Example of Internet usage and Web Filtering policy

1. Purpose

The purpose is to define the appropriate uses of the Internet by XXX’s employees and affiliates. Also define standards for systems that monitor and limit web use from any host within XXX’s network. These standards are designed to ensure employees use the Internet in a safe and responsible manner, and ensure that employee web use can be monitored or researched during an incident.

2. Scope

The Internet usage Policy applies to all Internet users (individuals working for the company, including permanent full-time and part-time employees, contract workers, temporary agency workers, business partners, and vendors) who access the Internet through the computing or networking resources. The company’s Internet users are expected to be familiar with and to comply with this policy, and are also required to use their common sense and exercise their good judgment while using Internet services. It also applies to all end user initiated communications between XXX’s network and the Internet, including web browsing, instant messaging, file transfer, file sharing, and other standard and proprietary protocols. Server to Server communications, such as SMTP traffic, backups, automated data transfers or database communications are excluded from this policy

3. Internet Usage Policy

3.1 Resource Usage

Access to the Internet will be approved and provided only if reasonable business needs are identified. Internet services will be granted based on an employee’s current job responsibilities. If an employee moves to another business unit or changes job functions, a new Internet access request must be submitted within 5 days. User Internet access requirements will be reviewed periodically by company departments to ensure that continuing needs exist.

1 Internet Services Allowed
Internet access is to be used for business purposes only. Capabilities for the following standard Internet services will be provided to users as needed:

  • E-mail — Send/receive E-mail messages to/from the Internet (with or without document attachments).
  • Navigation — WWW services as necessary for business purposes, using a hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) browser tool. Full access to the Internet; limited access from the Internet to dedicated company public web servers only.
  • File Transfer Protocol (FTP) — Send data/files and receive in-bound data/files, as necessary for business purposes.
  • Telnet — Standard Internet protocol for terminal emulation. User Strong Authentication required for Internet initiated contacts into the company.
    Management reserves the right to add or delete services as business needs change or conditions warrant.
    All other services will be considered unauthorized access to/from the Internet and will not be allowed.

2 Request & Approval Procedures
Internet access will be provided to users to support business activities and only as needed to perform their jobs.

  • Request for Internet Access: As part of the Internet access request process, the employee is required to read both this Internet usage Policy and the associated Internet/Intranet Security Policy The user must then sign the statements (located on the last page of each document) that he/she understands and agrees to comply with the policies. Users not complying with these policies could be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination. Policy awareness and acknowledgment, by signing the acknowledgment form, is required before access will be granted.
  • Approval: Internet access is requested by the user or user’s manager submitting an IT Access Request form to the IT department along with an attached copy of a signed Internet usage Coverage Acknowledgment Form.
  • Removal of privileges: Internet access will be discontinued upon termination of employee, completion of contract, end of service of non-employee, or disciplinary action arising from violation of this policy. In the case of a change in job function and/or transfer the original access code will be discontinued, and only reissued if necessary and a new request for access is approved.

All user IDs that have been inactive for thirty (30) days will be revoked. The privileges granted to users must be reevaluated by management annually. In response to feedback from management, systems administrators must promptly revoke all privileges no longer needed by users.

3.2 Allowed Usage

Internet usage is granted for the sole purpose of supporting business activities necessary to carry out job functions. All users must follow the corporate principles regarding resource usage and exercise good judgment in using the Internet. Questions can be addressed to the IT Department. Acceptable use of the Internet for performing job functions might include:

  • Communication between employees and non-employees for business purposes;
  • IT technical support downloading software upgrades and patches;
  • Review of possible vendor web sites for product information;
  • Reference regulatory or technical information.
  • Research

3.3 Personal Usage

Using company computer resources to access the Internet for personal purposes, without approval from the user’s manager and the IT department, may be considered cause for disciplinary action up to and including termination. All users of the Internet should be aware that the company network creates an audit log reflecting request for service, both in-bound and out-bound addresses, and is periodically reviewed. Users who choose to store or transmit personal information such as private keys, credit card numbers or certificates or make use of Internet “wallets” do so at their own risk. The company is not responsible for any loss of information, such as information stored in the wallet, or any consequential loss of personal property

