Unit 304 – Using Collaborative Technologies

Aim of this unit

This unit is about the ability to use collaborative technologies such as IT tools and devices for collaborative working and communications, such as web or video conferencing, instant messaging/chat, online phone and video calls; online forums, social networking sites, wikis, and other centralised depositories for documents, blogging, RSS and data feeds, bulk SMS or online work management tools.

On completion of this unit, a candidate should be able to manage and effectively integrate and facilitate the safe use of multiple IT tools and devices so that groups can work collaboratively and effectively by:

  • setting and implementing guidelines for using collaborative technologies;
  • integrating IT tools and devices and creating environments to exploit their potential;
  • managing risks, permissions, and data flow; and
  • moderating and solving complex problems with the use of collaborative technologies;

Examples of context: Typical collaborative activities may include developing guidelines and instructions for a work team about the use of social networking; moderating online conference sessions or web discussion groups for a professional community of interest.

Section One

1. Stay safe and secure when working with collaborative technology

In today’s online world you need to ensure both you and your data are safe and protected from those wishing to steal your data or cause harm to you. Knowing the best ways to protect your data and work to protocols that ensure your safety is paramount. In this unit, we look at the many collaborative tools and technologies that can aid in your online journey.

It is important to understand the legal implications of using technology that may store and share documents or communication. Always make sure you check the terms and conditions of any such services before using them, as failing to do so can lead to significant legal issues down the line.

You should also be aware of the security measures available for online collaboration tools. Many services offer basic security measures such as password protection and encryption, but you should research any services you are interested in to ensure they meet the standard of security expected.

When using collaborative technologies, be aware of who else may be able to access your data or documents. If you are working with a team, then make sure each member is aware of the security measures in place and that all members can be trusted with this information.

It is also important to consider how you will back up your work when using any online service. While the service may offer some backup options, it is always best to regularly save and store a local version of your documents as well. This way if anything goes wrong, you can easily restore your work.

Finally, always be careful when sharing documents or any other data with outside parties. Make sure the recipient is trustworthy and that all security measures are in place to ensure they cannot misuse the information they receive.

By following these tips, you will stay safe and secure while using collaborative technology and ensure the best possible security for your data. With a little preparation, you can trust that your work is safe and secure.

1.1 Explain what and why guidelines need to be established for working with collaborative technology

Collaborative technology guidelines are set by your organisation or community of interest. The guidelines entail the use of security, safety, copyright, plagiarism, libel, confidentiality, and data protection.

Guidelines need to be established so that all parties working with collaborative technology understand the parameters that they are working towards and the rules involved. In order to build healthy working relationships and rapport, it is vital these guidelines are clear and transparent. Examples of good guidelines include:

  • Implementation of all necessary privacy precautions. (Keep personal information private, especially on business-based platforms).
  • Ensure all your work is a truthful representation and self-researched.
  • Protect confidentiality and respect the information you have possession of, whilst safeguarding the confidentiality of the business.
Working together on an online project to solve problems and provide a solution within the team
Working together on an online project to solve problems and provide a solution within the team

1.2 Develop and implement guidelines for good practice in working with collaborative technology

  • Always respond to comments and feedback from other parties promptly.
  • Be aware of how you write information in written form as some phrasing can be misinterpreted.
  • Keep records of information in order to prove the legitimacy of things promised or communicated/said.
  • Where possible use collaborative technology to show the progression of ideas from start to finish with detail of dates, etc. Guidelines to implement a poll or word document.

Good practice guidelines vary depending on each individual workplace. However, there are a few common practices which are carried through most workplaces such as:

  • Communication management: This is the planning, implementing and monitoring of communication through a business. There is a set standard that is expected from an existing member of staff, especially when working collaboratively, sometimes this is written in a business policy as part of a person’s employment contract.
  • Data Protection and confidentiality: In the EU, there is currently a law called GDPR which is expected to be followed to aid in data protection for individuals using a service. A business is expected to treat personal data with the utmost confidentiality and password-protect sensitive documentation as well as dispose of confidential waste efficiently. The UK government defines GDPR information as “‘data protection principles.’ They must make sure the information is:
    • used fairly, lawfully and transparently
    • used for specified, explicit purposes
    • used in a way that is adequate, relevant and limited to only what is necessarily accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date
    • kept for no longer than is necessary
    • handled in a way that ensures appropriate security, including protection against unlawful or unauthorised processing, access, loss, destruction or damage”
  • Safety and Online Security: This is usually mentioned to ensure that items such as spam emails, scams, and other data breaches are limited in the workplace. It is expected that as a member of staff that anti-virus software is installed on a mobile device (I.E laptops, tablets, etc) if a person is using it for business needs as well as ensuring the anti-virus software on a work computer is up to date and to inform I.T if it is not. It is vital for a business to practising safety and remain vigilant online to ensure that there is minimal risk of security breaches, this is why it is important and written in guidelines to not share passwords, encrypt sensitive data and ensure when working collaboratively that permissions are used in an appropriate way.
  • Website authenticity: This guideline ties into safety and security but is equally as important which is why it is often mentioned in a separate section. It can be difficult for o be able to identify a fake or scam-based website which is why it is important to verify if it is trustworthy and safe to use. According to the SLS store online the five easy ways to verify if a website is safe or not are:
    • Pay Close Attention to the URL
    • Check connection security indicators
    • View certificate details
    • Look for Trust Seals
    • Consult the Google Safe Browsing Transparency Report

1.3 Explain how to establish an identity or present information that will promote trust

There are various methods to promote trust. This can be done by personalising your page in order to legitimate your identity. By including contact information, membership in professional bodies and recommendations, you can become more appealing and trustworthy as someone to work with. An example of collaborative technologies in this sense would be LinkedIn.

