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Email is the electronic equivalent of a postcard. Because of this, it requires special policy considerations. From archiving to content guidelines, organizations have a lot to consider when writing email policies.

  1. Rules for using email:

    • Policies should be written to promote the responsible use of email that supports the organization's goals and business requirements.

    • Some of the items that should be included in the policy concern courtesy, content, general usage, and compliance with the policy.

  2. Administration of email:

    • Policies describing the administration of email discuss the actions the organization will follow in the management of the email system.

    • Administrative policies should establish the right to scan messages passing through the email system. This scanning can be for viruses or content. Regardless of the scanning type, there should be a policy in place that says the organization is doing this.

    • Email policies might include mechanisms to limit the size of messages to prevent the overloading of servers and network bandwidth.

    • To mitigate other problems, the organization might want to include a policy that allows them to use proxies, gateways, and other means to aid in the transmission of messages. These policies should not imply that messages are being filtered or retained.

    • If email messages are archived, there should be a policy that outlines the basics for how this will work. This policy also should define retention periods and potential exceptions to the policy.

  3. Use of email for confidential communication:

    • Policies for sending confidential communication include provision for encrypting the data before transmission and signing them with digital signatures.

    • Encryption policies are really not the scope of email policies. Thus the policy statements should refer the user to the organization's encryption policy for that information.

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