Electronic Filing

April 18, 2012
We all hate admin tasks, they are boring and take up our valuable time. And filing is as tedious as it gets, so what's the point? Well, there are several reasons to have a good filing system;
1. To reduce the time spent searching for key information
2. To meet data protection obligations to destroy sensitive information when it is no longer required 
3. To meet legislative obligations to keep certain records for a specific period of time
4. To ensure confidential information is stored securely

A good filing system doesn't have to be complex and can handle both electronic and paper records. It is possible to build a simple file plan using the standard computer file system to create a hierarchy of folders, and a spreadsheet such as Microsoft Excel to create an index to them. For more complex requirements a commercial electronic document and records management systems (EDRMS) can be purchased, although these can be expensive.

The important thing is to file your documents as and when you receive or create them. If you leave the filing until you have more time the chances are it will never get done. Murphy's Law will ensure that the time you can't find the documents you want and regret not filing them properly will also be the time you are busiest. 

Keeping Safe on the Internet

April 10, 2012
The internet is a very useful tool, and it has changed the way we work and play. However there are a plethora of risks which are not necessarily obvious to non-IT people. Technology has a big part to play in keeping secure but one of the biggest risks is a good old-fashioned con. Why go to the trouble of hacking into someone's on-line account when you can trick them into giving you their login details? Below are a few tips;

1. Make passwords complex (mixed case letters and numbers), and don't ...
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Can IT Really Save Time?

April 4, 2012
Often we do things in a certain way, just because we've always done it that way, or we were taught to do it that way. But over time things change and there may well be a better, and this often means a quicker way. This applies just as much to computers, particularly the software, which evolves rapidly by changing existing functions and adding new ones. The current version of Microsoft Word is very different to that of 10 years ago and offers a great deal more features, but most people only wa...
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Information is an Asset

March 28, 2012
Most organisations have at least three primary resources - money, people and information. I have always found it strange that people accept the procedures and controls imposed on the first two, but typically resist any attempt to implement similar processes for information management and security. And quoting good practice or horror stories rarely changes their minds.

IT consists of two words - 'information' and 'technology', and I think there is too much emphasis on the latter, at the expense...
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What's Green IT?

March 21, 2012
We read a lot in the press about global warming and the increasing amount of energy we use. Did you know that the proportion of the total energy we consume which is used to power IT is increasing too? Yet IT has the capability to reduce energy consumption, and one obvious way is by reducing travel. Most of us have access to cheap broadband and there are many low cost or free ways to do audio and video-conferencing over the internet. Obviously we want to see our family and friends in person bu...
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Why Have a Disaster Recovery Plan?

March 15, 2012
I'm surprised how many small businesses don't backup their data, let alone have some sort of disaster recovery plan in place. A disaster can range from a PC failure to total destruction of your office and all it's contents. Statistically small businesses have shallow pockets and are the most likely to fail in the event of a disaster.

As we all become more reliant on IT and the internet how long can your business survive without access to electronic data and systems? How could you keep the busi...
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Why Is IT Difficult?

March 9, 2012
Modern cars are complicated yet reliable so why are computers difficult to use and unreliable? Part of the problem is that IT is a young profession compared with engineering - cars used to break down. Nowadays all cars have the same human interface (steering wheel, pedals etc.) but there is no accepted standard for computers. However I think inadequate skills are a significant issue too. We learn to drive and have to pass a test, if we didn't we would probably crash. Yet most people expect to...
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Internet Backups

March 6, 2012
There is no doubt that the internet has changed the way we do business and conduct our personal lives. However it also introduces new risks and is not necessarily  a solution for all our problems. Backups are sometimes overlooked, but are an extremely important aspect of IT. Backing up your data to the 'cloud' (ie the internet) offers some advantages, but there are some potential issues to consider. For example how reliable is your internet connection and long would it take to restore all you...
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The UK Data Protection Act

March 3, 2012
I'm amazed how many small businesses in the UK are unaware that the Data Protection Act requires them to register with the Information Commissioner even if the only personal data they hold is 'public domain', for example name, phone number and email. You are only exempt if you trade solely business to business (B2B), and even then if any contacts are sole traders or partnerships you need to register. For tier 1 organisations it can be done online in 30 minutes and costs only £35.
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Making IT Work for You

Jon Veal of U Do IT Computer Services In this blog I aim to share my thoughts on some the issues which surround computers and electronic data - such as IT productivity, effective use, the internet, backups, disaster recovery, information security and data protection.

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