The lowdown on bring your own device policies

July 21, 2017

Bring your own device (BYOD) policies are increasingly popular among companies both big and small for a range of reasons. Startups and small businesses may not have the resources to invest in the necessary digital devices for every new employee they hire, while employees in larger companies which issue a new laptop to every employee might prefer to use a device they are familiar with. With the average employee more eager to use his or her own personal device than before, it is crucial that companies give careful thought to whether to implement a BYOD Policy and how to go about doing so.

What is a BYOD Policy?

A Bring Your Own Device Policy is a set of rules governing the use of employee-owned electronic devices at work, including devices such as personal computers (PCs), smartphones and tablets. A BYOD Policy will outline the company’s position and governance on the use of such devices and will ensure that the company’s network security is not compromised.

Source: IT Training Solutions

Should I implement a BYOD Policy?

It is important to weigh both the benefits and the risks of a BYOD Policy for your company before making your decision.

Some of the benefits of a BYOD Policy include the following:

    • Increased productivity: As employees are more familiar with their own devices, they will be able to work more productively using a device that suits their own needs as opposed to learning how to navigate an operating system that needs getting used to;
    • Lower costs:Providing company-issued devices to every new employee incurs significant costs, and removing this category of expenditure would free up resources;
    • Convenience: Rather than travelling with several devices to satisfy their home and work needs, employees can simply work with a single device.

The challenges and risks of a BYOD Policy include the following:

      • Cost: While some startups think of BYOD policies as a way of cutting costs by avoiding having to incur expenditure on company-issued devices, employees would expect the company to cover the work-related costs associated with using their own devices. This would include the cost of data plans, business-related phone calls, or the costs of onboarding users and their devices;
      • Policy & training: Any employee using his or her own device would inevitably have to adhere to certain guidelines or limits that your company imposes. It would be beneficial for your company to provide training or online educational tools to educate your employees about these expectations, so as to ensure employees take proper care of corporate data and are aware that exposing the company to potential legal risks is unacceptable;
      • Security: Given that you are potentially giving your employees the opportunity to access confidential information and sensitive data on their own devices, it is important to put in place the proper protections to secure such information. This includes identity authentication and steps to take should an information breach occur;
      • Privacy: While you may wish to exercise some degree of oversight over the way your employee accesses and manages information on his personal device, it is important that the management system you put in place does not infringe on your employees’ privacy.

Adapted from Search Mobile Computing

Ultimately, it is a matter of weighing up whether your company can afford to manage the risks and costs associated with implementing a BYOD Policy.

How can I implement a BYOD Policy?

Other than briefing your employees who have opted to bring their own device on your expectations and the relevant company procedures, it is crucial to put in a place a formal BYOD Policy to ensure that everyone is on the same page. A BYOD Policy sets out your company’s rights in determining how data should be used and protected, including during the period after the employee no longer works for your company.

In addition, a BYOD Policy defines the rights and duties between your company and your employees. The BYOD Policy should lay out clearly what the permissible and impermissible uses of personal devices on the corporae network are, as well as the terms of eligibility for using your own device and the supported devices and app.

To balance between exercising oversight of your employee’s access of sensitive data and your employee’s right to privacy, it is important to define your company’s right to access your employee’s device for security reasons. It is also important to determine the relevant procedures should something go wrong, such as the disciplinary consequences for policy violations like a breach of data.

When drafting a BYOD Policy, it is important to focus on a number of key clauses, in particular:

        • Details of your company;
        • Details of the employee who is acknowledging and signing this policy;
        • Activities included as acceptable business use;
        • Video or camera capabilities allowed on the device;
        • Applications allowed while using the device;
        • Excluded applications while using the device;
        • Manner by which the passwords are controlled; and
        • Amount of time before the device is locked if idle.

 

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The Dragons descend on RISE

July 20, 2017

RISE is a startup and entrepreneurship festival that takes place every year at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Thousands of innovators, investors, and companies come together to share ideas, connect, and network in one of the biggest hubs in the world. Here, we recap what the Dragons got up to when they landed at RISE!

