Computer Back Ups Are Like Car Insurance Because…

Computer Back Ups
Computer Back Ups

We only realise how important it is when we need to use it.

We use computers in business to hold important information as emails, documents and files etc. But if your computer crashed, what would happen to your business? I read recently of a home business that had their laptop stolen. The laptop wasn’t the most valuable thing stolen, the information it had on it was far more valuable. Because all of the business information was on the laptop they effectively had no business.The best advice for this to be prevented is to have backups that are:

– backed up regularly- the more frequent the back up the less information is lost.

– multiple backups- more than one back up copy.

– both onsite (same location as computer) and offsite (different location to computer).

– tested regularly.

Here are some ways to minimise the risk of your business being hurt by the loss of your computer with backups:

1. Make Hard/Paper Copies-Pro: less likely to be stolen or become corrupted by a virus etc. Con: Cost of paper, environmental impact, Cost of storage, cost of administration, still susceptible to fire and water if on site, hard to maintain and move.

2. External Hard-drive– Pro: relatively cheap, can be done automatically, easy to retrieve information, can be based off site. Con: Also susceptible to viruses, if located on same premises as computer still susceptible to theft, fire and water, limited storage space.

3. Backup Tapes/Disks/USB– Pro: Easy to use, compact and easily removable from site, somewhat cheap, can have multiple back up copies Con: Susceptible to virus, can be easily damaged, limited storage space, can be subject to theft, fire and water.

4. Website/Third Party Storage Provider– Pro: can be easy to set up to backup automatically and regularly, offsite location to computer, usually higher storage space, can be easy to retrieve, may have multiple ‘mirrored’ site storage Con: Cost can be minimal depending upon host provider, would need an expert to set up correctly, would need assurance as third party provider there is security with both access and cyber attacks, business confidentiality and information privacy might not allow it without high cost, storage space subject to hosting package.

5. Cloud Applications– Pro: you have little if any software and information held on your computer as held by third party provider, little if any disruption to work if result of theft, fire or flood as just log on from another computer, generally a high level of security with trusted providers, usually have ‘mirrored’ back up in various locations. Con: Cost but minimal and usually paid monthly, plans are typically paid for by the amount of storage space used, need the internet to access so not best for no or slow internet access.

So if you don’t already have a backup policy for your business information technology, it might pay for itself in the future. We never know when we can be the victim of theft, fire or flood. Will you now be looking into what back ups your business has or should have?

~ Damien Foley

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‘Sham Contracting’ – The Difference Between Employee & Contractor

'Sham Contracting' ContractWith tighter times there is more pressure on workers to get an Australian Business Number (ABN) to become contractors to get work. ‘Sham Contracting’ is where a worker who is really an employee is working under an ABN as a contractor. The worker may ask to do this for the better pay or the employer may ask for it to reduce the costs and liabilities of employment. As a contractor, you are not able to receive the benefits of an employee such as unfair dismissal as it goes to the contract agreement terms to resolve. But should you be a contractor? And what are the implications for both the worker and the employer if you do but you’re technically not?

What The ATO Says

The ATO has guidance on whether you’re an employee or a contractor. Below are some of those guidances, or click here to go to the ATO website.

1. Control Over Work: An employee is directed by their employer in how the work is to be carried out. A contractor is, per the terms of their contract, able to carry out the work as they see fit.

2. Ability to Subcontract/Delegate: An employee cannot contract in someone else to carry out the work. A contractor has the ability to subcontract the work to someone else or get an employee to do the work.

3. Basis of Payment: An employee is paid on time; or price per unit/item; commission. A contractor is paid to deliver an outcome per the agreement.

4. Equipment, Tools and Other Assets: An employees equipment, tools and other assets are supplied by the employer. The employee may provide most of their own tools but they are paid an allowance or reimbursed the cost of the equipment to do so. A contractor supplies almost all of their own tools to carry out the work. They are not reimbursed or receive an allowance for this cost.

