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Learn about technology essentials

What's an acceptable use policy?

Acceptable use policies outline what employees can and can't do when using IT equipment or accessing the internet.

It should be easy to understand and clear for employees to follow. It’s common for businesses to have employees sign an acceptable use policy before getting access to the internet or company network.

An acceptable use policy should address issues, including:

  • personal safety
  • illegal activities
  • system security
  • access to inappropriate materials

Create your own acceptable use policy

Netsafe has an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) that can you can customise to your needs. See the Netsafe AUP

Or you can use our template: Download the template

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is when a staff member brings a device of their choice into the workplace. This could be a laptop, tablet or phone.

Benefits of BYOD

BYOD schemes have many benefits, including:

  • Employees have the ability to choose the device that'll work best for them
  • Employers can avoid the up-front capital investment of buying devices for employees

For these reasons, BYOD schemes are becoming popular in businesses, schools and other organisations.

Many employees see using their own device as a benefit. For people looking for a new job, a BYOD scheme can make your company stand out. After all, a business wants to attract the best people possible. Does it matter which device your employees use to access company information?

Before launching a BYOD scheme, consider the following factors:

  • The minimum system requirements for devices in the BYOD scheme
  • Cyber and data security: What new systems, protocols and/or policies will need to be implemented?
  • Communicating the scheme to current employees: Will you run compulsory training to ensure that employees understand any new systems, protocols and policies?
  • The timeline for implementing the scheme

It's also common for organisations to reimburse individuals who are part of a BYOD scheme. You'll need to answer some questions while drafting your scheme:

  • whether you'll reimburse your employees
  • how much
  • who would be eligible

For a BYOD scheme to work, you should create a BYOD policy. This ensures that everyone knows the process and expectations. Write the policy before implementing a scheme. Then, give it to you staff as part of your consultation process.

What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing is the use of remote servers over the internet to store and manage data, rather than using your own computers or network. Using applications and storing information in the cloud makes your information accessible online anytime from any device.

Why are businesses moving to the cloud?

Cloud-based software is one of the most secure ways to store information. In the event of a natural disaster, your productivity doesn't need to be affected. As long as you have access to the internet, you're back up and running!

The key reasons that businesses cite for moving to the cloud include:

  • They lack skills to manage an IT system in-house
  • The cost of procuring and maintaining IT hardware is prohibitive
  • Cloud systems offer cost advantages
  • They want to improve the security of their data or improve disaster recovery plans
  • They want to easily share and collaborate with other businesses and individuals

PC World have written an article with information on the pros, the cons and some tips for moving to the cloud. Read "Should you move your small business to the cloud?"

Can I move all my IT services to the cloud?

The short answer is yes but it’s important to only use leading cloud service providers and the best of systems. It's also important to consider integration when using multiple cloud solutions.

Is the cloud secure?

The cloud is generally more secure than anything most organisations could achieve internally. Leading cloud providers spend millions of dollars and use teams of IT security experts to ensure their systems have world-class security.

Is the cloud overhyped?

We’re often asked whether the cloud is just another fad. Won’t technology change again in a couple of years? Won’t companies have to rip it all out and start again with the next new thing? The cloud is a significant generational shift which will impact organisations for years to come.

Where would my data be stored?

This depends on which provider you use. Depending on your provider and where you live you may find your data is stored in a different country.

Data sovereignty is the concept that digital data is subject to the laws or legal jurisdiction of the country in which it's stored. This can be a complicated topic. To learn more, read Data security and sovereignty

We also suggest you investigate what your local government recommends. New Zealand's Office of the Privacy Commissioner has produced a useful guideline: Data privacy guidelines

I'm in control of my systems now. Wouldn't I lose that control if I move to the cloud?

Does the inability to touch your systems mean you have more control or less?

We often find as systems are migrated to the cloud that organisations discover a new sense of control, one that enables them to change and react faster than in the past. Data can be accessed from any device, as long as you have internet access.

There are many reasons to invest in IT training for staff. The right training leads to operational efficiency. Also, well-trained employees are better-equipped to use technology within the workplace.

The key is to develop a training plan that defines the skills required by the roles within your business. One you know what training each role requires, identify suitable training courses. Make sure you keep this plan updated as you implement new technology or services within your company and as staff and their skills change.