You can recommend someone for the good work they have done once you have worked with them personally. This is like a guarantee to the other potential party that their profile is something that you can claim it is and they are reliable to work with.

There are multiple ways to promote trust when working collaboratively with someone. This could be:

  • Responding to emails in a timely manner: this shows that there is a focus on the task at hand and that there is a clear and open line of communication between all parties.
  • The language used: When written online, the tone of a message may be misinterpreted, therefore ensuring that clear and precise language is used is very important to build trust as it shows exactly what is meant to be said and there is little room for miscommunication.
  • Record everything: By recording everything or keeping a record (I.E saving emails) allows there to be a paper trail if things end up taking an unexpected turn. This adds cover to all those involved and will make it easier for the source of the issue to be identified further down the road.
  • Keep to one set of collaborative tools: By using the same tools from the beginning it shows that there is a clear path which has been followed and there is a level of consistency that aids in building trust between two parties. If tools are being swapped and changed then it is easy to see this as unreliable or inconsistent which can allow doubts of trust to form.
  • Other methods of promoting trust could include links, recommendations, contact information, workplace standards, returns policies, complaints policies and there is a lot more.
Use of best practices within a team to ensure everyone is safe and secure when working online
Use of best practices within a team to ensure everyone is safe and secure when working online

1.4 Develop and implement guidelines for checking the authenticity of identities and different types of information

Developing and implementing guidelines for authenticity is very important as it adds an additional level of safety and security to a business. There are many ways to authenticate what a person is saying or the work that they are doing. This can be done by:

  • Cross-referencing: If an individual gives you information as a method to authenticate their claims then it is good practice to cross-reference this information. This can be done by checking social media channels such as Linked In, obtaining professional references from past employers, and reverse web searching work they are claiming is their own to see if it is being claimed elsewhere. (A note: If it was designed for a business and is then being found both in a portfolio for the individual and they are also using it for the intended purpose then this would not be suitable to discredit the individual, it would need to another artist, designer etc)
  • Online searching: In a similar vein to cross-referencing, an online search of social media accounts and business portfolios can add authenticity to an individual. This could also be done through video conferencing/ a video interview to verify the individual is indeed who they say they are.
  • Professional bodies: Checking professional bodies’ databases for an individual is a good way of authenticating who they are as they can verify if said individual is a member or not. This information can then be used to determine if the person is truthful or not and if there are discrepancies then the individual can be asked about it and have the opportunity to present evidence that there may have simply been an oversight or a slight miscommunication.

If the identity of the user is legitimate, they will normally be open about their location, current and past employment and other details that can be linked back to the source to prove legitimacy.

1.5 Analyse and plan for the risks in the use of collaborative technologies for different tasks

When carrying out collaboratively there is always going to be some element of risk involved with carrying out certain tasks. These need to be assessed before using collaborative technologies to ensure that whilst risks may occur, there are minimal chances of them causing damage. These can be areas such as:

  • Language: Whilst using collaborative technologies, language used should remain professional and ensure that there is little room for it to be interpreted in an offensive manner. To plan for this, there should be clear expectations set before collaboration begins, whether it is through web conferencing, emails or group chats on apps such as WhatsApp.
  • Plagiarism and Copyright: There should be very guidelines put in place if an individual is suspected of plagiarism whilst working collaboratively. Within most organisations, there should be a plagiarism policy which will follow if there is suspicion of plagiarism. It should then be reported to a manager, and this can be confidential if the individual wishes and a full investigation occurs to see if the suspicion was necessary and the actions are taken further if needed. Plagiarism can have a serious impact on the reputation of work; therefore, it is important for this to be resolved quickly. In the same vein of plagiarism, it is important to understand copyright laws and the copyright individuals have over their content, to ensure that it is being used in the correct way and avoid any legal issues further down the line.
  • Disclosure of sensitive information: When working collaboratively, there is always a risk of information being sent to the wrong person by mistake. To plan to protect sensitive information, most businesses will have data protection guidelines which include elements such as password-protecting documents, encrypting sensitive information and adjusting permissions based upon people’s roles when using shared documents.
  • Data loss and power cuts: When working collaboratively, there is a chance of working over a distance, to ensure that data loss does not occur when accidents like power cuts happen, it is essential to back-up work on a regular basis. This backup should be stored securely from the original and ideally in a different place. I.E if a word document is saved to a laptop, then it could also be saved to One Drive in case the laptop’s hard drive corrupts.
  • The various risks when utilising collaborative technologies are the misuse of images, inappropriate disclosure of information, inappropriate language, disrespect of confidentiality, technical errors – losing data, and overall lack of due diligence.
  • To combat most of these factors it is sensible to be mindful of your own personal behaviour and how it could be misinterpreted over collaborative technologies. Adhere to the normal standards you would convey in normal face-to-face contacts/meetings.
  • For technical errors, the user could record conversations on an external piece of equipment such as a memory stick or camera or voice recording. Backing up information onto an external drive that only trusted individuals can access would also be a wise move.
  • The use of Google sheets and docs allows for automatic saving to prevent the loss of data. However, you should also download and back up on an external drive for additional peace of mind and as another form of redundancy.
Part of working safely and securing online is managing the risks associated with spam and hacking of data from outside of the team
Part of working safely and securing online is managing the risks associated with spam and hacking of data from outside of the team