Day 1

Day 1 was all about sealing the deal on the professional relationships you had been forming over the past few months or years. The buzz was incessant as attendees walked around, talking to other entrepreneurs and learning about their businesses. As everyone was trying to find their bearings in the hustling, bustling city of Hong Kong, lively chats were taking place on every stage in the event. These stages were set up at each corner of the convention hall with the booths set up in every other square inch available.

On the first day, there were numerous talks regarding fintech and artificial intelligence. As Jing Ulrich, of JP Morgan Chase, and Wayne Xu, of ZhongAn (an InsurTech firm) stated, FinTech is taking over the operations of even traditional banks. They are transforming their technological capabilities in order to stay competitive with other, newer financial technology companies. Some of the talks included “Building for Asia’s ‘new economy’” and “Living on the fintech Indian frontier.”

Some exciting startups aside from Dragon Law were also present, and us Dragons had the chance to talk to their representatives at the booth! Wantedly, for example, is a recruiting platform that helps both employees and recruiters understand companies and candidates. They allow candidates to find environments in which they will feel fulfilled, comfortable, and motivated. Many of our Dragons signed up for the Women in Tech cohort where they were able to network with many other women who were in startups or entrepreneurs themselves.

Blueprint, a co-working and event space, was conveniently located in the middle of the hall, was one of the main hubs throughout the conference. True to their mission, Blue Print helped to build a small community for RISE attendees, providing a great meeting place to sit and network with other companies.

Day 2

Day 2 was a big day for us, as we had our booth set up in the START section. The day, in a nutshell, was nonstop activity. Many people came up to our booth and there were many points in the day when every red-clad Dragon was talking to an attendee. It is safe to say a large percentage of RISE left the conference with some sort of knowledge of Legal Tech. We got many questions, from “What is Legal Tech?” to “How can I integrate this into my business?” all the way to exclamations like “Sign me up!” Some attendees from other countries were eager to see us eventually expand into other countries, and this gave us great excitement to know that we are being noticed from places outside our jurisdictions.

register.dragonlaw.io

From about lunchtime until the close, Dragon Law was undoubtedly one of the busiest booths in the START section. We were multitasking in talking to potential clients and signing up those who were interested in a Free Trial. Indeed, many companies were interested in how we could help them streamline their legal work in their business. Many attendees were running into the high legal fees that SMEs usually experience, and we were able to offer a quick, affordable, and easy solution. All in all, as our Sales Executive Mehdi said, “everyone was looking to improve their business” by “looking for new solutions.”

One of the highlights of our day, however, was when our Chairman, Antoine Blondeau, the Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of Sentinent Technologies, spoke about the “Three Cases of Revolutionary AI.” His company was the “highest funded Artificial Intelligence company” according to Forbes. He spoke on the three instances where AI has been truly groundbreaking. As a Legal Tech company, we are honoured to have such a technological visionary as the Chairman of our board.

Other than our stand, there were numerous talks and pitches that took place throughout Day 2. Our booth was very close to the PITCH stage, so Dragons would venture over there when they had a spare minute. One of our interns heard a few pitches but she said a couple stood out: Avigo and Unilodgers. Avigo is an app that makes corporate wellness easy and accessible. It was founded to “revolutionise the health and wellness space.” The founder, Melvin Chen, was enthusiastic about his app and believed that he could change the way people view fitness classes. The second app that was notable was Unilodgers. This application helps students find affordable housing near their University campuses. It was interesting seeing all of the ideas that radiated from that stage; their presentations was definitely a motivation for all.

Day 3

Day 3 was all about solidifying the relationships formed over the past couple of hectic but exciting days. At this point, you could walk around and see people you had seen during the day or during one of the night events, and it was hard not to run into someone who was vaguely familiar. It was helpful to follow up with the connections made during the conference. Much of our team spent the day doing this. They walked around in bright red shirts, asking people questions, collecting business cards, and finding out more about SMEs that sounded interesting or helpful.

