Computers and IT Law

IT Law and Business

IT Law and Business

By law every business is responsible for any software installed it uses on its IT infrastructure including Servers, desktops and laptops . It must validly licensed for the office operating system, bespoke software, and games and downloaded material. Failure to comply can result in criminal prosecution and/or civil law suits for for injunctions, damages, profits (where software is sold illegally). A court order can be sought can order for entry and search of business premises and seizure of equipment containing the illegal software. Irrespective of the risks at law, typically the licenses are reviewed as part of the process of company sale in due diligence.

Every business should also have a properly drafted Internet and Email Acceptable Usage Policy (AUP) for the workplace. Without such a policy in place any business will face considerable difficulty in conducting a disciplinary process with any employee who is abusing the office IT framework or found to be engaged in appropriate use of the internet or emails.

The issues that can typically arise in any workplace include the following:

  • The use or abuse of social media and/or email and employee downtime
  • Employees viewing, downloading or sharing inappropriate content or material internally or online
  • The risk to sensitive business material being copied and shared e.g. customer email lists
  • The use of the company IT infrastructure for workplace bullying or harassment

In addition staff monitoring is becoming both more relevant and topical for business. Businesses can incorporate a policy for monitoring staff usage of the internet and business emails in the employment contract or via the workplace AUP. If a business is involved in the development of software or places sensitive business or technical information on a network otherwise open to employees, monitoring becomes critical. Any such monitoring policy however must be compliant with Data Privacy laws which state that the level of monitoring must be proportionate to the interest being protected. Care must be taken to ensure it is both valid and enforceable.

We are connected to the leading employment and IT lawyers in Ireland. They act, advise, draft and implement Acceptable Usage polices for all types and size of business in Ireland. They can discuss the implications of IT law on business generally. Thye wil address the rights of employees and Data Protection issues. If your business needs to implement, refine or update its IT polices or employment contracts, or needs general advice on IT matters contact us today and we will be happy to connect you with one of specialist members.

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