A land fit for heroes

26 April 2009 by Kevin Holdridge  
Filed under News and views

The corporate blog is probably not the place to describe my shame at the way this government treats our armed forces. Instead, I’d like to take this chance to sing the praises of Major Phil Packer, whose campaign Kent House is proud to support, and Help for Heroes.

Phil Packer was injured in a rocket attack in Basra during  February 2008 and was left paraplegic. Inspired by the people at  Help for Heroes, he has set himself a “quest” to raise £1million to try to help in making a difference to fellow injured servicemen and women. Currently, Phil is walking the London Marathon at 2 miles per day (the maximum rate on medical advice).

We admire Phil Packer’s bravery, positive spirit, and his desire to help others. There is more information on Phil Packer’s website.  If you’d like to support Phil’s quest, you can do that through the Just Giving website or by using the widget on the left.

You can also find out more about the work of Help for Heroes.


The disposal of PCs from a data security perspective

24 April 2009 by Anna Mieczakowski  
Filed under News and views

The recent debate on data security and disposal was triggered in January 2009 when the editor of Which? Computing magazine encouraged PC owners to destroy the hard drives of their old home computers with a hammer to help protect against identity fraud. Following this ‘eye-opening’ article, the British Computer Society’s IT Now magazine conducted a study into data security and disposal guided by the premise that breaking hard drives with a hammer is not only wasteful and goes against EU Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive, but most importantly this method of data disposal is not sufficient to protect people from a harmful data theft. Hard drives are made up of sections called platters and each platter contains information, so even if a hard drive is hit with the hammer, there is still a huge chance of a small section of the platter remaining untouched and if that section gets into the hand of someone who knows what they are doing, the information held on it can be easily restored. Therefore, it is necessary to take extra care when disposing of devices that have memory storage areas that hold personal data in case they fall in the wrong hands.

The study of 350 private sector organisations carried out by IT Now magazine has found that most of those organisations generally replace their IT equipment every 3 years, but astonishingly only 1 in 10 (12%) of them were confident that they have destroyed data in their redundant IT equipment to a required standard. About 38% of the questioned companies admitted to only reformatting the drives and not taking any other measures to ensure that data on their hard drives was irrecoverable. Alarmingly, 50% of companies were unable to specify whether data on their redundant drives had been destroyed at all.

Since destroying hard drives with hammers or other DIY equipment are all unsuitable or secure alternatives, and neither is reformatting and overriding data; IT Now magazine suggests that the only secure way of erasing data from a PC or a laptop is by wiping the hard drive using specialist software, for example Blancco or KillDisk.

But different things work for different organisations, and although there is a lot of truth exposed in the BCS article, it also seems to be of largely advertising nature as its writer refers a lot to the practices of his own company. Still it’s a very interesting and educating article and I highly recommend to read it!

EventManager 4.0 Release Notes

15 April 2009 by Ken Brown  
Filed under Event management

EventManager 4.0 Release Notes are now accessible via the ‘About’ tab in the masthead navigation of your EventManager installation.

Internal Optimisation – Header Tags

9 April 2009 by Yvonne Conway  
Filed under Search Engine Optimisation

A great place to start with SEO after you have decided on your keywords, is your section headers – your <h1>’s to <h6>’s. These are simple to change for even the most technology-phobic among us. When a Search Engine Robot is scanning your site it will put more emphasis on these than on the underlying copy. Therefore always try to include your keywords in your headers.

If you are lucky enough to have a copywriter to fill your site for you, always remember that although headings like “we do our best for you” may sound great and look “glossy” they are useless for SEO. A more suitable heading would be “ABC Ltd’s customer service policy is the best in Manchester” or “ABC Ltd’s customer service policy is the best in the toy making industry”. In these headings you have your company name – assuming you will want to be found under your company name – and either your location or your industry. These will more than likely be among your keywords and therefore carry more weight for a Search Engine if they appear in a section heading too.

Always use header tags. If you are building a list, the list title should be a header, if you have a table, the table label should be a header. Additionally, every page should have at least 3 sets of header tags, for example a <h1> for the page title, a <h2> for main section headings and a <h3> – <h6> for lists, image labels, table names, sub-sections and so on. Always remember to include at least one of your keywords in each of your header tags.

The Kent House development team always set up header tag templates for <h1>’s to <h6>’s as standard and they are exceptionally easy to apply in SiteManager. However, whoever your web developer, they should do the same and if they have not, challenge them on it, it is a very basic part of any website development and should not be neglected as it is a key part of SEO and a key part of any site’s look and feel!