Other talks that received high praise from our team was “BigBasket=Big eCommerce ambition.” In this talk, Vipul Parekh spoke on why he decided to go into such a low-margin industry. He stated that he believes that the industry is “highly unorganized” and he believed he could change that with the way BigBasket retains its customers and integrates science and technology into its operations.

At the end of the day, many of our Dragons were approached by attendees they had met before. These people said that they had been recommending Dragon Law throughout the conference and that they were excited to start using our software. The best part about these connections was that they grew the Dragon Law network. The more money entrepreneurs are able to save, the more they are able to grow, and the more successful they are!

After the last day’s activities and festivities, our Co-Founder and Head of Partnerships Ryanne Lai spoke at the Technology x Culture x Entertainment meetup. She discussed how technology was changing the legal culture. It informed attendees on how the legal field is integrating technology for the better.

We hope that those who attended RISE found it fun, enjoyable, inspirational, and educational. For those who were not able to make it, remember to save the date for the 2018 conference, as they are already on sale! If you are interested in learning more about the companies that presented or watching the conference videos, check them out!

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5 reasons to start a business in Australia

July 17, 2017

Aside from its breathtaking beauty, Australia has plenty to offer in the world of business and startups. Ranked 19th on the 2016 Global Innovation Index, the land down under is home to one the most flexible economies in the world. The business environment is well regulated and transparency is high. The political landscape is stable and a strong framework of regulations gives investors ample confidence to put their money into promising ventures.

Source: The Economist

The cities of Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth were ranked among the world’s top 10 most liveable cities in 2016. All in all, Australia is recognised as one of the easiest places in the world to start a business. If you are thinking about becoming your own boss, here are some reasons why Australia might be the place for you:

1. You’ll be part of a growing startup ecosystem thanks to strong government support

The growing startup culture in Australia has meant greater support from various stakeholders such as the Australian government and fellow entrepreneurs. The Australian government has invested heavily in Research and Development. The research & development (R&D) tax incentive helps businesses stay one step ahead through a tax offset that promotes innovation in even the smallest companies. One of the big products that originated from Australia is the anti-hacking software kernel seL4 which regulates access to a computer’s hardware and is able to distinguish between trusted and untrusted software, thereby protecting secure data from hackers.

In addition, the Entrepreneurs’ Programme was introduced to increase the productivity and competitiveness of businesses by providing funding and access to a national network of private sector advisors and enablers. The Entrepreneurs’ Programme offers funding support for incubators that help startups enter global markets.

2. You will have access to the resources to succeed given the availability of funding

Access to funds is a key factor that drives innovation as it allows entrepreneurs to develop and commercialise their ideas. The tax incentives for eligible investors that came into place on 1 July 2016 to encourage support for innovative, high-growth potential startups include the following:

  • A 20 per cent non-refundable carry-forward tax offset on investment, capped at $200,000 per investor, per year.
  •  A 10 year capital gains tax exemption for qualifying investments held for at least twelve months.

Venture Capital Limited Partnerships (VCLP) were introduced to draw in foreign investors to Australia with the purpose of boosting the local VC market with multiple tax benefits. The investments must be toward businesses that have total assets valued under $250 million, with 50% of assets and employees located in Australia.

In particular, there has been growing investment in the fintech sub-sector, with the industry expected to be worth $4.2 billion by 2020 based on its current trajectory. In 2016, Australia was ranked the sixth most attractive place for investors in venture capital and private equity in the Venture Capital & Private Equity Country Attractiveness Index.

3. Australia’s strong trade relations with other countries sets the stage for expanding your business abroad

Source: Austrade

With strong trading ties with major economies across Asia, Europe and North America, Australia is a good base for expanding the reach of your business abroad. In 2015-16, two-way trade in goods and services totalled A$661 billion, making up 40% of Australia’s nominal GDP. Australia maintains strong trade relations with Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) countries, while the ASEAN region is a significant market. If you are eager to grow their business, Australia’s strong trade relations will stand you in good stead as you get access to cheaper resources and overseas markets.

