An Acceptable Usage Policy (AUP) is a document or specification that lays down rules of acceptable behaviour that must be applied when operating computers and accessing the internet within a business or organization. Generally an AUP applies when the organization has global rules for operation of IT equipment by employees, students, etc. Schools and companies usually create AUP's for use between employees, students, parents and teachers.

Families can also create AUP's, or family "contracts", for family members to abide by while at home. These most often take the form of a written document that is then to be signed by all of the relevant participants. Adherence to the AUP is usually mandatory but occasionally can just be used as a set of guidelines for users to steer their behavior in the right direction.

When generating an AUP, it is essential to take into account all aspects and viewpoints. This includes the rights of management and users, as well as general and specific rules and responsibilities relating to acceptable computer usage. An AUP must be seen to contain rules and regulations that are both achievable and enforceable.