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Abstract -- Internet Usage Guidelines in a Commercial Setting Users Track
U4: Enterprise Networking

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Internet Usage Guidelines in a Commercial Setting

Trio, Nicholas ( nrt@watson.ibm.com)
Patrick, John ( jrp@vnet.ibm.com)


Many companies are now looking to the Internet as a mode of communicating with their customers, partners and the public as well as a channel for commercial activity. However, the Internet is also a very new arena for many of these people who have never had open access as they find themselves gaining with the Internet.

At the same time, companies and individuals have developed less than positive reputations in the public eye based on how they interacted with the Internet community.

The issue of how a company interacts with the Internet is a many-faceted one, since it deals with cultural differences (since the Internet is not a traditional business-communication tool), public relations aspects (which affects how the company is perceived within the Internet community) and issues that may change the basic way a company uses its resources (e.g. the issue of personal use by employees of the Internet from work).

This paper will discuss issues that relate to how a company decides how it communicates with the Internet, and the formation of a set of Internet Usage Guidelines. By relating the experience at IBM on how we formed our Internet Usage Guidelines, we hope to provide insight on various issues such as who to get involved in putting together this policy, balancing the needs of the business with the Intenret culture, and how to use the policy as a tool to educate the company on how to work with the Internet and provide a positive presence for the company.

We will explain the history and process that we undertook here as well as presenting our guidelines as a reference point to help others as they undertake this same type of mission. Of course, no single policy will fit every company, but we hope that our experience will help others within their organizations and within the Internet.