1.6 Analyse and manage risks in the use of collaborative technologies

Managing risks is very important when working collaborative as this ensures that there is a smaller chance of these risks becoming a problem. Based on the list in question 1.5, here is how these risks can be managed:

  • Language: Ensure that the team is aware of the language deemed appropriate based upon workplace guidelines and escalate if this is not followed.
  • Plagiarism: Investigate claims of plagiarism to ensure that work is not being stolen from another person. Reporting suspected plagiarism can be helpful in avoiding difficult situations further down the road as well as identifying if an idea, even if original, is too similar to work that already exists to be usable.
  • Copyright: Copyrights can be managed by understanding the different types of copyright and how these can be used in the workplace. If the content is licensed to be free for commercial use then at the college, we would be allowed to use this as part of our marketing campaigns, if it is not and we still wish to use it, we would need to seek the licensing as to not infringe on copyright laws.
  • Disclosure of sensitive information: To manage the risk which comes with sensitive information when working in a collaborative environment, it is best to password protect or encrypt data so only the individual with the password or encryption key can open the documents.
  • Data loss: Data loss can be managed by having an easy-to-access backup if something goes wrong, this could be on a cloud-based service such as Google Drive or by having it backed up on another hard drive or computer.

Risks to factor into the contingency plan should include -What to do in the event of

  • Inappropriate disclosure of personal information
    • Misuse of images
    • Inappropriate language
    • Respect confidentially
    • Copy lists
    • What to do in a power cut
    • About data loss
Adopting collaborative tools to ensure the team work safe and secure whilst being as productive and efficient as possible
Adopting collaborative tools to ensure the team work safe and secure whilst being as productive and efficient as possible

Section Two

2. Plan and set up IT tools and devices for collaborative working

Establishing robust procedures for everyone in your team to access what they need when they need and likewise, those who should have restricted access are all part of the planning phase to ensure collaboration is seamless and with as few issues as possible.

You may need to consult your IT department to ensure the security and integrity of the systems and devices you’ll be using are up to scratch, as well as choose the type of tools and hardware that will best enable everyone on the team to communicate and collaborate.

From web conferencing platforms, shared drives, collaboration software, and virtual whiteboards, to more sophisticated hardware like interactive displays and mixed reality solutions, the range of options is huge and could take a while to decide what’s best for your team.

Once you have chosen the right tools, it’s time to get them set up and configured so that everyone can use them straight away. This includes ensuring that the hardware is properly installed if needed and that users have access to all the applications they need. It is also important to provide a comprehensive training program for those who are new to any of the tools you’ll be using, so they can get up to speed quickly and start working collaboratively with their colleagues.

Finally, it’s important to consider how you will maintain the tools and devices once they are up and running. This includes making sure that your systems are patched regularly with the latest updates, ensuring that any hardware is serviced and maintained according to manufacturer instructions, as well as providing ongoing training and support for users who need help or have queries.

Planning and setting up IT tools and devices for collaborative working is a key part of ensuring successful collaboration. Taking the time to ensure everything runs smoothly from the outset will pay dividends in the long run as your team works better together.

2.1 Explain the features, benefits and limitations of different collaborative IT tools and devices for work purposes and tasks

The purposes of collaborative working will depend according to the task at hand. That can include sharing, displaying and recording information which then can be used for discussion and reflection; developing ideas via researching and contributing to research; exporting information into other formats or managing data and identities.

There are many different types of collaborative tools which are used for work purposes and work-related tasking. A collaborative tool is defined as “A collaboration tool that helps people to collaborate. The purpose of a collaboration tool is to support a group of two or more individuals to accomplish a common goal or objective. Collaboration tools can be of a non-technological nature such as paper, flipcharts, post-it notes or whiteboards. They can also include software tools and applications such as collaborative software.

The features, benefits and limitations of different collaborative IT tools and devices for work are as follows:

Mobile computing devices such as a laptop, smartphone or tablet:

  • Benefits = Communication anywhere & time/Entertainment
  • Limitations = The risk of hackers & security

Headsets:

  • Examples = Headphones, Bluetooth headsets and Gaming headsets
  • Benefits = Talk when driving anytime & allows for hands-free usage.
  • Limitations = The range of headsets is limited.

Content Management Software:

  • Examples = Google, Microsoft & iCloud
  • Benefits = You can use it anywhere – mobile – on your phone, files are secure and accessed wherever.
  • Limitations = Maintenance costs (Can cost a lot of money)

Forum:

  • Examples = Car dealerships such as BMW. Audi etc
  • Benefits = Build relationships with visitors and gain further credibility
  • Limitations: A tremendous amount of commitment and hard work to get started.

Voice over IP (VOIP) software:

  • Examples = Skype & MSN Messenger
  • Benefits = Low cost, call forwarding and waiting, voicemail, caller id, and three-way calling.
  • Limitations = The connection quality is not always high.

