Whatever your field, whatever your role, the number of people who don’t use the internet or email as part of their working routine is growing smaller by the day. While providing internet and email facilities to your employees will usually have a very positive effect on your business it is important you also do so with caution to the potential pitfalls this may expose your business to.

Email in particular, due to its informal nature can be a double-edged sword and it is important that you are able to provide your employees with some sort of rules or guidance as to how they can and should use the medium in order to avoid them misusing it and bringing your business into disrepute or danger.

An internet and email policy is the simplest way to provide a unified approach as to how the internet, etc is used within your business.

Whilst this may sound onerous on small businesses, most small law firms with a business or employment specialist will now be able to supply this tailored to your business for a relatively small fee – usually as a bundle of other useful business contracts and policies – and there are also many precedents out there in the public domain that you can choose to use too. Sites like ClickDocs and Simply-Docs offer pre-prepared documents suitable for most businesses for a minimal cost.

If you are still not quite sure what these sort of policies should contain this guide from the IT team at law firm Pinsent & Masons may be slightly out of date but covers the basic principles well.

Whatever you decide, it is likely to be a very prudent investment to make sure you have a suitable policy in place and in action. Remember if your employee does something that crosses the boundaries of legality, it could be you the affected party comes after and that could prove very costly.