Thursday, 7 March 2013

A bit of Cardiff business advice - Data security and going mobile

I've just come back from a set of two really useful talks, the last of a series of 'Google Wednesdays' workshops aimed at helping businesses cope with the changing demands of the digital world, the opportunity for which was kindly provided by Cardiff Start.

The first talk entitled 'Lock up your valuables' by Wayne Beynon of Capital Law covered data protection and IP issues, who started by pointing out that virtually every business stores personal information in some way - even if it is just CVs of potential employees - the handling of which comes under the auspices of the Data Protection Act, and he continued to explain the obligations of the business in handling the data; The majority of the points were reasonable and fairly obvious, but one that I found had surprising implications regarded storing the data outside of the 'EEA territories' - it's not allowed, which means that if you're using cloud hosting of some type (e.g. google docs) for these data, then you could be technically in breach of the Act.

The next part of Wayne's talk involved handling commercially sensitive information, and the ways by which it can be stolen - there's of course the more obvious external cyber-attack route, and also, (probably more pertinent to Wayne's profession!) theft by employees and business partners. Here he recommended various security methods from restricting access to physical hard-copy, information systems and logging accesses to the more draconian use of computer forensics experts when things really go awry. It was also pressed home the benefits of keeping your employees trained on your data security policies. Finally he finished off with a quick tour of trademarks and copyrights.

Up next was Liam Giles of Spindogs, with a great introduction to the considerations of choosing a mobile app over a mobile-friendly website. The gist of which was that to justify an app, you'll need a good reason to benefit from the extra effort of supporting several different platforms (iOS/Android/etc), the effort of app approvals and less responsive updates. Such reasons could be that you'll need to use some functionality of the phone, such as the GPS, accelerometer or local storage; or that the app paradigm fits better with your chosen marketing path. He then went on to show off how the Spindogs webpage responds to different form factors, and handles gracefully the transformation from big to small by resizing the browser window displaying it (go on, have a go yourself!).

To conclude, Liam presented a plethora of slides provided by Google showing how mobile use is growing for many reasons, and that everyone should pay more attention to their use - 20-25% of users accessing sites via mobile devices should be quite a convincing argument.

And, to show that I was paying attention:
© Mark Einon 2013.