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E-mail policies need review – Eversheds


We are grateful to sister site LawZONE for the following article:

From the e-news service from legal firm Eversheds – “E-mail policies need a review “

The need to regularly review e-mail policies, made ever more real by the news that over 100 people have been dismissed since the incident at one London law firm, have come back into focus today with a warning from Psion, the makers of handheld PCs.

Psion produce palmtop computers, often called PDAs (Personal Diary Assistants) and say that they sold around 75,000 PDAs in the UK in the run up to Christmas. Most people synchronize their PDA with their company network and, as a result, the risks to many companies will have increased significantly since the New Year with these new devices being linked up for the first time.

Psion themselves have issued a warning to companies to put policies in place to prevent ‘security and management nightmares’ as users attempt to connect to their network. The risks include the loss of company information as users download data from their PCs, network crashes brought about by the extra computing power demanded and data protection risks. The data protection risk is increased as many users will not only synchronize their work computer with the PDA but will also transfer information from the PDA to the network. This may include personal data which the company would not ordinarily hold – for example we know already of one case where details of a secret meeting were transferred onto a company diary system through synchronization.

“Now is the time to set the standards, before mobile devices are so pervasive that offices no longer have control,” said Nick Martin, Corporate Sales Director at Psion Computers. “A lot of people received palmtop devices for Christmas and will be bringing them into the office for business use. Companies should know what equipment staff are using, and thus be able to promote better ways of working with them.”

For most businesses the time is ripe to review their existing acceptable use policies in view of this increased threat. Eversheds have been at the forefront of drafting policies for organisations to balance the needs of the company and the rights of workers in legislation such as the new human rights legislation.

Jonathan Armstrong
[email protected]

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