology or digital devices within your organisation, and its importance is only growing. Prevalent factors such as remote-working, AI, cybersecurity and diversity are elements that you might not have considered or got right in your current AUP. If outdated or inaccurate, your AUP will leave your organisation vulnerable to avoidable risks. So keep it updated! Let’s explore some areas that have become very important to include.
The Rise of Remote Work
The COVID-19 pandemic ushered in an unprecedented era of remote work. This new paradigm presents unique challenges that your AUP should address. When employees work remotely, they may be more likely to use personal devices for work, access company resources over potentially insecure networks, or share sensitive information in less secure, more unfamiliar ways. There is also a severely heightened chance of unauthorised personnel seeing confidential company information. Your AUP should provide clear guidelines on these matters. It must emphasise the critical nature of data security, clearly outline expectations around the use of personal devices, and provide specific steps to ensure the secure transmission of data.
AI and Machine Learning
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies are increasingly embedded into our workplaces. The recent rise of ChatGPT and similar alternatives has exposed the powers of AI tools to the average person. They offer new opportunities for efficiency and innovation, but also present fresh challenges. As an employer, you should consider adding a section to your AUP about the responsible use of AI and ML. This could include guidelines for maintaining data privacy, ensuring transparency, and avoiding biases in decision-making processes that utilise these technologies.
Increasing Importance of Cybersecurity
Cyber threats have been rising, with businesses of all sizes and across all sectors under attack. In early 2023 32% of UK businesses recalled breaches or attacks within the last 12 months. From phishing attempts to ransomware attacks, the need for robust cybersecurity has never been more paramount. An up to date AUP is a powerful tool in your cybersecurity arsenal. It should detail the necessary steps employees must take to prevent cyberattacks, including using strong, unique passwords, installing regular software updates and patches, and reporting any suspicious activity promptly.
Emphasising Diversity and Inclusion
Modern workplaces are increasingly prioritising diversity and inclusion. Your AUP should reflect this. A clear statement in your AUP about your commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive work environment can send a strong message to your employees. The policy should stress zero tolerance for discriminatory or harassing behaviour, and this should apply to all forms of digital communication, from emails to team chat messages.
A quick fix
At Redwing we have recently updated our Acceptable Use Policy template, rectifying the gaps that changes in the modern workplace have exposed. Whether you haven’t updated your AUP in the last 10, 5, or only 2 years, there’s a good chance we’ve covered an area you may have not thought of. So, if you aren’t confident or don’t have the time to update your AUP then you can head straight to our online shop here to pick up the template, and simply just adapt it to suit your organisation.
If you need any assistance with your AUP or any aspect of HR please call us on 01527 909436.