One of the topics covered in our Great First Day tip sheet is the importance of understanding your new company’s IT policies. Learning and following these policies is the responsibility of employees at every level. If you are an administrative assistant or the Secretary of State, the security of vital organizational information is dependent upon your adherence to your company’s policies. The career consequences for violating these policies may not warrant an FBI investigation and international media coverage; it can result in losing a job you love.
The most common violations of IT policies that lead to corrective action or dismissal include:
Forwarding or starting emails sharing jokes, quizzes, or videos of fuzzy kittens. Seems harmless, right? It is always considered a misuse of staff time (yours) and company equipment. It can also be a way for a virus or malware to enter your companies system.
Not protecting confidential information received by email; take caution when you “reply all” or forward information. Be sure only those who should have access to the information you are sending are included in the list of recipients.
Sharing your password (this includes putting it on a post-it you stick on your computer). Knowing how to handle a request to share your password can be challenging. A coworker says they need to get into the company database immediately, and their password is not working. They only need to be in the system for a minute, and their boss will be furious if the entry/change they need to make is not completed within the next few minutes. What harm could there be in helping another teammate? Any error, intentional or accidental your coworker makes will be traced back to you. Really want to help? Offer to do the entry yourself while your teammate contacts IT to get a new password.
Leaving you work laptop in the backseat of your car while you run into Starbucks to grab a cup of coffee and use the bathroom. Many of the headline stories on the compromising of client information and identity theft start this way. You don’t want to be the lead on 6 o’clock news; “Laptop stolen from employee car has compromised the identity of more than ten-thousand clients.”
Being a professional means taking responsibility for the confidentially and security of your organization’s information.