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SpunOut IT Policy Policy December 14th, 2012
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    • SpunOut IT Policy
      Updated February 2015

      1. Reasons for having this policy

      All SpunOut’s IT facilities and information resources remain the property of Community Creations and not of particular individuals, teams or departments (Note 1). By following this policy we'll help ensure IT facilities are used:

      • legally.
      • safety.
      • securely.
      • without undermining SpunOut.
      • effectively.
      • in a spirit of co-operation, trust and consideration for others.

      The policy relates to all Information Technology facilities and services provided by SpunOut. All staff and volunteers are expected to read this document and apply best practice.

      2. Things to look out for

      Deliberate and serious breach of the policy statements in this section will lead to disciplinary measures outlined in the company’s Grievance and Disciplinary Procedure.

      1. Copyright
      Take care to use software legally in accordance with both the letter and spirit of relevant licensing and copyright agreements. Copying software for use outside these agreements is illegal and may result in criminal charges.

      2. Security

      • i. Don't attempt to gain unauthorised access to information or facilities. If you don't have access to information resources you feel you need, contact the IT manager.
      • ii. Don't disclose personal system passwords or other security details to other staff, volunteers or external agents and don't use anyone else's login; this compromises the security of SpunOut. If someone else gets to know your password, ensure you change it or get the IT manager to help you. Be nice. (Note 2).
      • iii. If you leave your computer unattended without logging off, you are responsible for any misuse of it while you're away.
      • iv. When using a personal computer or internet enabled device to connect to internal SpunOut services, such as email, calendar and the SpunOut Content Management System (CMS) be sure to have a password enabled on your device. If your device is stolen or lost having a passlock will prevent any unauthorized access to SpunOut services.
      • v. If using Public Access Computers to access any services on the Intranet, it is vitally important that you Log-Out of these services when finished.
      • vii. The SpunOut CMS should NEVER be accessed from public computers, unless absolutely necessary.
      • viii. NEVER use Company Credit Cards on websites that have not been verified by the IT Manager.
      • ix. The SpunOut CMS is to be only accessed by staff and volunteers cleared by the IT Manager.
      • x. All websites that require you to login with a username and password, and where it is necessary that SpunOut has an account, must have only one account for SpunOut. The IT Manager must be informed of the account details, specifically username and password.
      • xi. Confidential account details, be it mission critical systems, or external online systems, must…
        • a. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES be divulged to anyone outside of the organisation without permission from management or IT.
        • b.UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES be divulged to non-relevant members of staff or volunteers.
        • c. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES be posted online in any form.
        • d.UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES be sent via email or any other electronic means, unless cleared by IT Support.
        • e.ONLY be transmitted by speech, paper (in office only), password protected files on a physical medium, i.e. thumbdrive.
      • xii. IT Support will ensure all equipment is properly configured with Anti-Viral, Anti-Spyware, Firewalls and other relevant security software. Staff, under no circumstances, should interfere with the operation of this software on any machine.

      3. Information about people
      If you're recording or obtaining information about individuals, make sure you are not breaking Data Protection legislation (your IT Manager can give you more information). It is up to all staff members to keep themselves abreast of the current legislation on this matter.

      4 .While you are a representative of SpunOut when you're on the Internet…

      • i. Make sure your actions are in the interest (and spirit) of SpunOut and don't leave SpunOut open to legal action (e.g. libel).
      • ii. Avoid trading insults with other people using the Internet with whom you disagree.
      • iii. Obscenities/Pornography: Don't write it, publish it, look for it, bookmark it, access it or download it.

      5. 'Electronic monitoring'
      Any information available within IT facilities must not be used to monitor the activity of individual staff in anyway (e.g. to monitor their working activity, working time, files accessed, internet sites accessed, reading of their email or private files etc.) without their prior knowledge. Exceptions are:

      • a. In the case of a specific allegation of misconduct, when the Management Team can authorise accessing of such information when investigating the allegation.>
      • b. When the IT Support section cannot avoid accessing such information whilst fixing a problem. In such instances, the person concerned will be informed immediately and information will not be disclosed wider than is absolutely necessary. In the former case their access to IT facilities may be disabled pending investigation.

      3. Email Policy

      1. When to use email:
      Use it in preference to paper to reach people quickly (saving time on photocopying / distribution) and to help reduce paper use. Think and check messages before sending (just as you would a letter or paper memo).

