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Policies for productivity

01 Sep 2009

A free online resource helps SMBs sort out their ICT.

Small to medium-sized businesses now have a free online resource to create their own ICT policy and educate employees about cybersafety and security.

‘The Whatsit?’, provided by NetSafe, allows managers to customise an ICT policy and monitor employee progress with the education tools on the site.

The idea was born in 2005, when NetSafe’s Executive Director Martin Cocker met with a group of SME business owners to discuss cybersafety and security in the workplace. A huge majority of the business leaders there said they lacked the resources and technical skills to institute an ICT policy.

“Owners of small to medium businesses are often busy with the business of business,” Cocker said. “They simply don’t have the time or the money to create policy about use of technology in the workplace, and it is not until something goes wrong that businesses look to put something formal in place. Often by then, it’s too little, too late.”

An ICT policy created using The Whatsit? informs employees about what is and is not allowed within their workplace, which ultimately helps them to be more productive.

Citing case studies, Cocker said that even if a company has a policy in place, it is often not cultivated within office culture, which is one reason why the education portion is so essential to The Whatsit?. One of the aims of the resource is to reduce a company’s losses due to security breaches and wasted time.

Steven Joyce, Minister for Communications and Information Technology, spoke at the launch event. He said that one of the focuses of the current government was to create more efficient and productive workplaces.

“The key focus for this government is boosting productivity and improving the country’s economic performance. Helping business, and particularly small business, to use technology more effectively and confidently is a key part of this,” he said. “That is why communications infrastructure investment is such a high priority and why initiatives such as The Whatsit? are so important.”