Develop an e-mail usage policy

What should go into an e-mail usage policy.

If you're concerned about the way e-mail is handled by your employees, listen up. Implementing message filtering

can prevent some of your problems, but you should also make sure that your employees are aware of your company's views on the proper usage of e-mail. This tip looks at some points you should cover when implementing an e-mail usage policy. You cannot enforce all the provisions mentioned here, but it's a good idea to make sure users are aware, and remind them periodically of the requirements of this policy.

  • Users tend to attach their custom design signatures that include fancy fonts to outgoing messages. Signatures should conform to specific guidelines, and can include proper job titles and phone contact numbers.

  • All outgoing e-mail messages should consist of an e-mail disclaimer notice.

  • Users should ensure that messages are addressed to the appropriate recipient. If the mail is sent to a recipient in error you have limited time to recall the message since the recipient would have already read the mail.

  • Users must avoid subscribing to user lists that do not pertain to their job.

  • PST files, if used, should be password-protected. But forgotten passwords can prevent access to messages.

  • If your organization has an all-staff distribution list, assign only selected users it.

  • Most administrators set an e-mail retention policy of 3 days, depending on the number of mailboxes in use. Make sure your users are aware of this.

Adesh Rampat has 10 years experience with network and IT administration. He is a member of the Association Of Internet Professionals, the Institute For Network Professionals, and the International Webmasters Association. He has also lectured extensively on a variety of topics.


This was first published in March 2003

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