Other collaborative tools include:

  • One Drive – This is a cloud-based system provided by Microsoft. The benefits of One Drive are that as a marketing team, whilst working from home, we are able to send documents, PDFs, spreadsheets, files, etc to each other with ease and in a timely manner. The limitations of this are that if there is one person who is having internet issues then they will not be able to access their work and also there is a storage capacity limit. Whilst for other teams, this may not be an issue but due to the nature of our work, this space can get filled quickly given our work is normally very large in file size due to being heavily based on images, sounds and video content.
  • Teams– This is an online service provided by Microsoft which allows for a group of people to host a private video call which can online be accessed via a specifically generated link. The benefits of teams are it is included in the Microsoft package that the college holds, is a private video link which requires an accepted invitation to be added to and there can be up to 250 people added to a single call, which is plenty of room for our marketing team. The limitations of teams are that the audio quality is not as good as other video conferencing apps such as Zoom and there is often a lag when individuals start speaking so it is the repetition of what is being said is often needed. Also, it will only allow 4 callers’ videos to show at any one time, therefore it is not aiding in the lagging issue when it is trying to jump from person to person.
  • Google Drive – This is another cloud-based storage system that is provided by Google. The benefits of Google Drive are it is a free service, can be used to share documents across the whole team and can open documents online to save physical storage data. However, in a similar thread to the One Drive, this is a very limited free storage capacity (which can be upgraded for a cost) and can be filled very quickly given the size of the file types we share.
Google apps make it easier than ever to collaborate with your team even whilst being mobile
Google apps make it easier than ever to collaborate with your team even whilst being mobile

2.2 Determine the IT tools and processes needed for archiving the outcomes of collaborative working

The IT tools and processes needed for archiving the outcomes of collaborative working should be tools which are measurable when investigating how successful a collaborative project has been. Tools should include but are not be limited to:

  • Shared word documents: These allow for comments and feedback to be recorded directly on the document allowing for a clear path of where and when development and changes occurred through the collaborative process.
  • Call transcripts/ Video Call recordings: These allow an individual to not only see what was said but also the tone and context for which it was said.
  • Project Plans: These allow an individual to see and assess the different stages the project went through and the process it took to come to the final outcome of the collaborative project.
  • Emails: An email chain will give insight into the feedback, instructions being given and any additional dialogue between collaborators when conducting the project.

2.3 Summarise ways to integrate different collaborative technology tools and devices for a range of purposes, tasks and communication media

Integrating tools and devices requires us to look at how these elements can be broken down and then how they fit in line with using collaborative tools. Tools and devices should be looked at as software and hardware as the tools used in collaborative technology are normal software packages and the device that uses them can vary and is normally a piece of hardware. Hardware can include the likes of a mobile, laptop, desktop, tablet, etc whilst software could be considered as Google Drive, Social Media accounts, One Drive, and Zoom, to name a few.

How these can be integrated together is really dependent on what each hardware can run and if it is compatible with the desired software.  These could take the forms of:

  • Hardware: Laptop/ Desktop – this can be used in conjunction with software such as One Drive for document sharing between collaborators and leaving comments on others’ work to help aid their design/ writing process. It could be using Microsoft Teams to allow for video calling between the team for a meeting to ensure everyone is okay, has work to focus on and plans for the future. Another piece of software that could be used is social media channels like Twitter. This can be used to track engagement on current campaigns to ensure the audience is responding in a positive way the data generated can then be placed into an excel document in One Drive for everyone to see and analyse as a unit rather than sending it out individually and having to collect all the relating comments into another document.
  • Hardware: Phone – this can be used in conjunction with software such as Outlook or Gmail to ensure fast responses are given to emails, even on the go. It can be used for video conferencing software such as Zoom and Teams to take and receive calls. This could ensure that the user has good audio quality as phones are designed for this purpose whereas a laptop is more based on productivity.
  • Hardware: Tablet – A cross between a phone and a laptop allows for being able to handle a mixture of what a laptop and phone can separately offer as a collaborative unit. An individual using a tablet can still access software packages like Microsoft One Drive, Google Docs and Outlook/Gmail with ease allowing for comments and responses to be given on the go, whilst also having cameras and mics built-in to allow for that quick video conference on Zoom or Teams if it is needed.

This use of mixing collaborative software and devices allows teams to save on time, budget and resources. This use of internet-based tools allows for everyone to be connected even when having to work apart or when offices are located across different locations.

Access to information and being compatible with any device is the number one consideration when collaborating with your team
Access to information and being compatible with any device is the number one consideration when collaborating with your team

2.4 Explain potential access and compatibility issues with integrating different collaborative technology tools and devices

There are a number of different access and compatibility issues which can come from integrating collaborative technologies and devices. For example

  • Phones and Tablets: These devices run based on operating systems that differ from laptops and if they are out of date then these devices may no longer run the software needed to perform the collaborative tasks. Also, phones and tablets, often use apps or software as opposed to the full software package which could potentially limit the capacity of what an individual is able to achieve on the device and can hinder working collaboratively with other people. Another issue which could occur is these devices run predominantly on two main operating types which are Android and IOS. These two operating systems are not compatible in any way which means if a team uses software from android, the same software type may not be available on IOS and vice versa.
  • Laptops and Desktops: Laptops are great for working collaboratively as they allow for portability and work will full versions of software packages, unlike tablets. However, these devices require frequent charging which if unavailable means an individual is now no longer able to work collaboratively until it can be recharged. Also the more a laptop and desktop age the more it slows down and becomes out of date as newer collaborative software packages require faster processors, better graphics cards and more for them to function at a basic capacity, which if the laptop does not have can cause issues running the software and with how quickly work can be produced using the software.

2.5 Select, connect and configure combinations that exploit the capabilities and potential of collaborative tools and devices

As previously discussed in the questions above, there are many ways that collaborative tools and devices can be utilised together, however, there are ways that these capabilities can be further exploited to the benefit of a user. Additional products can be added to improve the quality of collaboration being received.

For example, adding a set of headphones with a mic attached to it will improve the hearing and audio quality of a video conference. This can be added to a number of the previously mentioned devices to aid in making collaborative tools better. Another is by adding additional software such as screen share as this allows collaborators to all be able to see exactly what an individual may be referencing when carrying out a conference call. This can lead to better comments being made and, in a method, which could be recorded for a record of where the suggestions came from.

