- Created on Wednesday, 26 September 2012 15:27
If your organisation stores any information about beneficiaries, supporters, volunteers or other individuals you must ensure that you comply with data protection legislation or you could face a hefty fine.
The Information Commissioners' Office (ICO), the body responsible for enforcing data protection legislation, is offering free data protection check ups. ICO advisory visits provide practical advice about how you can improve in order to comply with the Data Protection Act. They are aimed at small to medium sized organisations and involve a one day informal visit from the ICO to look at how your organisation works.
Visit ICO's website for more details: Advisory visits
Independently, Paul Ticher is running a series of free data protection webinars specifically aimed at the voluntary sector. Topics include:
- a data protection overview
- members, supporters and fundraising
- using cloud services
- mergers and collaboration.
For more information and to sign up visit: Data protection webinars
- Created on Wednesday, 26 September 2012 14:33
Access the Expert has been set up to help frontline voluntary organisations in South Tees secure specialist support to face development challenges in difficult times. Support is offered to help your organisation:
- consider medium and long-term opportunities
- devise realistic business plans
- identify potential new income streams
- improve marketing and communications
- produce winning tenders
- develop collaborative partnerships
- secure and run a community building.
The Community IT Academy is pleased to be on the register of approved consultants and will be providing specialist IT support through this initiative.
Visit the website for more information: Access the Expert
- Created on Wednesday, 26 September 2012 13:42
Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Acrobat, InDesign and other Adobe products are now available to charities at vastly reduces prices from Charities Technology Exchange.
If you work for a registered charity and use Adobe software you could save yourself hundreds of pounds by purchasing the software through their website. There is a selection of the most popular Adobe software available for a small administrative fee. Titles include:
- Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements - £14
- Photoshop Extended CS6 - £58
- Acrobat Pro - £29
- InDesign CS6 - £39
- Dreamweaver - £23
- Creative Suite 6 - £104
There are restrictions on eligibility and you are only able to claim one suite or four individual titles per year.
For more details visit the Charities Technology Exchange website: Adobe products
- Created on Wednesday, 01 August 2012 13:39
Newcastle based educational charity, Learning First, have recently launched their new website.
Learning First provide educational courses to people with learning disabilities, young people, families and those seeking to acquire skills to help them move into the world of work. They strive to help their students move towards becoming active citizens in their communities, both socially and economically.
They approached CITA to develop a new website to showcase the important work that they do. We built a new site from the ground up to replace their existing site and incorporate their newly designed logo. Learning First have lots of great photos, which provide a fantastic way of visually communicating how they work. We put these images centre stage in a slider on the home page of the website.
Fiona Barrett, Marketing Manager for Learning First said:
"CITA couldn't have made the process easier for us. We gave them our ideas and they pulled everything together with no problems. Afterwards we were brought in for our training, I thought that I would be there for 20 minutes but they are so thorough. We were also given two booklets with step by step guides in to help when we got back to the office.
If I was ever stuck with anything and phoned I was given immediate help, unlike some companies where someone phones back within an allocated time; when you are doing something like launching a website it's nice to have help when you need it.
I couldn't have wished for anything more from CITA, the staff are so kind and helpful and they made the whole process enjoyable – as well as affordable!"
View the site for yourself: Learning First
If you would like to discuss updating your organisation's website, give us a call on 07958 482 509.
Read more about our Web Design Services.
- Created on Thursday, 28 June 2012 10:47
The date and venue for the second social media surgery in Newcastle has been confirmed.
Do you want to find out about new ways to tell your organisation's story? Do you want to learn how to use Twitter, Facebook, blogs, free websites and other social media tools? Do you want to find out how to share you photos and videos?
Social media surgeries are a place for voluntary and community groups, charities and active citizens to find answers to their questions about social media. One of the participants from the first surgery in May said it was "one of the best training sessions I've ever been to". So don't miss out, book a place now.
- Created on Monday, 18 June 2012 15:00
It has become increasingly important for voluntary organisations to demonstrate the impact of their organisation's work and tracking this impact is often a funding requirement. This briefing looks at ways to improve your organisation's effectiveness by using an online impact tracking system. Social Impact Tracker is a secure online database that allows you to report outputs and outcomes and measure your social impact. It is easy to use, self-managed, affordable and has everything in one place.
We have organised this lunchtime briefing in partnership with Electroville, our sister ICT support organisation for the voluntary sector in Yorkshire and Humber.
Managing the organisation - measuring social impact
Date: Thursday, 5 July 2012
Time: 10:30 am - 12:00 noon
Venue: Community IT Academy, i8 Lynnwood, Lynnwood Terrace, Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 6UL
Register on-line: Managing the organisation - measuring social impact
- Created on Monday, 18 June 2012 12:09
Children England have teamed up with LASA to provide a series of free webinars for organisations that work with children and young people.
If your organisation needs help with social media, websites, data protection, cloud tools and online safety, then you should take a look. Webinars are simply seminars delivered online, giving you the freedom and flexibility to attend quality training from the comfort of your own desk - an ideal solution for busy people.
