Get temps to sign security policies

Firms employing high numbers of temporary and short-term staff are putting themselves at a high risk of an internet or e-mail...

Firms employing high numbers of temporary and short-term staff are putting themselves at a high risk of an internet or e-mail security breach because newcomers are not made aware of security policies, corporate compliance consultancy PolicyMatter has warned.

According to PolicyMatter, many UK organisations are not sufficiently geared up to ensure that temporary workers are made aware of expected behaviour when using the company's e-mail and internet systems. Matt Fisher, PolicyMatter's marketing manager, said, "With the majority of firms deploying policy through an employee handbook, or ad hoc hard copies, it is a good bet that most temporary workers are never made aware of the company's policies on internet and e-mail use.

"Temps, who are often hired as a short-term emergency measure, are frequently let loose on sensitive applications with no prior instruction."

Failing to ensure that workers are fully aware of their obligations can be a recipe for disaster. Not only are uninformed staff more likely to inadvertently cause a security breach, but if the employer cannot prove that an individual was made aware of corporate policy, it can be extremely difficult to limit the organisation's legal liability.

The solution, according to Fisher, is to ensure that all temporary workers are made aware of their expected behaviour before they are allowed to access sensitive systems, such as e-mail.

"This sounds burdensome, but it needn't be. It is possible to inform employees of relevant policies as soon as they start up their PCs," he said. "Within 10 minutes they could have read and signed up to an e-mail policy, giving the employer peace of mind that their systems are being used properly."

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