      2. Email System

      • i. SpunOut use Google Apps for email.
      • ii. Your email addresses will be
      • iii. By default your email will be sent out as unless you otherwise specify
      • (contact IT Support for more details)
      • iv. General help on Google Mail can be found at

      3. Use of Distribution Lists

      • i. Only send Email to those it is meant for; don't broadcast (i.e. send to large groups of people using email aliases) unless absolutely necessary since this runs the risk of being disruptive.
      • ii. Use the standard aliases (Note 3) for work related communication only.
      • iii. If you wish to broadcast other non-work related information or requests (e.g. information or opinions on political matters outside the scope of SpunOut’ campaigning, social matters, personal requests for information etc.) it is better to use a personal email account at home; don't use the standard (work) aliases.
      • iv. Keep SpunOut internal email aliases internal. If you are sending an email both to a SpunOut alias and outside of SpunOut, use the alias as a blind carbon copy (i.e. the bcc address option) so that the external recipient does not see the internal alias.
      • v. Do not email the external mailing lists without first informing the Communications Officer.

      4. General points on email use:

      • i. Use the relevant reply to address when necessary.
      • i.e. on SpunOut related business use
      • ii. When publishing or transmitting information externally be aware that you are representing SpunOut and could be seen as speaking on Community Creations’ behalf. Make it clear when opinions are personal. If in doubt, consult your collegues.
      • iii. Check your in-tray at regular intervals during the working day. Keep your inbox fairly empty so that it just contains items requiring your action. Try to decide what to do with each email as you read it (e.g. label it, reply to it, archive it, or extract just the useful information and save it somewhere logical).
      • iv. Keep electronic files of electronic correspondence, only keeping what you need to. Don't print it off and keep paper files unless absolutely necessary.
      • v. Treat others with respect and in a way you would expect to be treated yourself (e.g. don't send unconstructive feedback, argue or invite colleagues to publicise their displeasure at the actions / decisions of a colleague).
      • vi. Don't forward emails warning about viruses (they are invariably hoaxes and the IT Manager will probably already be aware of genuine viruses - if in doubt, contact them for advice).

      5. Email etiquette

      • i. Being courteous is more likely to get you the response you want. Do address someone by name at the beginning of the message, especially if you are also copying another group of people.
      • ii. Make your subject headers clear and relevant to your reader(s) e.g. Don't use subject headers like "stuff" Don't send a subject header of, say "accounts" to the accountant
      • iii. Try to keep to one subject per email, especially if the content is complex. It is better for your reader(s) to have several emails on individual issues, which also makes them easy to file and retrieve later. One email covering a large variety of issues is likely to be misunderstood or ignored.
      • iv. Capitals (e.g. NOW) can also be used to emphasise words, but should be used sparingly as it commonly perceived as 'shouting'.
      • v. Don't open email unless you have a reasonably good expectation of what it contains.
      • vi. NEVER open an attachment on an unsolicited email without first checking with IT Support.
      • vii. IF you receive unsolicited suspicious attachments from staff members Alert IT Support immediately.
      • viii. Understand how forwarding an email works:
        • a. If you forward mail, it appears (to the reader) to come from the originator (like passing on a sealed envelope).
        • b. If you forward mail *and edit it* in the process, it appears to come from you - with the originator's details usually embedded in the message. This is to show that the original mail is no longer intact (like passing on an opened envelope).

      6. Email Signatures
      Make your signature look something like this…

      Jason Coomey
      Web Developer

      Sean MacBride House
      48 Fleet Street
      Dublin 2
      Phone: 00353 (0)83 148 4527
      Twitter: @SpunOut
      YouTube: SpunoutMedia

      A cool video to explain what SpunOut does click here.

      SpunOut is an independent youth powered national non-profit working to help young people people create personal and social change. SpunOut combines an interactive online community providing health and lifestyle information, signposting to help services, an alternative youth media space, dynamic discussion forums, and a platform for youth participation, campaigns and advocacy. SpunOut reaches over 550,000 users online each year, millions more through the media and has won numerous awards including a Golden Spider Award, a Net Visionary Award and a most recently a Nokia Digital Media Award in 2012.

      4. Calendar Policy

      1. Why Use Calendar

      • The Calendar must be used by all staff allowing others to see when they are available or otherwise engaged. It also allows for informing other people of events that they may need to attend by sending out invites.

      2. Calendar System

      • i. SpunOut use Google Apps for the Calendar.
      • ii. You logon to the calendar using your email logon details.
      • iii. General help on Google Mail can be found at

      3. Use of Calendar

      • i. You may view other staff member’s calendars in conjunction with your own.
      • ii. You may invite other members of Staff to events put in the calendar by you.
      • iii. You must always have the SpunOut Calendar visible as this contains important office dates and meetings.
      • iv. The SpunOut Calendar is visible to and editable by all staff members, there is no need to send invites when posting an event to this calendar.
      • v. You may set your calendar to send free SMS text reminders to your phone. Contact IT Support for more Information.

