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Annie Hayes

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Bosses police e-mail activity

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A new survey shows that UK businesses are clamping down on the use of personal e-mail.

Nearly two thirds of organisations, surveyed by FAST Corporate Services say they have restricted the use of private e-mail accounts, such as Yahoo! and Hotmail.

Other findings include:

  • 46% of organisations have banned staff access to personal email accounts completely

  • 12% say they allow staff to use them only at certain times of the day (lunch hours and after work)

  • 5% restrict access to a limited number of PCs

Chris Minchin, membership manager at FAST Corporate Services, said: “The research indicates that companies are waking up to the problems of private e-mail, and for many, the easiest and most obvious solution is simply to ban access to certain sites.”

The survey authors urge businesses to put in place comprehensive policies:

Minchin said: “It might be surprising to most company directors to discover that an employment tribunal recently awarded £26,000 to a woman who was sacked for sending more than 300 personal e-mails, on the grounds that there was no clear policy in place regarding email use. This demonstrates the need for clear policies.”

He also warned against other risks that many businesses are not aware of: “The issue is not just about lost productivity, although this is a concern for many UK enterprises. Personal e-mail accounts can also create security risks by bringing in viruses and malware including keylogging software, the potential consequences of which were experienced recently by Sumitomo Mitsui Bank.”

The bank’s systems were infiltrated with the use of keylogging software, hackers attempted to steal £220 million.

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Annie Hayes

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