There is a big change coming in business, affecting the way companies acquire, store and manage data. May 25th 2018 introduces a new law the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Many of the GDPR’s main ideas and principles are much the same as those in the current Data Protection Act (DPA), so current compliance will be a good starting point for the new law. Some thing, though, are different, and businesses need to evaluate their practices to ensure that they comply in the future.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has produced a checklist and resources to help businesses work out the main differences between the current law and the GDPR.  These are all available via the ICO’s Overview of the General Data Protection Regulation. The ICO is also working closely with trade associations and bodies representing the various sectors so you will be supported in implementation. It is essential to plan your approach to GDPR compliance now and to gain support in your organisation. Its possible that new procedures may be needed to comply with new transparency and individuals’ rights provisions. In a large or complex business this could have significant budgetary, IT, personnel, governance and communications implications.

A significant difference between the DPA and the GDPR is that the GDPR places greater emphasis on the documentation that data controllers must keep to demonstrate accountability. Compliance with all the areas listed in this document will require organisations to review their approach to governance and how they manage data protection as a corporate issue. For example, one step might be to review contracts and other systems you have in place when sharing data with other organisations.

Some parts of the GDPR will have more of an impact on some organisations than on others (for example, the provisions relating to profiling or children’s data), so it would be useful to map out which parts of the GDPR will have the greatest impact on your business model and give those areas due prominence in your planning process. A start to the introduction to GDPR is to review the ICO 12-Steps to GDPR document:

and the ‘Getting Ready For The GDPR’ checklist

For further information, or to access our GDPR implementation programme, please contact us.

Spring is here!

And with a lousy joke to welcome it, we’ve completely re-written our site, taking advantage of the many components now available for the common open-source (i.e. free to use) Content Management Systems. more “Spring is here!”

Google Checkout

google_checkout_crashUsing Google Checkout? What to do when it ‘retires’.

You may not be aware, but Google is ceasing support for online payments using Google Checkout. Ostensibly this is to improve support for the Google Wallet payments system, but I’ve a sneaky suspicion that it is also a move to reduce UK tax liabilities, as it stops UK-based transactions. (Author’s opinion may be rubbish – Ed).

Anyhoo. If you do currently use Google Checkout, the recommendations from Google are to migrate to other online Payment systems such as Braintree & Shopify. To save you the bother, we’ve done some preliminary investigations, and although we can’t speak for their quality, their payment structure is far closer to other Merchanting services with a monthly fee and minimum monthly transactions. This would make it far more costly for the small-scale user than the ‘per transaction’ commission levy of Google Checkout.

The primary alternative then is Paypal, either the Web Payments Standard account, or Paypal Professional. Web Payments is a per-transaction fee, and your customers would be making purchases from a Web page. The transaction itself is offsite, on the Paypal system, so while it is very secure, branding and customisation opportunities are limited. Paypal Professional will also allow offline payments through a console, so gives a flexible merchanting service, but with a monthly subscription feel, as well as the Paypal ‘commission’. Professional also requires a SSL certified server, as the owners website manages the credit card information, but at least this keeps the customer on-site for the shopping experience.

There is more information on Paypal, Web Payments Standard and Paypal Professional here:

An alternative is the Brit ‘Nochex’ system, which can be found here: There are 2 types of account, but probably most businesses will want the, account. A setup form is here:

The Author has no connection with Paypal, its affiliates, and is not recompensed for this article. More’s the pity.

Whither Twitter?

Dead_TwitterWhat’s happened to the Twitter feed on my website?

Ah yes – the deafening question from millions of frustrated website owners. The simple (maybe a bit harsh) answer is that Twitter gone broke it. They’ve changed the authorisation needed to collect the Twitter timeline feed, such that the simple method previously employed not longer works. Feeling geeky? There’s more technical information here:

Grrr! What do I do about it

Ok. The answer to that is there is now the need to build an ‘App’ to access your Twitter feed, using a number of authorisation ‘keys’ Frankly this is all a bit of a pain, since the timeline is public access anyway, but, “their house, their rules”, so we’re stuck with it. Yet more geeky information here:

The simplest solution, really, is get us to fix it for you. This would be an ideal opportunity to look at the wider opportunity to check your website maintenance arrangements, since there are going to be changes out of your control such as this cropping up frequently. The more connected we are, the more those connections can fail on us.

Cookie Anyone?

Choco_chip_cookieThere have been changes to EU Privacy legislation (yawn!) , but it means that all website owners now need to have a ‘Cookies Policy’ which notifies users of what cookies are used on the site, what they are for, and how to control them. The legislation came into being on May 2011, and there has been a ‘watch & see’ for a year, but now all websites have to comply.

Many sites uses cookies for, basically, Google Analytics, Content Management, and Shopping Carts. We can sort you a proper cookies audit, a compliant cookies policy and update the site to suit. It’s a bit of work to go through, but we can cover for a flat £250 +VAT. If your looking for a complete new site, we will now incorporate this into the project spec.

There is more info here:

As sites have to comply by the end of May, the usual process seems to be that if you have an action plan then any user complaints are disregarded, so let us know if this would help. We have quite a few lined up!

For over 17 years we have delivered quality web sites, effective internet marketing, search engine optimisation (SEO), online stores and graphic design for clients in Stockport, Manchester and the North West.

We have worked with the biggest of blue-chip clients such as Pfizer, Cadbury, NHS etc, as well as numerous small/micro businesses that all appreciate our approach of plain-speaking, professional service.

We can help your company stand out from the crowd and reach more people faster by creating custom-made, highly creative digital and web-based communications that work.

Call or email today for a FREE consultation