      5. Bits and pieces

      1. Hardware and Software
      All purchases should be approved by the IT Manager and hardware purchase requests must be accompanied by 3 quotations, choosing either the cheapest option or the option recommended by the IT Manager.

      2. Installing Software
      Get permission from IT support before you install any software (including public domain software - see note 5) on equipment owned and/or operated by SpunOut.

      3. Data transfer and storage on the File System

      • i. Keep master copies of important data on the Online Filing System and not solely on your PC's hard drive or compact discs. Otherwise it will not be backed up and is therefore at risk.
      • ii. Ask for advice from IT Support if you need to store, transmit or handle large quantities of data, particularly images or audio and video. These large files use up disc space very quickly and can bring the network to a standstill.
      • iii. Be considerate about storing personal (non-SpunOut) files on SpunOut machines.
      • iv. Don't move files which are accessible centrally onto your machine unless you have good reason (i.e. you intend to amend them or you need to reference them and the central copies are to be changed or deleted).

      4. Personal Use
      Use of facilities for leisure or personal purposes (e.g. sending and receiving personal email, playing music and browsing the Internet) is permitted so long as such use does not

      • a. incur specific expenditure for SpunOut
      • b. impact on your performance of your job (this is a matter between each member of staff and their manager
      • c. break the law
      • d. bring SpunOut into disrepute

      5. Care of equipment

      • Don't re-arrange how equipment is plugged in (computers, power supplies, network cabling, modems etc.) without first contacting IT Support.
      • Don't eat or drink around equipment.
      • Any servers within the office are to be accessed only by the IT manager.

      6. service agreement for the Youth Information System

      By ​completing the form at the bottom of a article​ and requesting contact be made with you to receive further information you are agreeing to our terms and conditions for the service. Upon ​submitting the form,​ your details will be sent to ​the Youth Information Centre ​​you select and kept on our system for the duration of your contact. Your first name, email address and phone number will be sent to the ​centre. The centres responding to these queries are run by ​Youth Work Ireland, ​​YMC​A​ ​and​ Crosscare​​.

      The system is designed to put the ​you in touch with ​a local youth information officer ​so you can ​get extra information or clarity on a topic covered by an article on ​Your ​contact details will be privately, and securely kept by for the sole purpose of providing ​you with this information. The contact details will never be used for any other purpose ​other ​than the above information provision, and will ​be shared with Youth Work Ireland, YMCA or Crosscare and ​never with any other organisation or entity. All contact data is encrypted. ​A week after your query has been dealt with and case ​deemed 'closed' by the youth information officer, we will email ​you a satisfaction survey ​so we can learn from your experience with the service​ and improve it for future users​.

      ​Three months​ after your case has been marked 'closed'​​ your contact information​ ​will be deleted from ​your query making ​it anonymous and ​it ​will not be connected to ​you in any way​ thereafter​. ​The remaining ​information​ about your case​ will be used solely for ​analysis by ​, ​Youth Work Ireland, Crosscare​, ​YMCA​ and their funders​ to better understand the needs of ​the people who use the service.

      If a user wishes to withdraw their consent and be removed from the system​ at any time​ please contact the system administrator of ​by emailing

      7. Notes

      1. Work done for SpunOut on personal machines still comes under the bounds of this policy. Files and procedures on said machines must comply with the policies laid out above, especially those in reference to Security.
      2. Personal passwords: Disclosure to other staff, volunteers or external agents: This may be necessary in some circumstances. Such a practice is allowed only if sanctioned by a member of the Management Team after discussion with the Head of IT. If the password is disclosed for a one-off task, the owner must ensure that his / her password is changed (by contacting IT Support) as soon as the task is completed.
      3. Email aliases are pre-defined 'shortcuts' also known as ‘mailing-lists’ for distributing internal email to specific groups of people. Please Check with IT Support for a current list of aliases.
      4. Webmail accounts are personal email accounts that are stored on the Internet and can be accessed from anywhere with a standard browser, e.g. home or cybercafé. IT Support can advise you on setting up such an account.
      5. Public domain software or Freeware: This is software that is available free of charge, usually by downloading from the internet.

      8. Facebook Messenger App

      We are in the final stages of launching a Facebook Messenger App. It is a simple app designed to allow users to access popular content from Facebook Messenger conversations. At is stands we do not store any Facebook data for users from Facebook's platform. We do not save any information from each chat carried out over the service and we do not link any information. When you start a conversation you will be given prompts and these prompts will trigger articles to be sent to your messenger inbox. All conversation responses are processed on's server via HTTPS secure protocol and are not saved on our server.