The Benefits and Risks of
Using Skype at Darcy’s:
A Short Report
September 20, 2013
Darcy’s Department Store
The East Coast buyers for Darcy’s Department Store are looking for an economical and
efficient way to share information about the deals buyers are getting from various
suppliers and use real-time transmission of that information between one another to
help save money.
There are a number of tools to do this, but Skype has been mentioned as a leading
contender. Skype claims to be an easy to use, online tool that allows users to connect
with any other Skype user around the world for free. A user can make video and voice
calls to other Skype users at no charge. Users can even share files among themselves,
which provides a great asset during a business meeting. However, when there are group
video calls, then Skype begins to charge a fee.
Also, for buyers throughout the East Coast, this tool can be useful if they need to talk
with one another. However, for meetings that require more than two attendees, Skype
is not a useful tool and is not intended to work that way for business.
Among the most attractive benefits of Skype is that it is free and you can see the person
you are talking with. To purchase a software license for 20 buyers that is compatible to
what Skype can do will cost Darcy’s roughly $1,500 per month. There are no hidden
charges with Skype. According to Skype’s web page, users get video and voice calls to
other Skype users and “instant messaging and file sharing” all at no charge.
The video sharing feature of Skype will allow the buyers to see products in real time.
For example, if two buyers are looking at similar merchandise from two different
suppliers who are offering different pricing, then they can quickly Skype one another
and compare the product to see if it is the same and to then get the best pricing for it.
Two business writers for the Auburn Citizen in NY, state that there are business users
“who can save time and money in scheduling and holding conferences or training
sessions, demonstrate products or services for potential customers, and extend
customer service by showing customers how to get the most from your product” (Leon
Despite the benefits mentioned above, there are clear downsides to this product. I
tested Skype over a one-week period by calling various Skype users throughout the East
Coast and tried to simulate a conversation that a buyer might have.
First, using Skype takes getting used to. During my five-day test, I never mastered the
connection stage. This is when one Skype user “calls” another Skype user. Skype makes
a distinctive sound that lets the user know it is making a call. However, once you
connect to whom you are calling, the picture shows, but it takes about five seconds for
that picture to catch up with the person sitting there. In essence, it is a still picture for
Second, once I was connected to the user, I quickly realized that what I was saying was
not being transmitted in real-time. There could be up to a three second lag in what I
said and the user hearing it. This created a number of challenges, but the biggest one
was this lag kept the other user and me talking over each other. I just assumed the user
could not hear what I said, so I repeated myself. Of course, as soon as I spoke, then I
heard the user’s response to my original message, and thus began us talking over one
another. This was a persistent problem throughout my first two calls, but got better
once I became more familiar with the technology.
Third, the picture is grainy, like an old TV. In this world of high definition, the picture I
was getting with Skype looked like a 1970s television set. I could see the person fine,
but the lack of clarity was alarming. If buyers were trying to compare colors of a fabric,
for instance, that would be nearly impossible to do because of the degraded picture
Fourth, I experienced a number of connectivity issues throughout my test. I was only
able to connect immediately on four of my 10 test calls. On the others, I thought the
person picked up, but there was no one there, and I had to re-connect. This caused
frustration and made me want to discard Skype each time it happened. Also during
calls, it was not uncommon for the connection to be lost, and I would have to try and reconnect again. I am not sure why this occurs, but it happened on nearly 40% of my calls.
Again, this caused a great deal of frustration.
Finally, there are concerns that the privacy of Skype users is being violated by Microsoft,
“Anyone who uses Skype has consented to the company reading everything they write”
(“Skype with Care).
The use of Skype really boils down to money. If we are trying to save money and need a
readily available, free solution, then Skype is a contender. However, even though it is
free, Skype poses a number of technology challenges that are outlined above. This
alone makes this technology untenable for our company. At the swift pace we move,
little challenges like the one Skype poses lead me to not recommend the product.
There are a number of other services we can use, including many instant messaging
programs that provide similar services as Skype, but do it better. We can even use
FaceTime, from Apple, that can be used on Macs, iPhones, iPads, and iPods, and most of
our buyers seem to have at least one of these products.
In summary, although Skype is free, it does not meet the need we have to interconnect
buyers across the East Coast and allow them to quickly and efficiently conduct business.
I do not recommend Skype for Darcy’s buyers.
Leon, Norma, and Tony Leon. "Sky’s the limit for Skype video call uses." The Citizen. N.p.,
Aug. 2013. Web. 20 Sept. 2013. .
"Skype with care – Microsoft is reading everything you write. ." The H Security. N.p., May 2013.
Web. 20 Sept. 2013. .
"What is Skype?." Skype. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2013. .
Internet Usage Policy at
A Short Report
September 20, 2013
Pyramid Design Team
Pyramid Design Team began seven years ago as a small design firm with three
employees. The original employees were the owner and two designers. With this core
of three employees, each knew what was expected of the other, and official policies cut
against the grain of the creative atmosphere that was being fostered. Therefore, aside
from the founding document containing the mission of the company, there were no
policies put in place. This worked fine, until recently.
