IT Policies and Procedures

January 1, 2004

This book is based on a great deal of hard-won experience. It was originally published in 1997 but has recently been updated.

The Executive Editor is David Norfolk, who has had a lifetime of dealing with large-scale commercial IT systems. The Legal Editor is the well known author Robert Bond, Head of Technology Law at Faegre Benson Hobson Audley LLP in London.

Most of the major headaches with which an IT manager must deal are covered in this book. It has chapters on Strategic IS planning, IT Quality, Project Management, Purchasing, Outsourcing, Development Processes, Security, Health and Safety, Legislative Compliance and IT Support.

The book lives up to its title. At the start of each chapter it explains how to establish a policy in a particular area and provides an example. It then describes how to establish appropriate procedures. Each chapter ends with sources of further information.

As an example of how practical this book is, the chapter on purchasing lists the disadvantages of purchasing from the best of breed (it can be both expensive and lead to compatibility problems). It goes on to criticise the policy of purchasing at the lowest cost, which it describes as short-sighted and high risk. Price is important but it is only one of a number of considerations in any IT purchase.

Furthermore, the chapter on security is sceptical about the value of disclaimers in e-mails, acknowledging that they have “become fashionable” but their “legal weight.. is uncertain”. It points out that, rather than waste bandwidth on disclaimers, a cheaper alternative would be to give all staff training in security awareness.

Slightly surprisingly, there is no computer use policy for staff or contractors in the book, although there is a short Internet use policy.

Because of its useful practical guidance it is likely to appeal to the less experienced IT manager and also IT lawyers who have yet to get broad experience of the IT industry. The book is published by Thomson/Gee under ISBN 085258 972 7 and is loose-leaf. At £350 it is not cheap but, if its purchase prevents one IT mistake (and, heaven knows, there are enough of those around), it will be worth it.

Jeremy Holt is a partner at Clark Holt, Commercial Solicitors (