4. Australia’s strong talent pool allows you to build a solid team

Australia boasts of a high literacy rate at 99 percent as it has a thorough educational and training system. You will have a ready supply of tertiary-educated workers given that more than 40% of Australian workers hold a tertiary qualification.

Source: Austrade

If you’re looking for technical talent for your startup, you’re in luck. According to a report by startup rating platform Oddup, 20,000 new technical professionals have relocated to Melbourne over the last five years. The overall workforce are skilled and educated possessing diverse language skills. A cultural melting pot with people from all over, Australia is also the place for you to build a diverse team with members each bringing different perspectives and experiences that will help make your business more robust.

5. Innovation is rewarded with strong intellectual property (IP) laws

Australia has a strong record of innovation, with its R&D spend placing it among the world’s leading innovative countries such as the USA, Japan, Sweden and South Korea. Accordingly, there are strong IP laws in place to protect your trade marks, patents, copyrights, designs and so on. This is crucial as intellectual property is a core asset of a business.

Ranked 12th on the International Property Rights Index in 2016, Australia administers IP legislation via IP Australia. Access the eServices site to apply, register, renew and pay for IP rights. Make the most of the Australian jurisdiction’s strong IP legislation to give your business a competitive advantage over the rest.

Are you an entrepreneur in Australia with more reasons why your mates should join you in starting up down under?

Let us know in the comments below!

Is the cloud safe?

July 16, 2017

While cloud storage is still a relatively new innovation, it seems to have garnered a lot of users over the past few years. External storage is now a thing of the past. Everyone is using the cloud, whether they are storing their personal files and photos online to share with friends and family, or taking advantage of the vast amount of readily available online storage space for sensitive business data. Despite the numerous benefits that this revolutionary storage method has, the cloud has come under a lot of scrutiny recently.

How safe is the cloud?

This is a legitimate concern raised by cloud users. In this dangerous cyberworld, cloud consumers will want to feel assured that their information is going to be stored safely and reliably before entrusting their sensitive data to a third party storage facility. While these cloud storage services claim that the data is heavily encrypted, there are really no guarantees that the cloud is a hundred percent safe. “I really worry about everything going to the cloud”, as commented by Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak recently.

Despite all the scare tactics devised to undermine consumers’ perception of the cloud, the cloud still remains undoubtedly one of the safest ways to store data in this modern time. Before getting all distressed about the safety and reliability of the cloud and reverting back to the dinosaur ages of external hard disks, let’s look at the three major aspects that one needs to keep abreast with cloud storage.

Who is controlling the cloud?

One of the most pressing issues surrounding the cloud is the misconception on who exactly is controlling this gargantuan amount data that is stored within. It may appear that you are paying a nominal fee to entrust a cloud storage provider with the safekeeping of your sensitive information and files. Most people simply assume that the cloud service provider itself gains partial or full ownership of whatever information and files that are being uploaded and shared within its servers. In reality, this is not the case. A cloud storage provider merely owns and provides the “container” in which users will be storing their data. Think of it as a virtual storage unit that is being rented out to users who want to store massive amounts of data and files. The cloud provider does not bear any responsibility for whatever that is being uploaded and kept in the storage unit. Only the cloud user has full control over what is being stored and shared on the cloud service. This should hopefully provide some consolation to those who are still apprehensive about putting their private data into the hands of the cloud.

How is the cloud protected?

Given that a colossal amount of private and highly confidential data is being stored on the Internet – a place infamous for its occasional unreliable security measures – it is natural for cloud users to feel slightly edgy about keeping their data online. In order to keep data secure, the front line of defence for any cloud system is encryption. Encryption methods utilize complex algorithms to protect cloud-stored information in a way such that only the original user and/or authorised parties can access it. In order to read an encrypted file, the prospective hacker will need the secret key or password to decrypt the file. Although encrypted information is not a hundred percent foolproof, decryption requires a huge amount of processing power, sophisticated technology and a lot of time. Cloud services employ more complicated security methods than what an average computer user is able to devise. Additionally, there have been many developments over the course of the last few years in terms of the encryption and security measures that cloud storage providers offer to its users. This gives the cloud-stored data an added level of security.