Within the last four years, Pyramid has hired 11 additional staff, including designers and
programmers. The company has been implementing new policies regarding vacation
time, holidays, and sexual harassment, for example, but there still exists no policy
governing the use of the Internet at work. Now that the company consists of 14
employees, I propose the creation and adoption of an Internet policy that will provide
employees with clear guidelines about its appropriate and sanctioned use at work.
The inappropriate use of the Internet is threefold. First, the designers and developers
are downloading beta versions of software from the Internet. Since this software is
often in beta, there can be, and have been, numerous problems with these types of free
Our IT manager has seen a huge increase in Trojan viruses penetrating our system and
causing damage to our servers and other employees’ computers. He has spent
countless hours trying to find and remove these viruses and has expended thousands of
dollars in resources to call in technical specialists to eradicate the viruses.
The intent of the designers and developers was simply to get the latest software that
will allow them to create the best product. Unfortunately, that has not always been the
case, and some of these downloads are causing serious IT threats to our systems.
The new Internet policy needs to ban this practice and clearly state that nothing can be
downloaded from the Internet without the express consent of the IT manager and a
Second is the use of social media at work. The use of company computers by employees
to view Facebook, other social media, and streaming services has increased 200% in the
past 18 months! Some employees, for example, are logging-into Facebook when they
arrive at work and leaving the page running as a tab in their web browser, checking it
frequently throughout the day.
This has decreased productivity. A study conducted by Nucleus Research and published
by Computerworld found that “Companies that allow users to access Facebook in the
workplace lose an average of 1.5% in total employee productivity, according to a new
report from Nucleus Research, an IT research company. The survey of 237 employees
also showed that 77% of workers who have a Facebook account use it during work
hours.” Facebook is, of course, the biggest offender, but the policy needs to ban all
social media, such as Twitter, while at work.
The third area of concern involves streaming video services, such as Netflix, Amazon
Prime, and Hulu. Employees who eat lunch at their desk are using their computers to
watch videos from a streaming video provider. The problem arises when the employee
watching a video finds the content completely suitable, while a co-worker sitting
nearby, or passing by his or her desk, finds the content inappropriate. As this is a
subjective opinion, we can be opening ourselves up to a lawsuit for sexual harassment,
for instance, if a video contained nudity in it and the passerby saw it and became
Although most employees are not falling into this category, it only takes one. Because
of this, we need to ban streaming videos.
Finally, there have been instances where pornography has been viewed on a company
computer. I am sure we all can agree that banning the use of viewing or downloading
any pornographic image using a company computer should be banned.
There needs to be a policy implemented where violations like these above can be dealt
with immediately. Depending on the severity of the infraction, we can have a tiered
system of punishment:
1. First Infraction – verbal warning
2. Second Infraction – written warning
3. Third Infraction – dismissal from the company
There are many forms an Internet usage policy can take, but I suggest we keep it simple.
GFI, a company that provides IT solutions, provides a clear-cut policy for Internet usage
that details what company computers should, and should not, be used for:
Company employees are expected to use the Internet responsibly and productively.
Internet access is limited to job-related activities only and personal use is not
Job-related activities include research and educational tasks that may be found via
the Internet that would help in an employee's role
All Internet data that is composed, transmitted and/or received by
computer systems is considered to belong to and is recognized as part of
its official data. It is therefore subject to disclosure for legal reasons or to other
appropriate third parties
The equipment, services and technology used to access the Internet are the property
of and the company reserves the right to monitor Internet traffic and
monitor and access data that is composed, sent or received through its online
Emails sent via the company email system should not contain content that is deemed
to be offensive. This includes, though is not restricted to, the use of vulgar or
All sites and downloads may be monitored and/or blocked by if they are
deemed to be harmful and/or not productive to business
The installation of software such as instant messaging technology is strictly
Unacceptable use of the Internet by employees includes, but is not limited to:
• Sending or posting discriminatory, harassing, or threatening messages or images on
the Internet or via email service
• Using computers to perpetrate any form of fraud, and/or software, film or music
• Stealing, using, or disclosing someone else's password without authorization
• Downloading, copying or pirating software and electronic files that are copyrighted
or without authorization
• Sharing confidential material, trade secrets, or proprietary information outside of the
• Hacking into unauthorized websites
• Sending or posting information that is defamatory to the company, its
products/services, colleagues and/or customers
• Introducing malicious software onto the company network and/or jeopardizing the
security of the organization's electronic communications systems
• Sending or posting chain letters, solicitations, or advertisements not related to
business purposes or activities
• Passing off personal views as representing those of the organization
Obviously, not all points made here are necessary, but this provides the best overview
of a policy that we can utilize to make our operations run more smoothly and
effectively. We can pick what we need and discard what does not apply. I suggest we
begin work on creating this policy within the next week and have it ready to implement
within one month. I am available at your convenience to discuss the creation of this
"Sample Internet Usage Policy." GFI. GFI Software, n.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2013.
"Study: Facebook Use Cuts Productivity at Work." Computerworld. Computerworld, Inc.
22 July 2009. Web. 20 Sept. 2013.
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