Team working with the same software and hardware in order to minimise issues when working collaboratively
Team working with the same software and hardware in order to minimise issues when working collaboratively

2.6 Resolve access and compatibility problems so that different collaborative tools and devices work successfully

Compatibility problems and access issues can be successfully overcome by carrying out the following steps:

  • Ensure operating systems are up to date: If there has been a new update for an operating system then there will likely be compatibility issues if left unresolved. By going into the system settings of a device it is easy to see if updates are waiting to be installed.
  • Replace out-of-date products: If updates are not waiting to be installed and software is not compatible with that system age, then it may be time to look at getting a newer device to run the software as more and more will become incompatible further limiting what can be done with a device.
  • Back-up all work: By backing up work if a file becomes corrupted or inaccessible, then the backup version may be used as a method of overcoming this issue.

Save in different file types: to allow accessibility across a variety of different platforms it is wise to save work in multiple format types as this can increase the chances of different devices being able to open them.

Preparing collaborative technologies for the whole team to use
Preparing collaborative technologies for the whole team to use

Section Three

3. Prepare collaborative technologies for use

Knowing the best way to implement IT tools and devices for collaborative working will ensure you and your team are protected from those wishing to steal your data and ensure that you have sound protocols in place to work within best practices. Planning who does what and has access to which pieces of software and hardware will ensure smooth collaborative working and management of issues for IT as your brand evolves.

The first step is to create an inventory of all IT tools and devices the team will use for collaboration. This should include computers, printers, emails, video conferencing software and more. Once you have identified these technologies, begin setting up access protocols and passwords. It’s important to ensure that only those who need access are able to access any of the tools.

Next, you should establish procedures for using the technology in a secure manner. This may include passwords, access control lists and secure file-sharing protocols that prevent data leakage or unwanted access to private conversations between team members.

Additionally, create security policies and educate staff on best practices to protect their own devices from malicious software and other threats.

Finally, create an audit trail for all IT tools and devices used by the team. This will ensure that any changes or modifications to the technology are tracked and recorded in a secure location. This can also help identify unauthorized access to data or software which could be used to target your business in the future.

As technology continues to evolve, it’s important to stay ahead of the curve and update your security policies accordingly. With the right tools in place and a comprehensive understanding of how to use them safely, you can ensure that you have secure collaboration options for your team.

By taking proactive steps such as risk assessment, policy development, training and proper monitoring of the technology in use, you can ensure that your brand is operating from a secure platform.

Collaborative working will become more efficient and the IT team will be able to ensure that all data remains safe and secure. Taking these steps can help you protect your business from cyber threats and offer a smooth experience for collaboration within your organization.

3.1 Evaluate data management principles, issues and methods

Data management is “an administrative process that includes acquiring, validating, storing, protecting, and processing required data to ensure the accessibility, reliability, and timeliness of the data for its users.” Data management is focused on how data is handled and when working collaboratively there are issues which can arise from that data handling. These issues could be:

  • How valuable is the data to business needs? and how secure does it need to be?
  • How will be working on the collaboration and who will they be letting have access to it?
  • Are the permissions of who can access the document and why clearly defined?
  • Do special permissions or encryption needed to send the data?
  • Are there any legal issues regarding documents i.e. GDPR?
  • Is it safe and secure?
  • Who is responsible for it?

The questions lead a business down the path of evaluating if its data management policies are enough to keep information safe and secure. If these questions can have logical answers and be explained, then it would suggest that data management is a priority for a company. However, if there are clear areas of concern, then further guidelines and training on how to manage data should be implemented.

Methods which can be used to ensure that these issues do not occur could be seen as the following:

  • Abiding by data management acts such as:
  • The General Data Protection Regulation Act
  • The Computer Misuse Act
  • Data security and recovery
  • Workplace guidelines and agreements
  • Service Level Agreements

These methods add a level of legality and security to the way a business goes about handling data. The data acts give guidance to levels of accountability on a legal level, whilst workplace guidelines ensure all staff know what is expected of them and how they are meant to send data from one person to another.

If those guidelines were then not followed it would be understandable to know there will be repercussions. Whilst a business should look into data security and recovery to ensure that their data is held in a safe space only by those who should have access to it. A company which decides not to get this, risks having data stolen and having further issues down the line.

Managing team permissions in order to develop and reinforce team-building protocols
Managing team permissions in order to develop and reinforce team-building protocols

3.2 Manage levels of access and permissions for different purposes

Access and permissions should vary depending on the purpose of the data. The following examples would give insight into the level of access and permissions for different pieces of data:

  • User information: This can be accessed to varying degrees by all staff through an internal portal. General information such as user ID, email and photo are available to all staff.
  • Staff information: Staff email and contact information is available to everyone, and staff personal details are only accessible to their managers and HR.
  • Website Access: Everyone can access the general website just like the public; however, front-of-house coding is limited to select teams and back-of-house coding is only accessible by lines of communication to the web development team.
  • Campaign statistics: The campaign statistics are only accessible to the marketing team but made on occasion available on request.  This request does not give direct access to them, the marketing team will generate excel reports and pass that reports on.
  • Payroll and Bank information: This can only be accessed by the HR team; no other member of staff is authorised to access it.
  • Teams meetings: The individual who sets up the meeting has the authority over the meeting. Others are given permission to enter via a link or leave however, the individual with the authority can determine who is coming in and when.

3.3 Select and integrate different elements across applications to create environments for collaborative technologies

Collaborative technologies are slowly being more and more integrated into workplace environments as they are developed and refined due to being able to take a lot of these collaborative tools anywhere thanks to portable devices and adapting workplaces. While the traditional office is still alive and thriving, collaborative tools can be integrated to allow teams across multiple locations to work as one cohesive unit.

