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Social Media and Your Company's Acceptable Use Policy

Posted by Mikal E. Belicove | December 7, 2010
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/blog/218977
social-media-company-acceptable-use-policy.jpgAcceptable use policies have the intent of providing a safe working environment, increasing employee productivity and providing a layer of security to company assets like individual computers and network infrastructure.

Thinking back on my first office job, I recall my supervisor going to great lengths to explain to me that the company phone was for business use only, and that if I was caught making personal calls I would be warned, written up and then fired. At that time nobody referred to this edict as an "Acceptable Use Policy." In fact, it was more along the lines of a "Call Your Buddies and You're Outta Here Policy."

When blogs gained traction, more companies became concerned with acceptable use. And now that social media rules the day, AUPs have become more the rule than the exception. In fact, if your company doesn't have an AUP in place, you'd be well advised to develop one, pronto. And even if you have such a policy, with the advent of social media, now's a great time to update your rules regarding acceptable use.

Social media communications are interactive, difficult to retract and occur in real time. If they aren't monitored or managed, they can increase your company's liability or damage its reputation. So the proper care and feeding of your AUP that includes an updated social media component is critical.

M86 Security, an Orange, Calif.-based company specializing in real-time Web and e-mail threat protection, offers these tips to make sure your Acceptable Use Policy is social media-proof:

M86 recently released a white paper for entrepreneurs and small-business owners outlining ways to update an AUP to accommodate the increasing popularity and use of social media in the business world.