3.4 Prohibited Usage

Information stored in the wallet, or any consequential loss of personal property. Acquisition, storage, and dissemination of data which is illegal, pornographic, or which negatively depicts race, sex or creed is specifically prohibited. The company also prohibits the conduct of a business enterprise, political activity, engaging in any form of intelligence collection from our facilities, engaging in fraudulent activities, or knowingly disseminating false or otherwise libelous materials. Other activities that are strictly prohibited include, but are not limited to:

  • Accessing company information that is not within the scope of one’s work. This includes unauthorized reading of customer account information, unauthorized access of personnel file information, and accessing information that is not needed for the proper execution of job functions.
  • Misusing, disclosing without proper authorization, or altering customer or personnel information. This includes making unauthorized changes to a personnel file or sharing electronic customer or personnel data with unauthorized personnel.
  • Deliberate pointing or hyper-linking of company Web sites to other Internet/WWW sites whose content may be inconsistent with or in violation of the aims or policies of the company.
  • Any conduct that would constitute or encourage a criminal offense, lead to civil liability, or otherwise violate any regulations, local, state, national or international law including without limitations US export control laws and regulations.
  • Use, transmission, duplication, or voluntary receipt of material that infringes on the copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, or patent rights of any person or organization. Assume that all materials on the Internet are copyright and/or patented unless specific notices state otherwise.
  • Transmission of any proprietary, confidential, or otherwise sensitive information without the proper controls.
  • Creation, posting, transmission, or voluntary receipt of any unlawful, offensive, libelous, threatening, harassing material, including but not limited to comments based on race, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, or political beliefs.
  • Any form of gambling.

Unless specifically authorized under the provisions of section 4.3, the following activities are also strictly prohibited:

  • Unauthorized downloading of any shareware programs or files for use without authorization in advance from the IT Department and the user’s manager.
  • Any ordering (shopping) of items or services on the Internet.
  • Playing of any games.
  • Forwarding of chain letters.
  • Participation in any on-line contest or promotion.
  • Acceptance of promotional gifts.

Bandwidth both within the company and in connecting to the Internet is a shared, finite resource. Users must make reasonable efforts to use this resource in ways that do not negatively affect other employees. Specific departments may set guidelines on bandwidth use and resource allocation, and may ban the downloading of particular file types.

3.5 Software License

The company strongly supports strict adherence to software vendors’ license agreements. When at work, or when company computing or networking resources are employed, copying of software in a manner not consistent with the vendor’s license is strictly forbidden. Questions regarding lawful versus unlawful copying should be referred to the IT Department for review or to request a ruling from the Legal Department before any copying is done. Similarly, reproduction of materials available over the Internet must be done only with the written permission of the author or owner of the document. Unless permission from the copyright owner(s) is first obtained, making copies of material from magazines, journals, newsletters, other publications and online documents is forbidden unless this is both reasonable and customary. This notion of “fair use” is in keeping with international copyright laws. Using company computer resources to access the Internet for personal purposes, without approval from the user’s manager and the IT department, may be considered cause for disciplinary action up to and including termination. All users of the Internet should be aware that the company network creates an audit log reflecting request for service, both in-bound and out-bound addresses, and is periodically reviewed. Users who choose to store or transmit personal information such as private keys, credit card numbers or certificates or make use of Internet “wallets” do so at their own risk.

3.6 Review of Public Information

All publicly-writeable directories on Internet-connected computers will be reviewed and cleared each evening. This process is necessary to prevent the anonymous exchange of information inconsistent with company business. Examples of unauthorized public information include pirated information, passwords, credit card numbers, and pornography.

3.7 Expectation of Privacy

1 Monitoring
Users should consider their Internet activities as periodically monitored and limit their activities accordingly. Management reserves the right to examine E-mail, personal file directories, web access, and other information stored on company computers, at any time and without notice. This examination ensures compliance with internal policies and assists with the management of company information systems.
2 E-mail Confidentiality
Users should be aware that clear text E-mail is not a confidential means of communication. The company cannot guarantee that electronic communications will be private. Employees should be aware that electronic communications can, depending on the technology, be forwarded, intercepted, printed, and stored by others. Users should also be aware that once an E-mail is transmitted it may be altered. Deleting an E-mail from an individual workstation will not eliminate it from the various systems across which it has been transmitted.