By adding collaborative tools like Teams, Zoom or Skype, teams can hold training sessions, and department meetings and have general conversion at a much quicker and cheaper pace.

Collaborative tools are not just limited to meetings though, with the likes of Dropbox and One Drive, work can easily be shared amongst a team allowing everyone to be able to access it all together and leave comments/ feedback without having to wait for it to appear in an inbox.  These tools create a virtual work environment online, where distance is no longer an issue.

Adjusting privacy settings so you and your team are protected when working online
Adjusting privacy settings so you and your team are protected when working online

3.4 Set and adjust settings to facilitate the use of collaborative technologies by others

There are many settings which need to be considered when working collaboratively with others. These settings allow for work to be carried out with ease, regardless of location. Some examples are:

  • One of the most common is the security setting, or in other terms, the ‘firewall’ settings. Firewalls are used to protect from unauthorised access, however, some firewall settings can inhibit the use of a browser correctly, by incorrectly preventing webpages from showing. I have often had to contact I.T. to raise a ticket so that they can investigate and amend my personal settings to grant me access and permissions to certain sites to aid my job role.
  • Software settings: When using certain software, a user is able to customise settings to allow the software to work in a way which suits them. When working collaboratively, the main settings which will need to be looked at are permissions as this is the main setting which determines what others can do to a document.
  • Hardware settings: Hardware settings typically refer to elements such as font, colour, styling, layout, etc of a document or piece of work. Depending on the work which is being created these elements may be set by a brief or could completely be up to the people working on them.
  • Browser settings: Brower settings are the settings that you use when searching the internet. This can include Cookies, pop-up settings or something as basic as which browser you chose to use.
  • Their users and sites. Additionally, to this pop-up management is another browser setting that can be altered to block or allow them depending on the benefit or hindrance they can cause.
  • The use of cookies with the company website allows us to monitor those using the site; like the most popular pages and any error pages, you see. We use this aggregated information to improve our website however it never identifies individual users. Checking to see if your website is mobile-friendly and if not why is a good way of seeing what settings are working and which ones need to be adapted too.

3.5 Manage data flow to benefit collaborative working

Working collaboratively is an essential part of any business as it allows teams to work together, generate new ideas and refine work quickly and effectively. When looking at how to manage data flow, this comes down to the behaviours that the individual implements when working with others. These behaviours should include:

  • Communication: Having an open dialogue about where data is and what is being done with it is critical as when people know what is happening, then there is a level of trust built as they are not being ignored or misled. Communication is hugely beneficial when working collaboratively as when every voice is heard and respected, the collaboration is because of an area of opinions, new ideas and feedback.
  • Sharing: In a similar vein to communication, being open with work and sharing it quickly with others is very beneficial to collaborative working as this allows others in the project to see exactly where the work is at, at the present moment, which allows for future planning and development.
  • Access Levels: When working collaboratively, everyone does not need everything. This is where access levels can be beneficial. By showing people what they need, they know that there is work happening and trust in the collaborative process but do not become overwhelmed with data they do not need for their role.
  • Training: When working collaboratively, it is essential that everyone is comfortable using the software being chosen. If they are not, then training should be offered as it is better to have training than for the individual to spend time struggling which can slow the pace of work down as well as cause insecurity to that individual.
  • Monitoring: When working collaboratively, it is important to monitor progress to ensure that a project stays on time, on budget and is bringing the desired results.

It is a key focus among many organisations to improve data management in both the private and public sectors. Attention to these systems is driven by the benefits; they can improve the efficiency of business processes, the desire to deliver new services, as well as uniformity and coordination within an organisation.

Managing data can be done through different systems.

Benefits of these include:

  • Files are able to be backed up more easily when on a central file server rather than when they are across several independent sites.
  • Files can be stored centrally allowing data to be shared throughout an organisation and they allow security ensuring users only have access to certain files.

Disadvantages can include:

  • The danger of hacking, particularly with wide area networks.
  • An expensive purchasing price.
  • If the file server breaks the files can be inaccessible.

There are things to consider when managing data as there are laws and legislations that instruct users on different factors, including subscription details. For example, when sending unsolicited emails used as part of an e-marketing campaign within my company, there must be an unsubscribe link included within the file.

Person using calendar on computer to improve time management, plan appointments, events, tasks and meetings efficiently, improve productivity
Person using calendar on computer to improve time management, plan appointments, events, tasks and meetings efficiently, improve productivity

Section Four

4. Manage tasks using collaborative technologies

Delegating responsibility across your team to ensure everyone has access to what they need and no more is vital to ensure everything runs smoothly and with as few IT issues as possible. This is where collaborative technologies come in, allowing you to manage tasks and share information quickly and easily.

Applications such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom enable remote teams to communicate with one another effectively and keep everyone on the same page. These tools also allow for efficient task management, by providing a centralized repository for all assignments, deadlines, notes, documents, and other relevant material.

These technologies can also help streamline the process by automating calendar reminders, giving everyone access to a unified view of upcoming tasks and deadlines, and enabling team members to track progress and get feedback quickly. This helps ensure that no task falls through the cracks and keeps everyone on top of their responsibilities.

In addition, collaborative technologies can also help reduce confusion and miscommunication between departments, by providing an easy way to share information across teams. This allows for more efficient decision-making and communication, which can help improve overall productivity.

Overall, managing tasks using collaborative technologies is a great way to keep your teams organized, informed and on task. With the right tools, you can ensure that everyone is on the same page and has access to the information they need to complete their tasks successfully.