How to develop an IT training plan

When developing a training plan, consider these points:

1. Needs assessment

A needs assessment looks at the following:

  • The skills required for the role
  • The skills the employee currently has
  • The skills and knowledge the employee needs to gain, that is, the knowledge gap

A needs assessment ensures there is a need for training or professional development. Make the opportunity you are pursuing, or the problem you are solving is a training issue. Also consider what type of training will work best. One-on-one coaching, completing an online course or attending a formal course?

2. Context

It's important to communicate the context of the training or skills enhancement. Make sure your employees understand the link between the training and their job. There's no point sending an employee on a course which covers Excel charts if they can't see the relevance to their data. The impact of the training will go further if the employee understands the link between the training and their ability to contribute to the business plan and goals.

It's important to provide rewards and recognition for successful completion and application of the training. People appreciate completion certificates, for instance. Consider listing employee names and completed training sessions in the company newsletter.

3. Time

It's important to recognise that training takes time. This isn't only while the employee is receiving training, but also when they're applying their learning in the workplace. It takes time to convert their new knowledge into a skill that'll help your organisation. For example, learning about Excel charts in a controlled environment with supplied data is different to creating a chart based on company data. It may take time for the employee to work out how to clean up the data and put it into the right format.

4. Continuous process

Review training requirements and provide training or professional development opportunities regularly. Training isn't a one-off event. It's worthwhile to complete the process every year, or when you change your business processes or technology.

SEO covers a range of strategies and techniques to get higher rankings in search results. Search engines like Google analyse websites to determine search ranking.

Why use SEO?

SEO is like sending out invitations to view your website. Without the invitation, no one will know to come to your site. Users searching for a business online will often only look through the first few links on the results page. Aim to have your business pages appear in search results with relevant keywords.

How to improve your SEO

  • Include key words and phrases that people might search for when trying to find a business like yours
  • Update your website often with new content. This way, the search engine's bots will index your site more often. You can post recent customer testimonials or blog posts.

Benefits of online recruitment

Employers can post a job ad in as little as 10 minutes on an online job site, increasing speed to market. The ad will remain visible for a specified time and the business may start receiving applications right away. In contrast, a newspaper ad may take a week to appear from when it was requested and will only appear on one day.

The costs are usually much less to advertise on an online job site than in a newspaper. You can also update your ad at anytime - even it you have already published it. You can usually also include your logo, links to your website and other elements to make the ad more engaging. It'll also make your organisation more appealing to potential candidates. Just note that these extra features may increase the cost of your online ad.

Some online recruitment tools also enable employers to complete tasks such as:

  • screening candidates
  • managing contacts and workflows
  • conducting online assessments
  • interviewing candidates online

Again, these features usually come with an extra fee.

Online job boards

Online job boards are the most popular of the online recruitment tools, especially for small to medium sized businesses. Up to 95% of job seekers use online job search tools, such as SEEK and Trade Me Jobs.

Using these tools, candidates can set up specific search criteria like industry, location, salary and more. They can also choose to receive notifications about jobs that meet their criteria. Posting a job advertisement with strong keywords is a great way to get found by suitable candidates.

For more options, Careers NZ provides a list of job vacancy and recruitment websites. Go to Careers NZ

Try social media

Don't overlook using your website and social media channels when recruiting new talent. Create a page on your website dedicated to recruitment.

If you have time, do more than just post the job specifications or description. Think about how you can pitch your organisation to potential candidates:

  • What are the benefits of working for your organisation?
  • What do you offer that others don't?
  • What are your organisational culture and values?

Consider using testimonials, case studies or video interviews of existing staff who love working at your organisation.

Whether you have a recruitment page on your website, make sure to let your social media networks know about any vacancies. Ask them to share it with anyone they think might be interested. Who better than the people who follow and like your organisation to help you get the word out to potential candidates?

And as with any social media post, keep the tone conversational. Think about the actions you want people to take when they see it:

  • Share the post
  • Download the job description
  • Contact you to discuss the position
  • Visit a recruitment page on your website

Use LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a well-established professional networking and recruitment tool. Besides its international presence, it's also strong in New Zealand. LinkedIn is an excellent channel for notifying people of a vacancy. Here are some quick tips for using LinkedIn to recruit:

  • Post a job ad on LinkedIn if you want to target people based on specific criteria (for a fee)
  • Post the key details with a link to more information to reach your existing followers (free)
  • When writing a job description, think about headlines that'll appeal to the type of applicants you want
  • Like or share the post yourself, then ask your employees to do the same