Personal privacy

Newspaper headlines these days scream about the latest internet-leaked photos of celebrities or prominent figures. We are so accustomed to seeing news about data breaches that it is easy to arrow the cloud as the villain in these unfortunate situations. In reality, the cloud cannot be entirely blamed as most of these instances are a result of user error. While cloud services do provide secured encryption, cloud users also need to do their part to further ensure that their data is stored safely. Strong passwords serve as additional barriers to trolling internet sharks who are ready to hack any sensitive data once they discover a loophole. While it might seem as a daunting task to remember all those alpha-numeric passwords, engaging a password management service could assist in keeping track of all of them. Just remember to do the necessary research and enlist a service that seems trustworthy.

Despite cloud security being the primary concern among users, cloud usage has seen an exponential rise over recent years. Gartner, a market research and advisory firm focusing on providing information technology related insights, has highlighted cloud computing as “one of the top ten strategic technology trends that have the potential for a significant impact on organisations in the next three years.” Ultimately, cloud users have the sole ability to control what and how information is stored in the cloud. One simply needs to follow the guidelines put forth by these cloud services experts to maintain cloud security.

This is a guest post from RenQun Huang at Gpayroll
Want to read more articles related to payroll, HR & technology? Visit us at Gpayroll

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4 tips for saving time on small business administration

As a small business owner, you probably feel that you’re always running out of time. After clearing your emails, meeting with your team, handling your accounts and filing your paperwork, there doesn’t seem to be much time left for thinking about growing your business. While small business administration might be a hassle if you’re not the most organised person around, developing strategies for tackling your administrative matters more quickly and efficiently – thereby saving you time and money – can help you take your business to the next level.

Here, we offer you four tips for how to go about it:

1. Think twice before calling for a meeting

Whenever you’re thinking about sharing information or making decisions, your default response may be to schedule a meeting with the relevant stakeholders. While it may almost be instinct to do so, the next time that thought forms in your mind, take a step back and think about whether a meeting would the best course of action to achieve your goal. Meetings are time-consuming and peppering meetings throughout the day may break your focus from more important tasks that are best done with larger blocks of time.

In order to determine whether that meeting you’re thinking of scheduling is necessary, run yourself through the following questions:

  1. Have I thought through this situation? Gain clarity about what you’re doing on a project by evaluating the scope of the project, its current status and project milestones, and laying out a plan of action. Do your own strategic thinking before even thinking about calling for a meeting.
  2. Do I need outside input to make progress? If you know what needs to be done and simply need to do the work, update your to-do list and take action. If you find that you do need outside input to feel comfortable before taking action, continue on.
  3. Does moving forward require a real-time conversation? If you don’t require a two-way conversation, e-mail may be a better option. This is especially so if you are seeking feedback on written plans or documents, and it is better to give people time to process their thoughts before responding.
  4. Does this necessitate a face-to-face meeting? If you don’t necessarily need to see a person, scheduling a phone chat or video conference may save you travelling time.

Source: Harvard Business Review

It is only if your answer is ‘yes’ to all the above questions that it may be wise for you to schedule a meeting.

If you do have to call for a meeting, make sure that it is as efficient and focused as possible. Here are some ground rules for organising productive meetings:

  1. Keep the meeting small – not more than 7 people. This prevents social loafing and ensures each individual member in the meeting is more engaged.
  2. Ban devices. There are many reasons devices should be banned – multitasking is unproductive and devices distract other people. Only allow devices when you may need people to take notes or retrieve reference material.
  3. Keep the meeting short – no longer than an hour. There are several advantages to shorter meetings – people stay more focused and are more productive when under time pressure.
  4. Organise stand-up meetings. Studies have found that stand-up meetings tend to be shorter than sit-down meetings, yet produce the same solutions.
  5. Make sure everyone participates. This ensures that everyone has the opportunity to value-add to the conversation and that the meeting is a relevant enough to be put on their schedule.

