An IT Manager's View on E-Mail and Internet Policies and Procedures

Article excerpt

E-mail is mandatory tool of communications any business to survive in the 21st century. It is imperative that Information technology (IT) managers monitor and make sure that the e-mail systems are used properly. In order to organize a systematic process for proper use of email an administrator must have an input into the development of appropriate e-mail policies and procedures. IT administrators must develop and understand the policies and procedures for the management of E-mail systems. This research highlights on the importance of e-mail policies and procedures as they relate to employees use of e-mail systems and the responsibility assigned to an e-mail administrator in the management of this usage. This research also addresses liability issues and how the law applies to e-mall management.

Keywords: E-mail Management, E-Mall Etiquette, E-Mail liability, Information Overload

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The nonstop progress of technology has made the local and international businesses to rely more and more on IT. According to Pew Internet & American Life Project Tracking 2004 surveys; Ninety-three percent of all internet users have e-mail. Use of E-mail is an essential constituent of doing business in relation to communication. Whenever businesses initiate e-mail policies, they encounter a variety of issues to make sure that statutory rules and regulations are followed. This study explores the challenges of proper e-mail usage and the law as it relates to companies policies and procedures.

What is E-mail Etiquette?

If a management fails to regulate the use of company's e-mail systems it can expose companies to variety of legal suits. Information overload represents a state of affairs where an individual's efficiency in using information in their work is hampered by the amount of relevant, and potentially useful, information available to them (Holtham & Courtney, 1999). The information must be of some potential value, and it must be accessible. It is an essential element of e-mail etiquette.

All businesses must implement etiquette guidelines for the reasons such as professionalism, efficiency, protection from liability, and information overload. By requiring employees to use appropriate, businesslike language in all electronic communications, employers can limit their liability risks and improve the overall effectiveness of an organization's e-mail and Internet policy in the process. There are some basic rules in regards to e-mail etiquette that should be followed (Caudron, 2000). E-mail etiquette can be enforced in several ways such as creating a written e-mail policy, training employees to understand the importance of e-mail etiquette, and implementing rules that can be monitored by using e-mail management software and e-mail response tools (Angell & Heslop, 1994).

E-mail Liability

The improper use of e-mail creates for employers an array of legal problems because of three typical e-mail-system features: broadcasting capabilities, perpetual retention, and susceptibility to abuse. These features can give rise to such legal concerns and challenges as; preserving the confidentiality of company information, dealing with e-mails' admissibility into court and their storage during litigation, protecting the company from liability for employees' misuse of e-mail, and handling employee-privacy claims (Mills, Clay, & Mortensen, 2000).

Examples of Courts' Use of E-mail in Legal Situations

There have been many cases involving e-mail recently that has involved e-mail. Some of the cases include antitrust issues, contract disputes, employee-related litigation, privacy concerns, and trademark issues.

The public display of corporate e-mail in United States of America and State of New York et al. v. Microsoft Corporation was the first instance when many companies became aware of the dangers of retained e-mail messages (Mills et al. …