3.8 Maintaining Corporate Image

1 Representation
When using company resources to access and use the Internet, users must realize they represent the company. Whenever employees state an affiliation to the company, they must also clearly indicate that “the opinions expressed are my own and not necessarily those of the company”. Questions may be addressed to the IT Department.
2 Company Materials
Users must not place company material (examples: internal memos, press releases, product or usage information, documentation, etc.) on any mailing list, public news group, or such service. Any posting of materials must be approved by the employee’s manager and the public relations department and will be placed by an authorized individual.

3.9 Periodic Reviews

1 Usage Compliance Reviews
To ensure compliance with this policy, periodic reviews will be conducted. These reviews will include testing the degree of compliance with usage policies.
2 Policy Maintenance Reviews
Periodic reviews will be conducted to ensure the appropriateness and the effectiveness of usage policies. These reviews may result in the modification, addition, or deletion of usage policies to better suit company information needs.

4. Web Filtering policy

4.1 Web Site Monitoring

The Information Technology Department shall monitor Internet use from all computers and devices connected to the corporate network. For all traffic the monitoring system must record the source IP Address, the date, the time, the protocol, and the destination site or server. Where possible, the system should record the User ID of the person or account initiating the traffic. Internet Use records must be preserved for 180 days.

4.2 Access to Web Site Monitoring Reports

General trending and activity reports will be made available to any employee as needed upon request to the Information Technology Department. Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) members may access all reports and data if necessary to respond to a security incident. Internet Use reports that identify specific users, sites, teams, or devices will only be made available to associates outside the CSIRT upon written or email request to Information Systems from a Human Resources Representative.

4.3 Internet Use Filtering System

The Information Technology Department shall block access to Internet websites and protocols that are deemed inappropriate for XXX’s corporate environment. The following protocols and categories of websites should be blocked:

  • Adult/Sexually Explicit Material
  • Advertisements & Pop-Ups
  • Chat and Instant Messaging
  • Gambling
  • Hacking
  • Illegal Drugs
  • Intimate Apparel and Swimwear
  • Peer to Peer File Sharing
  • Personals and Dating
  • Social Network Services
  • SPAM, Phishing and Fraud
  • Spyware
  • Tasteless and Offensive Content
  • Violence, Intolerance and Hate
  • Web Based Email

4.4 Internet Use Filtering Rule Changes

The Information Technology Department shall periodically review and recommend changes to web and protocol filtering rules. Human Resources shall review these recommendations and decide if any changes are to be made. Changes to web and protocol filtering rules will be recorded in this Policy.

4.5 Internet Use Filtering Exceptions

If a site is mis-categorized, employees may request the site be un-blocked by submitting a ticket to the Information Technology help desk. An IT employee will review the request and un-block the site if it is mis-categorized.

Employees may access blocked sites with permission if appropriate and necessary for business purposes. If an employee needs access to a site that is blocked and appropriately categorized, they must submit a request to their Human Resources representative. HR will present all approved exception requests to Information Technology in writing or by email. Information Technology will unblock that site or category for that associate only. Information Technology will track approved exceptions and report on them upon request.

5. Policy Compliance

5.1 Compliance Measurement

The IT team will verify compliance to this policy through various methods, including but not limited to, business tool reports, internal and external audits, and feedback to the policy owner.

5.2 Exceptions

Any exception to the policy must be approved by the IT Team in advance.

5.3 Non-Compliance

An employee found to have violated this policy may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

Additionally, the company may at its discretion seek legal remedies for damages incurred as a result of any violation. The company may also be required by law to report certain illegal activities to the proper enforcement agencies. Before access to the Internet via company network is approved, the potential Internet user is required to read this Internet usage Policy and sign an acknowledgment form (located on the last page of this document). The signed acknowledgment form should be turned in and will be kept on file at the facility granting the access. For questions on the Internet usage Policy, contact the Information Technology (IT) Department.

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