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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Manic Monday...

Who owns the computer are you using?
Blasé. I'm not talking to you or any other home computer user. I'm making reference to the PC you have at work... Do you share one with another user? Or are you fortunate enough to have one just for you? I know you believe the company paid for it. So they own it. But who owns the files you produce with it? Further, who owns the E-mails you send and receive on it? This is not a rhetorical question, or an ethics quiz. It's serious business.
The owner of your computer is the same entity that owns the data produced on it. Your employer. But the e-mail came with my name on it! You protest. But the email address has the company's name on it also. You can be held liable for the messages you generate from your company address. And E-mail is provided to you for the convenience of your company. This is not just my opinion. It has been upheld in numerous court cases nation wide. Please read this legal info.
Most, if not all companies use a software or hardware solution to protect employees from pornographic or other offensive material while you are at work (They would be liable if they didn't provide a safe work place) often referred to as an E-mail Firewall. This very same device that filters out unwanted inbound content gives your employer the ability to filter all messages, Inbound and Out. I have evaluated, tested, installed, configured and monitored many of these systems. And every single one of them has this capability. All of them. BlueCoat, Ironport, Tumbleweeds, Symantec, McAffee, Barracuda and Cisco. And all of the Intrusion Detection and Intrusion Prevention Systems can monitor traffic inbound and out also. Why would they be interested in traffic inside the perimeter of the protected network and on it's way out? The FBI estimates that 75% of all computer break-ins originate inside the company's network. That is an astounding statistic. But true. Granted, some of the damage maybe unintentional. But most is intentional. The security adage "Trust. But, verify." is applicable and appropriate. Be a part of the solution. Find out what your company defines as "Inappropriate Use" and follow the policy. If your company does not have such a policy, recommend one.

7 comments:

Edie said...

I knew this. :)
I'm so glad I work from home. It's mine! All mine!

<°)}}}><

Edie said...

Question while we're on the subject. Can't all employers monitor all inbound and outbound emails as well if they wanted to? Meaning read the content.

My ADHD Me said...

This is very important info. So many send emails on things I am quite sure they consider "private".
I am a strong believer of, if you want it to remain private, don't write it done anywhere....ie, computer or paper.

Also, I was going to ask the same question that Edie did.My guess is,"Yes".

KrippledWarrior said...

Yes & No. Depends on the email system. Groupwise? Yes. LOTUS NOTES? YES. Gmail? No.

Kelly Combs said...

Being a stay-home mom has its privileges.

Heart2Heart said...

Kurt,

This is so completely true. People have been fired for sending things out from their company emails and then look completely surprised and astonished when they are walking out the companies front door. A word to the wise if you are thinking you won't get caught, think again!

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Edie said...

Gmail, yes. If the company runs their email through gmail. The last company I worked for did that and they could access all inbound and outbound email in one location.

Personal gmail account, no. :)