This was posted by on November 15th, 2017

For today’s businesses, protecting data and digital assets with cyber security is as essential as locking the office doors at night to protect physical property.

Now the government has announced that firms could face fines of up to £17 million, or 4% of their global turnover, if they fail to protect themselves from cyber attacks from the 25th May 2018.

Potential losses in the event of a cyber attack are huge, with unsecured businesses not just risking the safety of their own bank accounts and documents, but potentially gambling with the data, bank details and digital property of clients, partners and customers.

In this case, the cyber security crackdown is particularly aimed at essential service providers, such as water, energy, transport and health firms, the cyber hacking of which could cause huge societal disruption.

Digital Minister Matt Hancock said fines would be a last resort.

“We want the UK to be the safest place in the world to live and be online, with our essential services and infrastructure prepared for the increasing risk of cyber-attack,” he said.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said fines would not apply to firms which have safeguards in place but still suffer an attack.

Companies will need to show they have a strategy to cover power failures and environmental disasters. The DCMS said firms that take cyber-security seriously should already have measures in place to prevent attacks or system failures.

The move comes as the government decides how to implement the Network and Information Systems (NIS) directive, which becomes law across the EU next May and is aimed at protecting services.

Earlier this year, a government survey found that nearly half (46%) of British businesses discovered at least one cyber-security breach or attack in the past year, most often involving fraudulent emails being sent to staff or security issues relating to viruses, spyware or malware.

If you have any concerns about your cyber security, or want to know whether your business would be protected in the event of an attack, simply give us a call today.

Published by Geoffrey Parrish

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Illegal working – could your business be at risk?

This was posted by on November 15th, 2017

It’s important to be familiar with your legal duties towards those you employ. We take a look at how this covers the right to work in the UK.

If you’re an employer in the UK, it’s your legal duty to prevent illegal working, regardless of the number of employees you employ. The ramifications of not checking employees’ right to work can be costly and damaging.

The law on preventing illegal working is part of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006. The Government has since introduced a statutory code and amended the legislation to strengthen the civil penalties that you as an employer may be liable to.

The legal duty that an employer must follow begins before an individual is recruited. Any employer who employs someone they know or has reasonable cause to believe has no right to work in the UK is committing an offence. The civil penalty can be up to £20,000 per illegal worker and in some circumstances, a prison sentence of up to 5 years.

So what do you need to do as an employer to protect yourself?

As part of your recruitment process, it’s your responsibility to ask the individual to provide documentary evidence of their right to work in the UK. The Home Office has published a list of acceptable documents in ‘An employer’s guide to right to work checks’. This guidance also provides tips on how to conduct these ‘right to work’ checks correctly. The document the individual needs to provide may be as straight forward as a valid passport.

What steps do I need to take?

You should check the original document(s) in the presence of the holder, make and retain a clear copy and make a record of the date of the check. The Home Office have a check list that can be completed with each of these steps. This process then forms a ‘statutory excuse’, which may help your defence if a worker is found to be illegal.

If the employee’s right to work in the UK is time limited, you must repeat the checks in line with the guidance.

Which employees should I check?

Checks should be conducted for all new employees and you should not make any assumptions about an individual’s background or work status. There may be different rules that apply to existing employees who started before May 2014. In these circumstances, it’s best to seek advice. It’s worth noting that if you have employed the individual through a third party recruiter or if you have new employees as a result of a TUPE transfer from another business – you must still complete the required checks.

If in doubt always seek advice or clarification from the Home Office.

Published by Geoffrey Parrish

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Natural disasters predicted to account for £72bn insurance claims in 2017

This was posted by on November 15th, 2017

Reinsurance firm Swiss Re estimates insurance claims following hurricanes, earthquakes and natural disasters make 2017 one of the most expensive years on record.

The old adage ‘one thing after another’ has rarely seemed truer than in 2017, with the relief efforts to help victims of one storm, hurricane, flood or earthquake barely under way before another part of the world is hit by a natural disaster.

In August, Hurricane Harvey caused 80 deaths and tremendous flood damage across the state of Texas. Hurricane Irma ripped across the Caribbean and Florida in September, while Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. Also in September, two earthquakes hit Mexico, causing at least 90 deaths.

Swiss Re, one of the world’s biggest reinsurance firms, has estimated that total damage from these events will cost the global insurance industry $95bn (£72bn).
Meanwhile, insurer Hiscox claims 2017 will be one of the worst years for insurance claims relating to natural disasters.

Christian Mumenthaler, Swiss Re’s chief executive, said: “The most recent natural catastrophes have been extremely powerful and we extend our sympathies to all those affected by these events.”

The reinsurance company, which helps support insurance companies facing high volumes of claims, did warn that the estimates may be adjusted and are “subject to a higher than usual degree of uncertainty”.

Of course these costs related to personal and business insurance claims, but the human, environmental and societal cost is even greater. The economic cost, which includes damage not covered by insurance policies, such as damage to crops, business and financial markets, has been estimated to reach $300bn.

Published by Geoffrey Parrish

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