Controls on the use of email and the Internet are severely lacking in New Zealand despite the fact that they are becoming more common on the desktop, says the Telecommunications Users Association of New Zealand (TUANZ).
A survey conducted by TUANZ suggests an important gap in awareness of the need to manage Internet usage.
The survey shows that nearly three-quarters of the respondent companies provide email and just under half provide Internet access to at least 75% of their staff.
However, only half the respondents monitored staff use of the Web and fewer than half have a written corporate policy in place governing Internet and email usage.
TUANZ chief executive Grant Forsyth says security risks are heightened with communications like email because they are so open. "Use needs to be controlled."
The aggregate impace of casual emails on productivity levels is considerable, as is the impact of people simply surfing the Web rather than using it in a targeted manner.
Forsyth says controls can range from corporate monitoring of archived email and accessed Web sites to limiting access to certain staff members.
"A written policy can cover complex issues like defamation and disclaimer language," says Forsyth. "It also means staff have a record of the rules governing email and Web use, so that they are clear where they stand."
TUANZ has worked with association members to compile a sample policy document.