Don’t believe everything you read on the internet; find it out for yourself.

Mark Kahl the director of Baby’s Days has yet again said I am a liar, here is the post and I’ve annotated it to include the actual reality and facts.

response-to-MKYou can find independent information on this issue all over the internet, just google, “cloud saas dpa”.  You can also read this, http://www.ictknowledgebase.org.uk/dataprotectionandweb or contact the ICO yourself.  Their number is 0303 123 1113, ask them very simply, “I use a cloud based data processor, I don’t have a contract with them only T&Cs agreement, am I meeting my obligations under The Data Protection Act?”.

I’m informing Baby’s Days users and prospective users of this information, what they do with the information is down to them.  I don’t want to get into a tit for tat row with anyone.  Now the facts are clear and you have the resources to check the facts you can make your own informed decision.  If you don’t want to verify the facts then that is your decision.

I’ve got to get back to planning a wedding otherwise what good is annual leave!  Only 23 more days and still haven’t had my dress fitted, eeekk!

PS.  If you’re looking for the blog post where I talk about your obligations under DPA then it’s here.  And for the record I don’t admin on any facebook groups or have any connection with any online programmes and I didn’t cancel my Baby’s Days account – it was terminated because the T&Cs were changed deliberately to ensure I was in breach of them.  This is not a vendetta, it’s a fact finding mission that I’m sharing with everyone so they can protect their data in whatever way they chose.  I’ve always said the software is fab, but there are bugs that are hard to address through the customer service channels available because some customers are treated very badly buy the support staff.

Orbit – a massive online paperwork system is closing!!

Orbit, arguably the biggest EYFS onine programme, has announced that it will no longer be operating from the end of the academic year unfortunately.

This isn’t the first time an online EYFS paperwork programme has folded, Mark Kahl from Baby’s Days claims Baby’s Days will never close because it’s a paid for system.  But don’t forget, Nobleminder was a paid for system but that one went out of business too; although admittedly in a very different and much more uncontrolled way compared to how Orbit have made their decision.

Orbit look to be doing everything they can to ensure people can remove their data and will hopefully soon be developing a bulk download option.  So there really is no need to panic and start printing of reams of work.

If you currently use orbit or have been affected by this then it’s probably a good idea to take stock of your paperwork system as a whole.  Did you know you can lose your Ofsted registration if you breach Data Protection?  You’d also face a very large fine from the ICO if they found you had breached data protection.

Edited 10.21am Thursday to add: Some people thinks this isn’t true, read an independent link here: http://www.ictknowledgebase.org.uk/dataprotectionandweb which explains even if you’re ICO registered and you back up, you’re still not carrying out your obligations under DPA.

Many people don’t realise that when they use Baby’s Days for every tiny aspect of their business there is the very real chance that they are breaking Data Protection everyday.  As users enter the data into the system the user is deemed to be a Data Controller.  The system that holds the information is deemed to be a Data Processor; essentially an online filing cabinet that does nothing more than store data.

Did you know that a Data Processor (ie. the company) owes you practically nothing under the Data Protection act?  If they lose or restrict access to your data there will be absolutely no comeback on the company because it is you (the user) as the Data Controller that needs to ensure you are in full control of all of the data all of the time.

I discovered all this when Baby’s Days terminated my account with immediate effect not allowing me any time to remove my data.  When they did this I obviously complained to the ICO; although they were lovely and very sympathetic there was nothing at all they could do, despite many people saying I should be protected by the ICO.

Babys Days isn’t registered with the ICO to offer your data any protection at all and not many people understand that; they have no responsibility to you in their T&Cs.  They can delete or restrict your access to the system and as such you are not in control of all of your data all of the time.  You are responsible for the data, not them.  If you lose control of it for any reason, you will be fined, not them. They owe you nothing other than a filing cabinet service.

Unless you have a separate contract with Baby’s Days outlining what they will and won’t do with your data (over and above what the T&Cs say) then you are currently breaking the law and not meeting your obligations under Data Protection; which is also a requirement of the EYFS.  You face having your Ofsted registration terminated or suspended and you also face a fine by the ICO.