Adapted from Harvard Business Review

By being deliberate about when you call for meetings, and conducting meetings productively when you do, you’ll be able to free up time in your day for more pressing tasks.

2. Draft invoices and payment terms that encourage timely payment

Any small business owner would know that one of the most time-consuming processes is invoicing. While the objective of the invoicing process is to obtain payment for the services or products you have offered, you’re not getting paid for the time it takes to compile what to charge, create the invoice, send the invoice, and remind the customer that his payment is overdue.

Drafting invoices and payment terms that will encourage your customers to pay up on time can save you time in the invoicing process.

Want more tips for how to draft payment terms that will encourage timely payment and optimise cash flow? Check out our free eBook:

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3. Go paperless to save time on printing and organising hard copy documents

Managing hard copy documents can unknowingly take up a lot of your time and energy. In a paper-based office culture, there are many hidden costs and time-suckers associated with printing services, delivery, mailing, storage, processing, disposing and recycling. Beyond time saved, moving towards a paperless model has the following benefits: easier access to your documents, saved space, stronger security and being more eco-friendly.

If you’re thinking about going paperless, here are four tips for how to go about it:

  1. Plan for disposing of documents. Scanning documents and turning physical files into digital files can be a tedious process, so develop a proper system for it. Your process should include document collection, offsite storage and disposal.
  2. Give employees the “why”. Explain to your team the rationale for the transition so that everyone would be on board and motivated to learn the new system of managing documents electronically.
  3. Implement strict protocol. Some implementation tips include encouraging the use of smartphone apps that capture the content of paper files and turn them into digital files and doing away with the requirement that printed documents must be physically signed.
  4. Make paper inconvenient. To prevent your employees from lapsing into old paper habits, make it difficult to use paper by removing fax machines and printers from the office. The habit of a paperless operation will become second nature.

Adapted from Inc

In order to ensure that the documents stored electronically are accessible by the employees who need them, store your documents in the cloud. Common options are Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive, although there are a whole host of other options you can consider.

Source: NFIB

Going paperless and moving document storage onto a cloud is a great way to save you the time and tedium of small business administration.

4. Automate processes to avoid repetitive tasks

We’ve all heard the drill: technological developments are set to take away our jobs because robots can do our jobs more quickly and efficiently than we can. However, the reality is not all doom and gloom. Automating tasks that you do repetitively can actually save you time in small business administration. Simple steps such as integrating data platforms (instead of entering data from a web portal manually into a desktop applciation before you use it) or putting meetings on your calendar (instead of going back and forth with clients and colleagues to arrange appointments) can be a game changer in terms of saving you time on small business administration.

In order to determine whether a process is ideal for automation, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Does it involve a lot of a data entry? If you’re managing a lot of numbers by hand in PDFs or printed documents, look for ways to leverage Optical Character Recognition (OCR), where documents are scanned and text converted into a digital, editable format.
  2. Is the task repeatable and repetitive? Automating mundane tasks such as monthly bill payments will save you time.
  3. Does the task have no room for error? Humans a prone to mistakes, while automation reduces errors such as incorrectly formatted, missing, or duplicate entries.

Adapted from Forbes

Related reading: Technology tools that will help your small business do more with less

If you’re looking for a way to draft legal documents more efficiently, Dragon Law’s web app does just that. As a Dragon Law subscriber, you get access to our document library where you can select documents to customise to your specific needs using our easy-to-navigate Q&A interface. Storing your legal documents in folders in the cloud and inviting parties to e-sign your documents also saves time and money on printing costs, thereby helping efforts to go paperless and allowing you to easily access your legal documents when you need them.

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What tips do you have for saving time on small business administration?

Let us know in the comments below!

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