Policies and Procedures for Online Businesses

Understanding the online business world can help you build value for your business. From the founding of your company, and every day thereafter, you should be thinking about maintaining a presence online and building relationships that will be of value. Each move you make can make your company more or less valuable. This advice applies to both local businesses and those wishing to operate in the global market.

Advancements in technology have effectively removed the borders and barriers to global commerce. Nonetheless, to compete effectively you need to leverage new social media, perceive and manage your risks, and act decisively and confidently in legal matters. To do this, you should have a trusted legal team and other advisors to help adapt and protect your business.

The legal issues affecting online business are significant, and can include federal, state, and local taxation, corporate and securities law, liability insurance, copyrights, and trademarks. Keeping your legal affairs in order can help save the high costs of future litigation. By implementing policies and procedures designed to protect your property rights and information, you will be one step ahead of those that do not. Good practice would include implementing the following:

1) Implementing a process to copyright or trademark your business and its work

2) Verify appropriate use of copyright, trademark, and patents.

3) Plan and document network security measures for Internet and mobile systems. Engage consultants to test system vulnerabilities.

4) Perform regular backups of computer data

5) Establish a database system containing every customer, and others with whom you have a commercial relationship with.

6) Establish controls on who is able to access certain sensitive information

7) Maintain employee confidentiality and noncompetition agreements

8) Maintain and monitor employee activity on social networking sites to avoid defamation lawsuits

9) Monitor and review website content for compliance

10) Audit of companies policies and procedures regarding computer use once a year

By protecting your companies identity online you will feel better prepared to compete and better capable of developing strategies that protect the value of your company. Since technology changes very rapidly, these policies may have to be reevaluated and updated every year. Once these policies are in place every employee of your business should be trained and understand these policies. In addition, those in charge of training should be familiar with new technology and updates to existing equipment. It is an ongoing process that, when implemented effectively, can make or break your business.

Aaron M. Kelly is an attorney based in Scottsdale, AZ who focuses on Internet Law, Business Law, and Bankruptcy. Aaron is an experienced Internet Lawyer and he regularly speaks on topics involving Internet law.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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