IT Theft in businesses

Media headlines are meant to attract attention and this recent one certainly caught mine.

“All firms are vulnerable to IT theft”

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Your business and the ‘Cloud’

You’ve heard of the ‘Cloud’ and probably wonder what it’s all about. Although at a basic level it’s really only another term for ‘Internet,’ the ‘Cloud’ is a way of storing information resources so that they can be easily accessed and shared when you’re away from the office. Another major benefit is

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A structured electronic filing environment or a random Google-type search process

A structured electronic filing environment works better than having a ‘bucket’ of items that you search right through to find the item you want

What does this mean and what is the difference?

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The value of document management systems

I’ve never been a great fan of electronic document management systems. I can see how they can be useful but I’ve seen a lot that, in spite of hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to install them, are not used effectively because the people who are expected to use them find them too hard.

Now there are many reasons for this and it’s not always the fault of the system itself.

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How to keep track of your documents

If you’ve been following my blog you will know that I am keen to help businesses and government organizations to manage their business documents so they can find the one document they need when they need it. Now! Not half an hour after a crucial business meeting starts, or

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Electronic filing is crucially about “levels of access”

Sarah recently gave some advice to a couple of clients and asked me for my thoughts.  She suggested that electronic filing is CRUCIALLY about “levels of access” – designing your folder structure around “security clearance levels” works best. So you start by working out what is “confidential inner-management ONLY” (e.g. Strategy & Planning), what is

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Save time, reduce stress, increase productivity – save your documents before you start

One of the biggest issues I find when I’m setting up systems and processes for small businesses is that no matter how well the systems and processes are designed, no matter how easy it is to use them, we still get people who save their my work to “My Documents” or the “Desktop”.

Why do they do this?  Well I figure it’s because its the easy and lazy way out; that when people create a new document or spreadsheet they start working in it straight away and only think to save it at the end of the day or when they have to run for a train or bus to go home or at some other time when they need to leave their desks – for a meeting say or to go to lunch.

At that time they look at the clock and think “Oh *<#^! where should I save this work. Oh I don’t have time to think about that.” So the item being worked on gets dumped in a hurry on to the desktop or in My Documents because that is the quickest thing they can think of.

Next time they go to look for that item, it’s not in the proper place in the directory structure or file plan. So they waste searching for it, and get frustrated along the way.

We all do that at some time. But there is a better way.

You need to learn a new habit.  OK  – I know! But don’t turn off and leave this page right now because the new habit I want you to create is actually quite easy.

When you create a new document save it straight away to the proper place in your directory structure.  Do this before you start putting any content into it.

Then next time you want to edit it or add to it, you can find it right away because its saved in the correct place.

Remember it takes time to create a new habit so you might have to do this a number of times before it comes naturally.  But it will be worth it and I can guarantee that it will save you time.  You’ll no longer waste time searching for documents you’ve saved “somewhere” and either ruining your eyesight peering at your desktop screen trying to find the title of the document you’re working on or scrolling up and down your My Documents folder searching for that document ( What did I call that document?)

Using standardised titles for naming your documents will help – that’s another story for another day.

Meantime the time you save by not searching for those stray documents so you increase your productivity and cut your stress levels


“Keeping your head above Apple’s cloud” (Blayne Slabbert)

A few weeks ago I wrote about how to manage electronic information on all the different devices we use in our business.

So I was really interested to read at the weekend a similar article in the Dominion Post about how to use Apple’s iCloud service to make our digital life easier.

Although this article was written along the same lines as mine, it focused on Apple devices and iCloud.  Interesting reading and the message is the same.  The “cloud” in whatever flavour (Apple, Android etc) can help you manage your electronic information and simplify your electronic business life.

Try it.  It will be worthwhile.  Remember to put some structure into your cloud storage so you can find the information you’re looking for when you need it. You can do that when you download our eWorkbook that gives you a full set of instructions on how to set up a filing system for your business.

It’s a good idea to get started now so you are ahead of the game in the new financial year.

If you can’t access the Dominion Post article though the link – contact me and I’ll send you a copy.


How to manage your electronic documents across devices

In my last blog I discussed the complexity of managing electronic information on all the different devices we can use to run our businesses today; the laptops, ipads, tablets smart phones  etc.

I gave you some rules to consider to help you keep your business information manageable when you’re out and about.

I noted that there are some technological solutions.  Lets have a look at these now.

For example you can use a laptop as your main device whether you’re working in the office, working with a client at their place, or when you’re out of town on business.

You can sync all your devices; use cloud based email (eg Gmail, icloud) and storage (eg Dropbox, Google docs).

You do have to think about what is best for you and your business and learn how to make the best use of the technologies and electronic devices.

You will still need to have a filing system within your chosen solution so that your business information is organised for quick and easy access no matter what format – email, text documents, spreadsheets, databases, images.

If you don’t I can promise you that your information will still be in mess no matter how much you spend on the technology.

That’s why I created my eWorkbook ‘Keeping Good Records in Small Businesses’ so you can learn what to do, what is important and how to do it. If you want to create your own filing system then this book takes you through the steps one at a time.  Alternatively you can use it as a starting point and work through it with one of our consultants – in person or via the cloud.

You can read about more hints and tips to improve your business in my free eBook; and even more if you download the eWorkbook that gives you a full set of instructions on how to set up a filing system for your business.

Judy Owen has been working with businesses of all sizes and complexities for more than 20 years to improve and streamline the access to their business information.  She and her team can show you how to reduce risk, improve productivity and increase profits with good business systems and processes in your business.