This can help make sure that projects are completed on time and within budget, leading to a healthier business overall. So take the time to explore collaborative technologies today and see how they can help your teams succeed.

4.1 Determine levels of responsibility for the use of collaborative technologies

When using collaborative technologies, every person carries some level of responsibility to use the tools:

  • Everyone: It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that there is a level of respect given when using collaborative tools. Language should be held to the same level as in a workplace and most businesses extend their behavioural guidelines to working collaboratively online. When working collaboratively, it is everyone’s responsibility to pitch in with the work and contribute. If there is one person not contributing their fair share, then this can hinder the whole team’s progress.
  • Senior staff: It should be the responsibility of senior staff to moderate and set expectations when using collaborative projects. If a team starts to fall behind or not reach the expectation level, then this should be addressed before it is escalated further.
  • Management: Management should be responsible for the oversight of the collaborative process, they are the ones to decide what technologies should be used, and what the workload should be and delegate work to the desired individual. If issues are raised, then managers should be investigating them. Management should be in charge of what admin rights every person has and be setting the permissions of the work on each document.
Ensuring everyone on the team can contribute within a collaborative space
Ensuring everyone on the team can contribute within a collaborative space

4.2 Facilitate others’ responsible contributions to and engagement with collaborative technologies

When working on a collaborative project has been occurring for a while, it should be down to the manager or individual in charge of the project to start monitoring how the team is performing.

  • Engagement: Monitoring levels of engagement by different staff members shows who is committed to the project and who is coasting. This information can then be used when allocating work and when giving feedback through PDP as there may be a simple answer as to why engagement levels differ, but by monitoring it and having data to support it, a discussion can be opened up on a case by case basis or in a team meeting. This can also showcase who is getting through work quickly and should be allocated more to not only benefit the team but to keep motivation high.
  • Admin rights: Depending on the individual software, which is being used, a manager should be allocating the people’s rights to the group. This should include adding or removing people from the group, setting permissions and looking at security. These will each be determined by the individual needed to carry out the work and at what level they are needed for the collaborative process.
  • Promote trust and honesty: when working in a collaborative setting, a manager should be promoting trust and honesty among the team. If people are falling behind or not sharing work sufficiently then a manager should question it and resolve the issue before it becomes a hindrance.  

4.3 Manage the moderation of collaborative technologies

Moderation is central to good collaborative technology.  People can be quickly turned off by a large number of abusive or threatening posts and these need to be well managed.  Most systems will have some sort of flagging system so that other people can flag content as unsuitable.  

The users can then moderate this to make sure it is suitable or not.  This may be determined by policies they established or might be outside of these, in which case they need to make a judgement based on their feelings for the benefit of all.

Whilst the manager is in charge of the team; it is everyone’s responsibility to be moderating any work, comments or discussions which are happening whilst working collaboratively to ensure that there is a level of professionalism retained. Things that are deemed inappropriate, offensive or threatening should be flagged either through the system software or reported directly to the manager. The manager can then investigate the claims being made and resolve the issue.

Acquiring the data online through shared resources to deliver a collaborative approach
Acquiring the data online through shared resources to deliver a collaborative approach

4.4 Oversee the archiving of the outcomes of collaborative working

By archiving the outcomes of collaborative working, there is a reference library saved for future projects on what went well, what goals were achieved, what the conditions of working in this manner we like and any areas for improvement. These documents which are saved should be saved in line with laws such as:

  • GDPR – General Data Protection Regulations: protects an individual’s personal data when companies are storing it. They need to fully disclose what is being used and how. “The GDPR applies to ‘controllers’ and ‘processors. A controller determines the purposes and means of processing personal data. A processor is responsible for processing personal data on behalf of a controller. If you are a processor, the GDPR places specific legal obligations on you; for example, you are required to maintain records of personal data and processing activities. You will have legal liability if you are responsible for a breach. However, if you are a controller, you are not relieved of your obligations where a processor is involved – the GDPR places further obligations on you to ensure your contracts with processors comply with the GDPR. The GDPR applies to processes carried out by organisations operating within the EU. It also applies to organisations outside the EU that offer goods or services to individuals in the EU. The GDPR does not apply to certain activities including processing covered by the Law Enforcement Directive, processing for national security purposes and processing carried out by individuals purely for personal/household activities.”
  • The Computer Misuse Act (CMA) 1990: “is a key piece of legislation that criminalises the act of accessing or modifying data stored on a computer system without appropriate consent or permission. It was devised after the Regina v Gold and Schifreen case of 1987, in which two hackers remotely accessed BT’s Prestel service at a trade show using the credentials of a BT engineer.” In an archiving process this would ensure that without the appropriate level of consent, the data being archived would not be able to be accessed or modified in future situations.
  • Copyright Laws: “The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (c 48), also known as the CDPA, is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that received Royal Assent on 15 November 1988. It reformulates almost completely the statutory basis of copyright law (including performing rights) in the United Kingdom, which had, until then, been governed by the Copyright Act 1956 (c. 74). It also creates an unregistered design right and contains a number of modifications to the law of the United Kingdom on Registered Designs and patents. Essentially, the 1988 Act and amendment establish that copyright in most works lasts until 70 years after the death of the creator if known, otherwise 70 years after the work was created or published (50 years for computer-generated works). In order for a creation to be protected by copyright, it must fall within one of the following categories of work: literary work, dramatic work, musical work, artistic work, films, sound recordings, broadcasts, and typographical arrangement of published editions.” When archiving work the copyright still remains with the individual who made the work unless agreed in the terms of a contract that the employer would own the rights to all work produced therefore when archiving collaborative work, this should be confirmed to ensure that if this work is needed for use in the future, the law is still abided by.

