Organizational Software Use Policies

Organizational Software Use Policies

Alex Ozoemelem Obuh (Delta State University, Nigeria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-847-0.ch034


This chapter discusses organizational software use policies. Specifically it gives the meaning of software use policy, software use policy components bothering on; general statement of policy, user education, budgeting and acquisition of software, registration, installation, storage and documentation of software, record keeping, software use, internet and shareware use, software audit and use survey, employee/user duty to report underlicensing, disciplinary measures on defaulters, corporate handling of employee questions regarding an organization’s software, need for software use policy in an organization, organizational software use policy formulation process, qualities of a software use policy, policy education and enforcement, problems of software use policy as well as future trends in organizational software use policy.
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At this point it is pertinent to define the following the terms ‘policy’, ‘software’ and ‘software policy’. A policy is a deliberate plan of action to guide decisions and achieve rational outcome(s) (Adomi, 2008). Policy helps to define what is considered valuable, and specifies what steps should be taken to safeguard those assets (Gafinkel & Spafford 1996). Policy is defined as the set of laws, rules, practices, norms, and fashions that regulate how an organization manages, protects, and distributes sensitive information, and that regulates how an organization protects system services. (Longley & Shain, 1990; DoDCSEC 1985). The term policy may apply to individuals, government, private sector organizations and groups. Presidential executive orders, corporate privacy policies, and parliamentary rules of order are all examples of policy. Policy differs from rules or law. While law can compel or prohibit behaviors (e.g. a law requiring the payment of taxes on income) policy merely guides actions toward those that are most likely to achieve a desired outcome Longley & Shain, 1990; DoDCSEC 1985; Dijker, 1996).

Policy may also refer to the process of making important organizational decisions, including the identification of different alternatives such as programs or spending priorities, and choosing among them on the basis of the impact they will have. Policies can be understood as political, management, financial, and administrative mechanisms arranged to reach explicit goals (Gafinkel & Spafford 1996). Access to a system may be granted only if the appropriate clearances are presented. Policy defines the clearance levels that are needed by system subjects to access objects (DoDISPR, 1982). In an access control model, policy specifies the access rules for an access control framework (Kao & Chow, 1995).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Software: A set of instructions that cause a computer to perform one or more tasks.

Patent: A legal document issued by the government in response to a formal application process in which the inventor or originator of a product or process is granted the exclusive right to manufacture, use, and sell it for a designated period of time.

Copyright: The exclusive legal rights granted by a government to an author,editor,compiler, composer, playwright, publisher, or distributor to publish, produce, sell, or distribute copies of their work, within certain limitations.

Trademark: A symbol used in connection with a product or service to signify the identity of the owner that has reserved to itself the use of the distinctive mark by registering it with government Patent and Trademark Office.

Organization: A structure of roles and responsibilities functioning to accomplish predetermined objectives.

Open-Source Software(OSS): Software that can be run, distributed and modified without a fee.

Intellectual Property (IP): Tangible products of the human mind and intelligence entitled to the legal status of personal property, especially works protected by copyright, inventions that have been patented and registered trademarks.

Piracy: The systematic unauthorized reproduction or use, without permission and recompense, of a work protected by copyright law.

Policy: A policy is a deliberate plan of action to guide decisions and achieve rational outcome(s).

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