A company confidentiality policy is designed to explain how employees are expected to treat confidential information. Workers will unavoidably handle and obtain private and personal information about the company, partners, and stakeholders. During the process of software development, the client may sign an agreement with the developer requiring a high level of confidentiality. In an organization, both the employer and the employee should make an agreement where the employee is required to maintain loyalty and integrity in the workplace to ensure the company’s detail and information remain confidential. The work done by the employee as well as the products of the company are managed by the employer who has all the rights over them. Any form of misconduct such as unaccepted access of the organization’s data and sharing of the company’s information is always unacceptable. Moreover, any form of misconduct will invite the law to take its course. On the other hand, organizations committed to protecting its workers as well as all the stakeholders from any harm. Confidential information entails information in forms such as electronic data, or written documents (Richards & Solove, 2007).
Purpose of the Policy
Policies are meant to streamline the processes and activities of a company, and they are often affected by the industry in which they operate. Although policies differ regarding the industry, they are meant for, and some elements are usually common across the policies of all industries especially in ethics and compliance policy. The main purpose of this policy is to ensure that the confidentiality and the privacy of the company’s information are maintained to the latter. The policy encourages good behavior and commitment from the employee’s side for the reason of developing a culture of trust and openness. The policy will also guide conducts of workers and ensure all employees behave following the ethical codes of the company. The confidential information must be well protected for two main reasons. First, the confidential information may be legally binding such as a sensitive customer data. Moreover, the confidential information may constitute the backbone of the company’s business that gives the organization a competitive advantage such as the business processes (Lomer, 2013).
The Scope of the Policy
The policy affects volunteers, contractors, investors, board members, and all employees who may access the confidential information. The scope of the policy includes sharing the organization’s confidential information only to authorized persons or in case of a court order and maintain the privacy of all stakeholders. The policy also covers compliance with all legal regulations and rules as well as the promotion of fair dealing practices. Creation of a workplace that is free from harassment is also an element covered in the policy. Other areas within the scope of the policy include efficient and timely delivery of products to customers and accountability towards all deliveries. Finally, the policy is also supposed to provide an equal opportunity for all employees (Richards & Solove, 2007).
Policy Procedure to follow
Proprietary and confidential information is easily replicated, valuable, and secrete. Stakeholders must maintain and secure the company’s confidential information. The confidential information of an IT-related organization includes source codes, design diagram, roadmaps, software architectures, project plans, and business and marketing plans. Other confidential information includes future acquisitions, customer’s data, technical information, and financial plans. The company’s confidential information must be disclosed to authorized persons only. Therefore, employees have the responsibility of safeguarding information and other business documents.
Maintaining Ethical Practice
Ethics are moral principles that regulate an individual’s behavior. These morals are influenced by religious values, cultural practices, and social norms. The company requires that all stakeholders maintain loyalty and integrity and make sound decisions to ensure the welfare and safety of workers. Ethical practice will help in the creation of an efficient harmonious, professional, and productive work environment within the organization. Managers are responsible for implementing changes to a company’s ethical codes. Several organizations ethics and compliance programs to reinforce and demonstrate their commitment to ethical practices. Companies implement ethics and compliance programs to assist in guiding the behavior and decision making of employees.
Better Relations with Customers
An organization should encourage a true relationship between workers and the customers. For instance, the software engineers must act in a way that serves better the interests of their employer and clients (Gotterbarn, Miller & Rogerson, 2014). The company expects a strong collaborative atmosphere, active involvement of every stakeholder to enhance project development and timely delivery of the product to the customer. A successful project can only be developed in an organizational environment that is dynamic. The manager of the firm should meet stakeholder requirements by paying attention to the contemporary business needs. The company should encourage the habit of feedback from the customer for every product delivered. The software development code of conduct should be adhered to by all employees, and in case of violation, then the issue should be handled properly.
A company should sanction the stakeholders and employees to adhere to the policy strictly. An organization should have a compliance monitor department to check the policy violation cases in various ways such as analyzing the changes in conduct among workers, feedback, and external and internal audits. An organization can also store and lock confidential information inform of paper documents. The company can also safeguard databases and encrypt electronic information. Moreover, employees can be asked to sign non-disclosure agreements, or they may ask for permission from the project manager to allow them to access some confidential information (Gotterbarn, Miller & Rogerson, 2014).
Private and confidential information may sometimes have to be disclosed for legitimate reasons. For instance, a regulatory institution may request the confidential information as part of the audit or investigation. Furthermore, the organization may want to venture or partner with other companies that require sharing some information. In these incidents, employees involved should gather all authorizations and document their disclosure.
The organizational policy prohibits unauthorized sharing of a company’s confidential information. Violating this code of conduct will be considered as a compliance issue and will lead to legal penalties. Furthermore, violation of this policy by a group or an individual will result in disciplinary actions according to the law (Lomer, 2013). Compliance with the organization’s policies and the regulatory requirements are an important component of effective risk management. Maintaining and monitoring compliance is one of the vital ways for a company to promote its values, and maintain its ethical health. Compliance and ethics program promotes an organization’s business objectives. Once an ethical issue is detected, the compliance team should be prepared to respond appropriately and quickly to reduce the effect on the organization. Therefore, the presence of ethics and compliance programs indicates a company’s commitment to developing a corporate culture and work environment that values doing the right thing.
Gotterbarn, D., Miller, K., & Rogerson, S. (2014). Software Engineering Code of Ethics and Professional Practice. Retrieved from http://www.acm.org/about/se-code
Lomer, D. (2013). How to Write and Enforce Your Ethics and Compliance Policy. Retrieved November 5, 2014, from http://i-sight.com/compliance/how-to-write-and- enforce-your-ethics-and-compliance-policy/
Richards, N. M., & Solove, D. J. (2007). Privacy’s other path: recovering the law of confidentiality. Geo. LJ, 96, 123.
SANS. Information Security Policy Templates. Internet source https://www.sans.org/security-resources/policies/general#ethics-policy