If you find this hard  to believe (which I did, because this isn’t mentioned anywhere on Baby’s Days website or anywhere else like through the council etc!) here is a screen shot from the ICO, it’s of an email I’ve been sent.

ICO-say-you-need-a-contractEdited Thursday @10.21am to add:  If you’re on your phone and you can’t read that, here is a smaller close up version of the part that is important.

ICO-say-you-need-a-contract 2

I’ve struggled to get Ofsted to take this matter seriously but they are now looking into whether all users of Babys Days are actually working outside of the remit of The Data Protection Act.  Please be careful and take action to protect your Ofsted registration and make sure all of your Data is backed up, every last shred, daily ideally.

Also don’t assume that this applies to all Online systems – it doesn’t.  They all have very different T&Cs to the ones Baby’s Days offer (which have changed again recently in case you didn’t know); Baby’s Days T&Cs offer the user no protection or guarantees with regards to what exactly happens with your data beyond, ‘it’s stored safely’.  Where it’s stored isn’t of much use to you if you don’t have the right to access it.

Have I tried talking to Baby’s Days?

The blog now has almost 51,000 views, that’s crazy!  There are 72 published posts, another 32 drafts waiting to be finalised and 528 published comments and none of them are spam!  When I started this blog I never imagined there would be quite so many customers secretly disgruntled with the service they receive from Baby’s Days and living with the worry about what might happen if they upset the company in anyway.

Obviously there are still customers that are very happy to use the company and find the system very helpful.  It’s usually these people that ask me, “have you tired talking to Mark, he’s really so lovely”.

With so much content on the blog and so many comments is easy for things to be missed, to recap here is the recording from the first time I called Mark and here is the first blog post about me calling him to discuss the withholding of access to my data.

I also tried to call him a second time which I’ve not blooged about before.  Quite  recently a lovely lady offered to be a sort of mediator between us in the hope that we could resolve the issue of Sys IQ Ltd witholding access to my data.  Mark asked me to call him, we arranged a time, I called him and he then refused to speak to me as I was recording the call; despite the fact that he too was recording the call and the call HAS to recorded to safeguard my legal interests.  The recording for the second conversation is here.

So to those that say, “have you tried calling Mark?  He’s usually so helpful”.  I hope this answers the question.  Yes I have, twice; he doesn’t want to sort this out.  It could easily have been sorted by giving me a few hours on the system to remove all my information, rather than immediately restricting the access to the system which resulted in me being unable to access the data.  But this is the route Mark chose to take, so do not be fooled into thinking this could have all been sorted out with a simple conversation.

Baby’s Days have fixed the Picture links on the Demo Site!

Hey readers, sorry again about the lack of blog posts this week!  Things are just so insane planning my wedding and working as a childminder; the blog will have to slow right down but there is still plenty of material to cover including a very sensitive issue with the legalities of Childminders using Baby’s Days.  I’m waiting for absolute clarity on this from The Information Commissioners Office before blogging properly but hopefully early next week I will know more.

If you are concerned about this in the interim as many seem to be on Facebook, you should read this and contact the ICO directly; note that you don’t have a contract with Baby’s Days, you accept their T&Cs.  I am more than sure if you approach Baby’s Days you will get their rose tinted view and not the actual facts to say the least, so the impartial link should help with that.

Today’s blog post is a quick one.  A while ago I posted about how individual photos were able to be viewed without any authentication by the person attempting to view them.  Baby’s Days fixed the issue whilst insisting I was a lair, but I proved the loophole was still present in the demo system in a follow up post; which you can read here.

Baby’s Days still insist that I was lying and that all individual photos required validation (which isn’t true as you can read from the comments in the blog, customers reported their photos were not individually password protected), Mark Kahl the director of Baby’s Days insists I am a liar and continues to post comments such as this in the official Baby’s Days Support Group:

Mark-Kahl-calls-me-a-bad childminder againAnyway, the reason for this blog post is because now photos on the demo do require authentication, isn’t that a bit weird.  Why has it suddenly changed?  These are the questions that Baby’s  Days customers should be asking.  Please make sure you  backup your data and don’t record data on any aspect of the system that can not be backed up.

