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Archive for September 2010

Acceptable Use Policy

If you are monitoring employee activity, typically this is monitoring web traffic patterns and sometimes email content, then in the UK at least, you are legally obligated to notify people that you are doing this.

Web Traffic Filtering and Monitoring – Acceptable Use Policy

Some businesses monitor their employees use of the Internet, whilst they are at work. Most businesses will have an Acceptable Use Policy – AUP, (An example of an Acceptable Use Policy is available from Business Link). These policies will normally form part of your Company Handbook and as such are something that your employees agree to when they recieve their copy of the policy.

Other businesses simply filter web traffic, to remove offensive sites or to block Social Networking sites, like Facebook, Twitter, Bebo etc.  In this case the business are not monitoring who is attempting to access the sites they are simply blocking access. Others will allow access to Social Networking sites during lunch times or for a number of hours a week. Either way you should know what the policy of the company is and whether they are monitoring your activity.

Email Traffic – Monitoring

If your business monitors the content of email traffic, perhaps as part of a Data Leak Prevention (DLP)  Policy then you need to notify the people you are sending email to that you are monitoring the email traffic. This notification normally forms part of the email disclaimer  that business put in the footer of their email. If you are monitoring the content of email you also need to inform your employees. This doesnt mean that you are reading their emails you might have a profanity checker, or application checking for Credit-Card numbers etc. 

Acceptable Use Policy

If you don’t have an Acceptable Use Policy – AUP, for Internet access then I suggest that you contact HR Management Support for a discussion.

ComputerSpot goes MobileComputerSpot Have Gone Mobile

Following on from feedback from followers to make it simpler to follow ComputerSpot when you are out and about. We have now implemented the WordPress Mobile Pack, so that you can more easily follow us on your mobile phone.

Making sure that our Blog is optimised for mobile users allows people to follow the regular updates whilst they are working and traveling.

Implementing the WordPress Mobile Pack couldn’t have been simpler and has increased our audience and following.

ComputerSpot Mobile Site

If you go to www.computerspot.co.uk on your mobile phone browser we, should, automatically pick identify the phone and present our mobile optimised site. This will reduce the bandwidth requirements and make the site simpler to view on a mobile based browser.

If you want to see what this looks like, on your desktop browser, you can click the ‘Switch to our mobile site‘ link in the lower left hand corner of the desktop website.

View ComputerSpot on your Mobile

If you want to view the full website on your phone you can click on the Switch to our desktop site link and the bottom of the mobile site and the full version will be displayed.

Should you have any problems viewing the ComputerSpot site on your mobile phone leave a comment and let us know.

Why create an email archive?

There are a variety of different reasons why your business should have an email archive. These include:-

  • Legal Compliance
  • Performance improvement
  • Protection of Your Intellectual Property
  • Business Continuity

In general all of the above come down to getting a copy of your email into a secure location as quickly as possible after it is received, or sent.

Options for creating your email archive

There are different ways that your email archive can be created. These either involve you:

  • Installing email archive software on a server in your office
  • Using a hosted email archive provider

Local Email Archive

A local email archive will generally involve having an additional server, somewhere in the infrastructure. This server host the archive to ensure that data cannot be ‘lost’ by people deleting emails.

Your local archive should be on a separate server to your email server, ideally it should also be in a separate physical location.  So for Small Business this isn’t a realistic option, the capital expense of a second server just to hold your archive would not normally be acceptable.

Hosted Email Archive

I would recommend that you use a hosted email archive. A hosted archive is a very cost effective solution as, most of the email archive providers, don’t require any upfront investment. You will get a highly performant email archive, you don’t need to worry about having to backup the email archive, you also don’t have to worry about scalability.

There are lots of options for  Hosted email archive companies, but don’t forget that you are entrusting them with your information so don’t just choose the cheapest. The 2 options I would recommend are:-

If you want information about either of these please contact me via the SystemAssure website. Both Webroot and Microsoft offer free trials of their archive solutions and we can help you set these up and evaluate the best email archive product for your business.

Provance IT Asset Management for Service Manager

IT Asset Management Pack for Microsoft System Center Service Manager 2010

Provance have recently announced version 1.1 of their successful IT Asset Management MP for Microsoft Service Manager.

What does the IT Asset Management Pack do?

The Provance IT Asset Management Pack is a Process Management Pack that runs within Microsoft System Center Service Manager 2010 to provide Software and IT Asset Management. The supplemental capability provided by the Provance IT Asset Management Pack allows Microsoft System Center customers to take control of IT costs, improve IT Service Management efficiency and reduce security and compliance risks.

The Management Pack extends Microsoft System Center Service Manager with additional functionality to manage the financial, contractual and organisational information necessary to support Software Asset Management, License Compliance, IT Asset Life Cycle Management, and more cost-effective and efficient IT Service Management.

What is New in the IT Asset Management MP from Provance?

Highlights include of version 1.1 of the IT Asset Management Pack include:

  • Support for the new Microsoft System Center Service Manager Authoring Console, which allows you to create new or modify existing data, forms and automated workflows that work with the Provance IT Asset Management Pack
  • Export of data to CSV files from Views and Searches for viewing and manipulation in Excel
  • Editing of multiple hardware or software assets
  • Enhanced financial management including tracking of hardware asset cost events and currency conversion against specified base rates
  • New views of relationships between hardware, software, contracts and users
  • Assignment of software purchases and software license keys to specific users and hardware assets
  • Additional reports for forecasting, reconciliation and time-based trending

IT Asset Management Pack – Evaluation Download

You can find more details of the IT Asset Management Pack for Service Manager on the AKCSL website, where you can download your free evaluation copy.