4.5 Explain what problems can occur with collaborative technologies

Whilst working collaboratively can be very beneficial to teams, there are a few problems which could occur due to remote working:

  • Broadband issues: When working online, a reliable broadband or WIFI connection is vital. Not only carrying out work but accessing it too. If there is a constant problem, then alternatives will need to be looked into as this can slow down projects as can lead to people waiting for a response in emails or feedback on work and disrupt connectivity in video meetings.
  • Hardware: When working collaboratively, the hardware which a person is using is vital for the competition of the work. Hardware being out of date, slow or unreliable then it can impact the progress of work and the quality of work being produced.
  • Culture: When working in a collaborative setting, it is essential to ensure that the culture of the workplace is retained. There should remain an emphasis on the importance of asking for help if it is needed, training, personal development and being a team. If this is lost, then users can be left feeling unmotivated and disadvantaged.
Most problems can be solved quicker and easier by undertaking face-to-face meetings
Most problems can be solved quicker and easier by undertaking face-to-face meetings

4.6 Respond to problems with collaborative technologies and be prepared to help others to do so

Responding to problems with collaborative technologies quickly is very important for the progress of the project. Every problem will have a method of overcoming it, it just needs to be found. Using the examples in the previous question, this is how some problems could be overcome:

  • Broadband issues: Try contacting the internet provider and see if there is a reason for the inconsistent quality of the service they are providing. If they are able to resolve the problem, then this is good news. However, if they cannot, then it may require another solution such as an internet dongle being purchased to provide internet access directly to the device being used.
  • Hardware: If the hardware is making it difficult to carry out work then the following methods could be tried to overcome it:
    • Check software support – can settings be changed to run more efficiently on the device?
    • Call the support line – support lines are there to offer guidance when products do not perform in the way they are supposed to, and they can offer tips on ways to work around issues if they cannot be directly solved.
    • Chat support and online forums – This may not be an issue unique to the individual, therefore by talking to chat support or asking on an online forum, others who have faced similar issues may be able to offer advice on the issue.
    • Use diagnostics – These are built into a device and can be run to find where the issues of a device are. These will offer the solution to the issue if there is one and if not can offer guidance on what to do next.
  • Culture: to overcome problems with culture, it is the responsibility of everyone to keep lines of communication open. By talking through concerns and issues being faced with peers, an individual is likely to find support for the problems which are occurring. By engaging in communication, appropriate support such as training or feedback can be offered.

Additional Reading Material

The following guidance is not a prescriptive list of activities; they are suggested areas that a learner could show competence in to achieve this unit. Centres may use some or all of these activities or some of their own devising to teach and help learners complete this unit successfully.

1. Stay safe and secure when working with collaborative technology:

The learner should be able to and be able to understand:

Guidelines for using collaborative technology:

  • guidelines set by your organisation or community of interest
  • about uses, security, safety, copyright, plagiarism, libel, confidentiality and data protection
  • ways to communicate and promote guidelines about online security, confidentiality and data protection

Methods to promote trust:

  • contact information, membership in professional bodies, recommendations, links, policies, standards compare sources, cross-references

Risks when working with collaborative technologies:

  • inappropriate disclosure of personal information
  • misuse of images
  • appropriate language, respect confidentiality, copy lists
  • what to do in a power cut, about data loss
  • risk analysis, risk monitoring, contingency planning, and updating risk management policy.

2. Plan and set up IT tools and devices for collaborative working

The learner should be able to and be able to understand:

Connect and configure collaborative technologies:

  • connect to another site, check whether both sites are connected
  • connect to multiple sites, check when multiple sites are connected
  • adjust clarity
  • IP address, adjust set-up options, the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model, facilities for sharing files and applications across multiple sites

Purposes for collaborative working:

  • will vary according to the task, but may include:
    • sharing, displaying and recording information, discussing and reflecting
    • establishing identity, joining interest groups
    • developing ideas, contributing to research, carrying out research
    • exporting information to other formats
    • establishing communities of interest
    • managing identities, managing data

Outcomes of collaborative working:

  • measurable (e.g. document, minutes, notes, project plan, transcript)
  • ephemeral (g conversation, agreement)
  • whether an audit trail is needed

Collaborative technology tools and devices:

  • Hardware: mobile, laptop, desktop, peripherals (e.g. headset, handset, microphone, camera, 3G modem)
  • Software: products, services, sites

Communication media:

  • text, audio/spoken, still/video/animated images

Compatibility issues:

  • between browser software, operating systems, and plug-ins.

3. Prepare collaborative technologies for use

The learner should be able to and be able to understand:

Access to collaborative technologies:

  • download software, agree on terms and conditions, register or set up an ID
  • accessibility issues, adjusting access settings
  • accessibility standards

Permissions:

a web address, phone number, user name and password, set up user names and access codes

Environments for collaborative technologies:

  • user interface: choose skins, templates, widgets, wizards, cut and paste from other sources
  • work environment: lighting, the position of devices

Adjust settings:

  • Hardware: colour, type size, window size, volume
  • Browser: cookies, pop-ups
  • Security settings: firewall

Managing data:

  • sources, subscription details, terms and conditions
  • aims of data management
  • benefits, features and limitations of networks and feeds

Practical Application

In this video, we demonstrate what will be expected within the assignment by mirroring the procedure to similar content.

This will help you become familiar with the requirements expected within the assignment and highlight some of the areas you see as an issue.