5. Commercial Risk: Commercial risk is liability over the legal reponsibility of the work and repair or cost of any rectifications. An employee takes on little if any of the commercial risk, this is taken on by the employer. A contractor takes on all of the risk subject to the agreement.

6. Independence: An employee is not independent of the business. They work for the business and under the direction of the employer. A contractor is independent of the business with their own business. They can accept and refuse work, negotiate terms of the contract and are only obligated to carry out work that delivers the outcome of the contract agreement.

Consequences Of A Contractor Who Is Actually An Employee

If you are using someone and treating them as a contractor and they are actually an employee, you may

  • Be required to pay their supperannuation. This includes any penalties for late payment or legal liability if you are a company director.
  • Have to pay for any unpaid Pay As You Go (PAYG) Tax Instalments, including fines, penalties and interest.
  • have to pay unpaid Workers Compensation. If the person is injured at work and you have not been paying workers compensation insurance, you could face legal and financial problems.
  • Have to pay Payroll Tax on payments. This could include any fines, penalties and interest.
  • Have to pay allowances or benefits required under Enterprise Bargaining Agreements or Awards. This could include tool allowances; travel allowances; meal allowances; time and half and double time penalty rates. Plus any superannuation, PAYG Tax and or Payroll Tax on these allowances and benefits.
  • Have to accrue or pay for leave entitlments such as annual leave, sick leave, Rostered Days Off (RDO), and long service leave.

Future Changes

The Australian Federal Government has discussed possible additional conditions or tests to be met to determine if a workers is an employee or a contractor. Part of this is the introduction in 2012 of the ‘Taxable Payments Annual Report’ reporting requirements for businesses in the building and construction industry to report on contractor payments to assist the ATO to identify sham contracting.

How Does This Affect You?

The above information should not be relied upon. If you are concerned about whether you are a contractor or an employee, or if you are being asked to get an ABN to work, or you are wanting to put someone on and don’t know if they can be contracted with an ABN, then speak to your accountant; tax agent; and or legal advisor for advice.

~ Damien Foley

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Instagram and Pinterest- ‘A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words’

Is Instagram going to sahre photo's with Pinterest?New forms of social media are constantly arriving in various shapes and forms. The dominating social media sites currently are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube and Foursquare (Google+ perhaps?). But there are new kids on the block that are taking words away and replacing them with pictures as a means to communicate.

Instagram, with its recent sale to Facebook for around $1b, is one big player in this space. The Instagram App allows you to take pictures from your mobile phone and quickly transfer them to the internet, using different “filters’ to alter the picture. You can view what friends are posting on Instagram and have the option to share on other social media sites as Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Flickr. You can give the picture a caption and ‘geotag’ to let people know where you took the picture.

Pinterest is a site that allows you to ‘Pin’ pictures from other websites into albums and folders to share with others. So this is a great way for people with similar interests to share pictures. Pinterest does encourage ‘Pinners’ to declare the website where the picture was pinned from.

How Business Can Use Instagram and Pinterest.

So my question with this is whether Instagram was going to allow photo’s to be shared directly to Pinterest?

“You shouldn’t need to be too worried if that doesn’t happen as you can pin images that are on websites (including individual posts). So your intention then would be to use an interesting image with a quality post. Then pin the image (linked to the source URL). If your image is re-pinned you should see a spike in traffic.” says Leesa Watego of Iscariot Media.

So if I have interesting photo’s that people will ‘pin’ and ‘re-pin’ linked to my website, I will see a spike in traffic to my website from the picture , especially if it is related to the website content. If my website content is of high quality and of interest to those leads generated from the Pinterest picture, then I should see an increase in traffic to my website. Which leads us back to the point, that ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ at a glance. Pictures are a way to attract people to our website. So Instagram and Pinterest have a valuable place in many businesses as a social media communication and marketing tool. Especially for those businesses where it is very difficult to say in words what you do, how you do it and how great a product you have. So if you are considering if Pinterest and Instagram is for you as a social media tool, my advice is to get in and try it.

~ Damien Foley