You are in the onboarding process with a new employer. Your new manager has asked you to review and sign a document that outlines how you can use their IT systems and what types of uses are not permitted. What type of policy document is this?
An Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) will outline how users can use an IT system or group of IT systems. They are generally used by businesses and organisations to ensure users are aware of what actions are acceptable and what actions could warrant administrative actions. For example an acceptable use policy could state that pirating movies using company resources is not permitted.
An acceptable use policy (AUP), acceptable usage policy or fair use policy is a set of rules applied by the owner, creator or administrator of a computer network website, or service. That restricts the ways in which the network, website or system may be used and sets guidelines as to how it should be used. AUP documents are written for corporations, businesses, universities, schools, internet service providers (ISPs), and website owners, often to reduce the potential for legal action that may be taken by a user, and often with little prospect of enforcement.
Acceptable use policies are an integral part of the framework of information security policies; it is often common practice to ask new members of an organization to sign an AUP before they are given access to its information systems. For this reason, an AUP must be concise and clear. While at the same time covering the most important points about what users are, and are not allowed to do with the IT systems of an organization, it should refer users to the more comprehensive security policy where relevant. It should also, and very notably define what sanctions will be applied if a user breaks the AUP. Compliance with this policy should as usual, be measured by regular audits.
In some cases a fair usage policy applied to a service allowing nominally unlimited use for a fixed fee simply sets a cap on what may be used. Intended to allow normal usage but, prevent what is considered excessive. For