I promise to blog later in the week, I’m going to blog about a company called Orange Moon and also about a childminder who encountered an inspector who was not so keen on Baby’s Days.  I’d also love to hear form anyone that has provided Baby’s Days with any planning records or other intellectual property over the years for another blog post I’m drafting.

Hope you all had a fab easter and that Tuesday doesn’t hurt too much!

Why does my Baby’s Days crash regularly? Is it because it isn’t a website?

As blogged last night a fair few number of people have posted in the Baby’s Days support group or messaged me directly to say they are experiencing technical issues using mainly the Risk Assessment section, The 2 year check and also the SEF section of Baby’s Days.

What seems to be happening is mid way through using these sections the device just freezes so the work is lost or a little grey pop up says, “this web page needed to reload”.  Obviously many people are frustrated that this is happening and they don’t feel they can open a support ticket for fear of being made to feel like an idiot or even worse for fear of losing all their work by “annoying” Baby’s Days.

Mark Kahl director of Baby’s Days has said this issue is because the Baby’s Days system is,

“NOT a website, it is a SaaS application that is very ram and system resource hungry”.

Tonights blog post is going to clarify exactly what Mark Kahl means by this and as with most other things in this blog I’ll hope you’ll see why this statement is very misleading.

Firstly what is a SaaS application?

Mark Kahl is right in that Baby’s Days isn’t a website.  I agree with him there, first time for everything I guess.

SaaS stands for Software as a Service.  Software is usually defined as the programs and other operating information used by a computer.  So on a typical laptop you might find software like Microsoft Word or Norton Anti Virus.  This software is run and stored on your laptop.

SaaS is a different type of software that isn’t actually “run” directly from laptop, it’s usually run through a web browser and stored on a server.  So it’s still software, but it’s not “hard” software in the sense that most people might be more used to; it’s not a disc you can pick up for example it’s virtual software.

A website isn’t a programme at all, it’s just a document if you like stored on the internet.  That’s the easiest way to explain it although if you want to be a purist it’s not 100% accurate, but it’s good enough for the purposes of this blog post.

Does SaaS require a load of RAM?

There is absolutely nothing in the Geek Bible that says a “SaaS” is or should be inherently more resource heavy than any other aspect of web browsing.  My understanding is that the whole point of a SaaS is to remove the resource heavy part of the software off of the persons computer and on a server in the cloud.  So it then seem ludicrous to say the reason the system is crashing is because SaaS applications are more resource heavy!

Does my device have enough RAM to do what most would expect from a typical SaaS application?

If you can watch a video on YouTune then in my opinion your device has plenty of RAM to operate a SaaS application like Baby’s Days.  Closing apps that may be “on” in the background (as frequently advised by support) wont stop Baby’s Days crashing.  If you can load Youtube on your device then chances are that RAM isn’t the issue and if it is the issue you need to question what exactly BDs is loading up that’s bigger than your average Youtube video?

So what’s the conclusion?

As ever I believe Mark Kahl and the support staff are using Geek talk to mystify people rather than dealing with actual issues present in the Baby’s Days software.

If people have facebook open (not a SaaS App but an awesome platform that updates in real time, plays videos automatically, loads constant photos etc) but babysdays crashes then it’s pretty obvious where a big chunk of the issue is.  Do not be fooled by the smoke screen of “awww poor love it’s because it’s SaaS, don’t worry you wont understand it, just believe me”.

It may be that some people have low ram machines, but then you have to ask the question what is Babys Day’s trying to load into memory that is so large that it makes things fall over?

If they’ve potentially coded a site bad enough that it’s crashing people’s browsers or devices, the problem is in their coding, not in the site being “resource hungry”.  SaaS or website, there’s no reason to ever use enough ram or CPU to crash anything; despite what Mark Kahl says Baby’s Days and any system like it uses a fraction of what sites like Youtube or similar high quality media SaaS sites do, and they can manage it without crashing anything.

I hope this post helps those feeling really frustrated with the system at the moment have the courage to open a ticket with support and get the issue sorted. Just becasue you do not have an IT degree it does not mean the issue “must be your end”.  You pay a lot of money for this service, the least it could do is actually work.

Make sure you pop back tomorrow when I’ll be blogging about the changes in Baby’s Days customer service over the years and the recent server downtime that many customers may not be aware of.