GDPR & Websites

The General Data Protection Regulation or “GDPR” deadline day of 25th May 2018 is getting closer and we’re all going to die. The Data Apocalypse is nigh.. You may have seen one or two or 10,000 news articles about it recently? Anyway, I’ve done some research and attended workshops in an effort to try make sense of it all for mine and my own companies’s benefit and I’m happy to share the basics I’ve learned here with you, hopefully in a simplified and jargon free way.

What’s it all about?

Basically on the 25th May 2018, new legislation is being introduced across Europe to protect private individual’s data a lot more. If companies don’t comply they may be liable for hefty fines.

What do you have to do as a company?

You need to do some research firstly, ideally a local workshop or a solicitor if you have one to get familiar with the guidelines and how they relate to your own business specifically. Here are several things to look at in your business and consider:

  • What Data do you currently have and collect on your clients?
  • Why do you collect that Data?
  • Do you really need to collect all or any of it?
  • How do you collect Data?
  • How do you store the Data? Is it stored securely?
  • Who has access to the Data exactly?
  • Where do you store Data? Is it stored/transferred abroad, outside Europe?
  • Do you share Data with 3rd parties?
  • Do 3rd party companies store your data? ?If so, who and where exactly and are they compliant themselves?
  • Do you have the facilities to process Data requests from clients?
  • Can you securely delete or update Data you hold?
  • Do you have a Data breach plan?
  • Does everyone in your organisation know the rules around Data?

What do you have to do with your website?

Websites are the front line for many companies and range from basic sites that ask for and accept no data or cookies from visitors up to large, data heavy E-commerce sites with Online Payments, Member Sections, Logins, Newsletter Subscriptions etc..

Here are some of the things you should really do on your website BEFORE the 25th:

  • Add a Privacy Policy page or update your current one
  • Add a Privacy popup that requires explicit, recorded consent.. Or
  • Add a required Privacy/Terms tick box on any forms that submit data to you such as Contact Forms, Newsletter signups etc..
  • Make sure any Newsletter subscription processes require the users explicit, recorded consent and is double opt in
  • Make sure data transfer to and from your website is encrypted by installing an SSL certificate
  • Make sure the software that powers your website, if any, is kept up to date and secure.

Despite the hype, there’s no need to panic. If you do the basic, common sense things around your clients data and remain Transparent, Secure and Accountable if things go wrong, you’ll be fine. “FINE” not “Fined…

Leon

More information for Companies and Organisations:

GDPRAndYou.ie/Organisations/

More information for Private Individuals:

GDPRAndYou.ie/Individuals/

General Data Protection Information:

www.DataProtection.ie

 

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Essential Work/Life Gadgets

I work in IT and I’m a man so inevitably that means that I have and love many, many electronic gadgets. To make matters worse (or better depending on your point of view) I’m also a musician. Not any old musician but a musician who has recently developed an interest in making digital music! So along with the kind of electronic gadgets most of us have these days such as Tablets, Smartphones, Laptops etc.. the musical side of me owns Guitars, a Digital Piano, Mixing Desk and Recording equipment too. I also have work equipment such as a Desktop Computer, Printer, Speakers, Chromebook for meetings and remote working, Phone Equipment and a Pro Camera.

Then there’s the leisure side. Many of us have PlayStations, X-Boxes, TVs (Curiously, I don’t have one currently for once and don’t actually miss it at all), Hi-Fi systems and more. There’s also a plethora of Hi-Tech smart home gadgets these days such as WiFi and Bluetooth Lights, Speakers, Heating Systems and even WiFi Smoke Alarms! So in general gadgets are an important part of our lives and sadly if anything happened to them, particularly our smartphones and tablets, the resulting cut off from society can be a pretty hard shock to the system. The average modern smartphone for example can cost over €600/€700 (I’m talking Android here. Apple stuff is even dearer!) to replace new out of contract. A cost many of us can’t afford. I personally rely on my 18 monthly free (or nearly free) phone upgrade with Three to get new phones. I’d never be able to afford to buy one off the shelf.

We’re all human and while I myself am fairly careful and protective of my stuff, accidents do happen. Especially if you have young kids knocking around as I do or are the kind of person who can’t leave their phone down when they go to the toilet!?

Many of our items may be covered under an existing house contents policy but why not have peace of mind for your gadgets on the move by signing up for an affordable monthly gadget insurance policy? Insurance companies cover the usual gadgets we all have and in addition, items can be covered on route to your home or place of work, travel usage worldwide, liquid damage cover, etc.. There’s also a lot of flexibility in cover and payment options and you can make two claims within any 12 month period. Quotes are instantaneous online and policies can be setup in minutes.

This post is in collaboration with Chill Insurance.

Design Brief Worksheet Template

Using a properly thought out Design Spec can help you find better clients, clients with more money to spend and better, more interesting projects.

Prompted by a regular stream of Reverb Studios clients over the years who weren’t quite sure what they wanted in a new website or other design project and in response to me asking them for more guidance just pointed to a competitors website, or worst still a very long list of totally different competitor websites, and expected me to take it from there, I recently decided to do some research on how best to extract the maximum amount of detailed information from a client before starting any new design project.

The benefits to this are as follows as I see it:

  • You can avoid that initial, face-to-face, time (and money) sapping meeting with a client where no one is really prepared or knows what they want or what needs doing.
  • You get to see if a client is a good fit for you and your services and vice versa, whether the client can actually be served by you at all.
  • You get an idea of how serious and defined a client is about their business and their business goals. Asking them to sit down and think about their business and goals is something of value to them if they havn’t done it before.
  • By asking them for their budget, you separate the kind of clients who want something for nothing or everything in the world for very little investment from those who are prepared to put their money where their mouths are and get something of real value in return.
  • You get to come across as a professional who is serious and detailed about how they do things.
  • It gives much needed focus to a project that both sides can greatly benefit from.

Following my research across several articles, some marketing and design classes I’ve completed in recent years, my recent design degree and drawing from my now 15 years in a design related business, I drafted and built the following Design Brief Worksheet and put it in digital form:

Reverb Studios Design Brief Worksheet

Please use the form to think about your own business’s current performance, goals, use it to hire my own services or adapt it for your own use.

Leon