The internet and electronic communication have revolutionized the way we conduct business, and it is important that this email policy helps our employees , partners, customers, and ecosystem stakeholders understand how they should use (and not use) these powerful tools. At their best, emails make us efficient, productive and better informed. Misuse, however, can create problems that distract from and undermine AVA’s mission.
This email policy was stated to encourages positive, productive communications while protecting AVA from any potential legal liability, reputational damage and security breaches. The rules and expectations are tailored to fit the needs of the business and industry in which it operates.
Strict Business Use and Personal Exceptions
First and foremost, it should be clear that the use of all AVA business email addresss is strictly only for business purposes, that is, to conduct business on behalf of AVA in line with our responsibilities. Personal use of business email is prohibited. However, AVA recognize that occasionally a personal matter may be discussed via a business email account, so exceptions may apply and the Management’s handling of personal emails will be practical and appropriate. AVA requires that personal emails are saved in a separate folder. Attachments in personal emails are first scanned by AVA’s email server antivirus program and may be removed from the email if found to contain virus. AVA prohibit the use of business email to sign up for accounts not related to business (e.g., online promotions, newsletters, etc.).
Following the principle of “business email is for business use,” it is important to be clear that company email is the company’s property. As such, employees should be made aware that:
- There are a number of options or software used by AVA to monitor email and internet use.
- These tools allow AVA to capture and review messages and set up alerts, for example, if certain words or phrases are used , a prohibited website is visited, or if protected documents are shared.
- Monitoring is executed both in a transparent manner or in a silent mode. Some software options may allow remote monitoring at the email servers.
- There should be no expectation of privacy where company email is concerned, even if personal in nature. In other words, anything that is sent, received, created or stored on a company’s computer system may be viewed.
- Emails are part of the company’s records and may be subject to discovery in a legal case.
- AVA may monitor employees’ use of email.
What is NOT Allowed
In the interest of heading off bad or even illegal behavior and protecting the company from liability, AVA aims to be explicit about what types of communications are prohibited by this email policy. Company emails are strictly:
- Not be used to harass or make threats, nor be offensive or disruptive in nature;
- Not include language or images related to race, gender, age, sexual orientation; pornography, religious or political beliefs, national origin, or disability;
- Not present personal views as the company’s own;
- Not engage in commercial activity unrelated to the company;
- Not distribute copyrighted material;
- Not share confidential material, trade secrets, or proprietary information outside of the company.
Receipt of Inappropriate Email
Employees are encouraged to report the receipt of any inappropriate email with prohibited content to a supervisor or manager. The company will investigate and address any reports of inappropriate email in a timely manner.
Company and Network Security
Emails may provide a window for security breaches. Phishing and more specifically spear phishing emails have increased and are common cyberattacks on small businesses. Phishing refers to emails that appear to come from a legitimate source but are scams designed to steal private, sensitive information. Therefore, it is important that employees are aware of security threats include:
- Be suspicious of unknown links or requests sent through email or text message.
- Do not open email attachments from unknown sources, and only open attachments from known sources after confirming the sender.
- Never click on links in emails.
- Do not respond to requests for personal or sensitive information via email, even if the request appears to be from a trusted source.
- Verify the authenticity of requests from companies or individuals by contacting them directly.
- Any proprietary or sensitive information sent via email should be encrypted.
Email users must perform emails housekeeping to ensure storage not exceeding storage quota, incoming emails can be received, and the integrity of email files at the servers would not be corrupted. Keeping your emails at reasonable size also help during server migration process in avoiding gigantic file transfers and slow migration.
Email users are encouraged to adhere to professional communication etiquettes, which include:
- Professionalism – Emails should be professional and respectful in tone
- Spelling/grammar – Spell check should be enabled and grammar checked before sending emails.
- Proofread – Before sending, employees should re-read their emails to correct errors, check tone and avoid miscommunication.
- Address – Add the email recipient’s address after composing the email to avoid sending an unfinished/unedited message. Double check the recipients’ addresses before sending.
- Signature – Employees are required to include specific information as part of their signature (website address, phone number, social media links, or disclaimers).
- Reply all – To respect others’ time and inbox capacity, limit replies to those who need to know the information being conveyed.
- Forwarding – It’s probably best not to forward without permission, or at least to review all content that will be forwarded to avoid sending sensitive information. Do not alter others’ text.
- Capitalization – Avoid using ALL CAPS in email communications.
- Turnaround/ Response – Employees are expected to respond to emails both internally and externally within a reasonable timeframe.
Quality of Work and Life
We understand the needs to strike a balance in the quality of work and personal life. Should you are on vacation, email users are required to set vacation notices and forwarding rules (if needed) to ensure that incoming emails are extended to your colleagues and that the senders are informed of your away from work.
Consequences of Non-Compliance
Employees should know the consequences of breaching the email policy will result to disciplinary action up to and including termination. Non-employed email users that have breached the email policy will have their access to their email accounts terminated immediately.
This email policy is readily available to all email users and shall remain public on the company website. By using the company emails, all users are considered to have acknowledged that they have reviewed and understand the rules and expectations.