There are six webinars in the series, which runs from July to October 2012, all of which are free. They are run by LASA, a national charity that specialises in providing technology support to voluntary and community organisations.
Places are limited so we recommend that you book a place soon. You can find more information on LASA's website:
- Created on Wednesday, 13 June 2012 14:13
Thinking about how you manage passwords is key to keeping your online accounts secure. In this article we explain how to keep the hackers out.
You may have read last week that LinkedIn, eHarmony and Last.fm were hacked and millions of user passwords were posted online. There has also been a spate of hacked email accounts recently. We have seen several cases of email accounts that have been compromised and used to send spam emails to everyone in the address book. Not only is this inconvenient, but it can also make your organisation look less than professional.
So, how can you take steps to avoid this happening to you? We recommend that you do the following:
- use strong passwords that contain upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols
- use passwords that are at least eight characters long - the longer the better
- use a different password for different services/websites
- change your passwords regularly
The hacking of LinkedIn provides a good example of why you shouldn't use the same password for several websites. You may not be worried about somebody accessing your LinkedIn account, but if you use the same password for your online shopping and your bank then this security breach could put you at risk of financial loss. If this sounds familiar to you, we recommend that you change your passwords now.
You may be wondering how you can possibly keep track of all these different and difficult to remember passwords. Well, one way to create strong passwords that are easy to remember but difficult to crack is to pick a phrase rather than a single word and replace some of the letters with numbers and symbols. Another solution is to use a password manager. These save all of your passwords in one place and secure them with a master password. That way you only need to remember one password. Firefox has a password manager built in, for other browsers and non-website passwords there are programs like KeePass (this free open source program also works on smartphones and tablets so you can access your passwords anywhere).
For more detail take a look at LASA's advice: Choosing and using secure passwords
If you need help developing a password policy or would like strategic advice about your IT give us a call on 07958 482 509 to arrange a free IT health check.
- Created on Wednesday, 30 May 2012 15:15
Web designer says social media sharing buttons add clutter and should be removed from websites.
Increasingly you find a set of buttons on every page of most websites asking you to like, tweet and share the content through the social network of your choice. However, Sweep the Sleaze, he suggests that we should drop them from our websites.of Information Architects argues that they are of little use and clutter the web page. In his article,
The buttons are added to websites to encourage visitors to share content through social media networks, but he sees them as just providing free advertising to the likes of Facebook and Twitter. He argues that if you have good quality content people will want to share it and it isn't difficult to copy and paste a URL. The buttons don't make it significantly easier, but they are a distraction from the actual content of the site, he says.
Another issue with the buttons is that they can be used by social networks to track your visitors' browsing habits. This has privacy implications and may mean that your website contravenes the new cookie law.
You may have noticed that we used to have social media sharing buttons on our website. Well, we've decided to remove them from the site to test out this theory and see what effect it has on visitor numbers. We'll check back in a month's time and let you know the results.
UPDATE: The social media buttons have been absent from our website for a month now and there hasn't been any noticeable impact on our visitor statistics. So, I think we'll keep them off the site.
- Created on Friday, 25 May 2012 12:00
Every website owner should be aware of the new legislation regarding cookies.
The regulations (popularly dubbed the 'cookie law') say that a website shouldn't store information on a visitor's computer without obtaining their consent. If your organisation has a website then you need to be aware of the regulations and make sure that you are taking appropriate steps to comply with the law. The Information Commissioners Office (ICO), which is responsible for enforcing this legislation, can impose penalties of up to £500,000 on websites that breach the new regulations.
What are cookies?
More information can be found at All About Cookies.
What do the regulations say?
There are exemptions to the legislation for cookies that are deemed to be 'essential' to the functioning of the site (e.g. for shopping baskets and managing logged in users). For all other cookies, websites should seek explicit consent of the user before storing the cookie on their computer.
Cookies that are used to gather website visitor statistics are covered by this legislation. So if, like many organisations, you use Google Analytics on your website this legislation will apply you. However, the Information Commissioner has said that he believes these cookies are less intrusive and that action in this area is not a high priority.
Cookies that are used to track browsing habits for the purpose of serving targeted advertising are likely to be seen as more intrusive and a higher priority, particularly if they are set by a third party website. So, if your website uses an external service to deliver adverts we recommend that you take action to ensure that you comply with this legislation.
Although the legislation became law last year, website owners were given a twelve month period to implement appropriate solutions on their sites. This period ended on 26 May 2012 after which all websites in the UK are expected implement the new legislation.
What should I do?
We recommend that every organisation with a website should take the following steps:
- Audit the existing cookies on your website
- Understand what each cookie does and assess how intrusive they are
- Decide what action to take to comply with the new legislation
For the audit, there is an online tool that can provide you with details of the cookies set by your website. However, this only checks the homepage and you may need a web designer to interpret the results for you and determine how intrusive each cookie is.
If you would like any help with this process please give us a call on 07958 482 509.
You can find more detailed information on LASA's website: New Cookie Law
You can also read the Information Commissioner's guidance: Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations
See also today's coverage on the BBC: Cookie law: websites must seek consent from this weekend