Personnel Featured

10:09am EDT July 22, 2002

Planning to avoid an Internet disaster

By Dustin S. Klein

Directors at the American Red Cross weren't expecting trouble when they installed Internet access at the Cleveland office, but when you preach preparedness for a living it's only smart to take your own advice.

So it came as no surprise to employees late last year when the nonprofit organization developed rules about surfing the Net. "There weren't any abuses," says Suzanne Seifert, director of human resources. "We just wanted to be proactive."

Simply put, the policies dictate that users should be good Net citizens and not act in a way that could besmirch the organization's reputation. Included in the policies are restrictions against:

  • dissemination of obscene, harassing or fraudulent information;

  • participation in activities that would damage the agency's image;

  • deliberate infection of the system through virus downloads; and

  • use of the Internet to acquire contacts for personal financial gain.

Says Seifert, "We certainly have an interest in making sure that people use the Internet because the Red Cross is so spread out. It's one way to communicate and share ideas. But we're also interested that they use it in a way that's consistent with the Red Cross' image."